The problem is not the expense of the tools, but the tools themselves.
Full disclosure, as we have argued on these pages is critical. The process out in the open encourages good behavior, and provides a limiting effect on pandering to financial interests by politicos. Even the amounts even being less important to the argument. Saying:
We DO agree that limits should be removed from campaign finance. We agree that limiting to an arbitrary amount can impede free speech and political expression. What is considered a fair contribution into the process is a completely subjective matter that can only be resolved by the person who is willing to contribute into that process. A person’s individual priorities and where a subject reaches a level of importance are hardly the providence of external assignment.
The full argument making the point that ‘effect’ of the contributions being known, lessens the harmful power of the influence.
The discussion in that cycle was Ruth Johnson seeking openness in elections. Her detractors included none other than noted homosexual activist, pseudo-conservative, and DeVos subordinate Greg McNeilly. McNeilly, while calling Johnson “extremist,” was arguing comparisons to the federalist papers, and the anonymity protecting the families of those writers of the revolutionary era. We instead, argue that political favors derived in part by financial patronage is the game of the day, not a life and death survival tactic as was the case in the early days of our nation’s founding.
Perhaps Harry Reid and 46 other US senators could put off the recent effort made to subvert the constitution’s guarantee of free speech if they properly understood why and WHERE campaign money matters. Right? Realistically, we are sure they have no interest in reducing power over us, so the point becomes moot. The low information voter however, might support Reid’s amendment proposal, misunderstanding the intent. There are certainly enough low information types as evidenced by the reelection of the unelectable in 2012.
But this is not a left-right issue.
On a FB thread I made the point to some who were arguing that the Kochs have too much [dark] money in the political process. Notably, many folks bemoan symptoms as problems, and while doing so, they have a difficult time finding a solution. While they were ignoring the money in the process that funded many of the missions they relate to, they tend to ignore the ultimate truth. I said:
AFP is a legitimate organization who’s mission is clear. They are out in the open, and money flows from private donors (I am one of them) as well as Kochs etc.
Even some of the PACs who sent out mailers that I disagree with are legitimate as well. Some of them however, are not even registered in Michigan, and spent in excess of $500 on their lobbying efforts. These might or might not be legitimate, but ethically they are suspect.
Ruth Johnson tried to make a tougher transparency standard in 2013 and was shut down by the establishment politicians on BOTH sides. They WANT their dark money.
If we want to fix the problem we have to identify it first.
Dark money is not the problem. The people who raise and spend dark money is not the problem. The PROBLEM is what gives those folks a REASON to raise and spend it.
TOO MUCH GOVERNMENT. That. Is. The. Problem.
A little toy hammer in the hands of lobbyists, and special interests is useless. A great big hammer in the hands of the wrong folks (and there is no side here) is injurious to our liberty, our ability to provide for our families, and our future as a self governing people.
Here is where the left and the right need to coalesce.
I can be specific as well ..
Take a recent press release issued by the Snyder administration. Who do you suppose benefits from the added rule increases here?
“Michigan’s Residential Code Review Committee has recommended adoption of a new residential construction code that would make newly-constructed homes in Michigan more energy efficient, saving homeowners money on their utility bills and helping the state reach its energy efficiency goals.
The committee’s recommended changes support Governor Rick Snyder’s energy goals for Michigan that he announced in December last year: to aggressively pursue improvements that will help eliminate energy waste, make utility bills more affordable for customers, reduce the need for new electric generation, and protect the environment. “
I’ll give you all a clue; it sure as hell isn’t the average Joe trying to find affordable housing.
The window dressing is the pitch that Michiganians will see savings ranging from 14 percent to over 17 percent for heating, and savings for electrical, etc. You’ll strike it rich in savings! But ..
Given the added costs piled on by licensed codes, requirements that are broadly applied, (one size fits all) and the time and energy to comply, builders must pass along those costs. And wouldn’t you know it, the wonderful new codes that the administration touts as saving money, COST money just to read!
Wait a second: Why should you have to pay to read the laws you have to obey? Usually, they’re not copyrightable. For a couple years now, open government activist Carl Malamud has been posting building codes on his Web site Public.Resource.org, deliberately undermining that revenue stream. In the spring, the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association got fed up, and asked him to stop. With the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Malamud sued for relief, and a few months later got a judgment in which SMACNA basically agreed to let him post a few of their older standards online.
Which isn’t the end of that story.
The bottom line is that the money funneled into campaign coffers by particular interests seldom has the individual’s interest at heart. Rent seekers abound! Whether it is code enforcement that profits certain trade agencies or building organizations, or a bridge with transparency issues, there is no doubt we have ongoing problems with those who purport to represent us.
Money is only gas in the tank for the road trip to graft and corruption. It is the milk in the creme of power seeking politics. Ask Jase Bolger why his leadership fund accepted $100,000 from two pro homosexual advocates. Ask Frank Foster why he accepted $50k from the same individuals? Ask already referenced [‘married’ to a dude] Greg McNeilly why GLEP supports common Core, and uses significant AMWAY provided funding to do so? We know why.
Walter Williams knows why.
Williams, in a recent column gets a little direct in his assessment of those who might think that all the money given to candidates is purely philanthropic giving. He writes:
Here are my questions to you: Why do people and organizations cough up billions of dollars to line political coffers? One might answer that these groups and individuals are simply extraordinarily civic-minded Americans who have a deep and abiding interest in encouraging elected officials to live up to their oath of office to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution. Another possible answer is that the people who spend these billions of dollars on politicians just love participating in the political process. If you believe either of these explanations for coughing up billions for politicians, you’re probably a candidate for psychiatric attention, a straitjacket and a padded cell.
Indeed, though I suppose we should still have plenty of back buckled belt restraints to go around.
The fix he eventually notes, is one we advocate frequently and freely here at RightMi.com without prerequisite licensing requirements. It is a simple set of rules that sadly proven to require more honor than we might expect from most of those who ‘serve’ us today. Written in the plainest of English, and with easily enumerated provisions. Dr. Williams concludes:
“Of course, a better solution is for Congress to obey our Constitution.”
To which we heartily agree.