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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Campaign finance: Reform or soak the taxpayers?

(Posted 5 Mar 2006)
Comment: At the same time that Democratic leaders in Annapolis are criticizing the governor for wanting to spend too much money, their troops are trying to spend even more beyond the governor's proposals. As a way of avoiding real campaign finance reform, Sen. Pinsky supports a complicated scheme that would divert money away from the state's critical needs and spend it on politicians.
  • Public campaign financing urged.
    • Annapolis Capital, 4 Mar 2006 (by Nicholas Sohr, Capital News Service).
    A Baltimore County lawmaker has introduced what he calls the "anti-Jack Abramoff bill" - legislation that would distance candidates vying for seats in the Maryland General Assembly from wealthy donors by creating a fund to publicly finance their campaigns.
    [. . .]
    "You don't have to spend your time fund-raising, you can spend it on the issues," said Sen. Paul G. Pinsky , D-Prince George's, the sponsor of a similar legislation in the Senate.
    [. . .]
    Mr. Pinsky said the program, with costs estimated at $25 million in an election year, would be funded by diverting $7.5 million per year from the sale of unclaimed property that has reverted to the state.
    [. . .].
  • Who Pays for Elections?
  • With all the competitive races in Maryland this election season and the requisite fundraising, advocates for the public financing of political campaigns believe their chances are greatly improved this session.

    Groups, such as Common Cause and Progressive Maryland, are starting small with legislative races. A bill, sponsored by Sen. Paul Pinsky (D-Prince George's) and Del. Jon S. Cardin (D-Baltimore County) would create a voluntary system paid for with proceeds from the state's sale of unclaimed property.
    [. . .]
    "The time has come," Hollinger said before a hearing on the bill Friday. "The fundraising has gotten ridiculous for all offices.".
  • Comment:

    • I have a better idea for real reform! Why not just take the simple step of stopping the current complex system that makes it legal for special interests to bribe politicians, and apply the dictionary definition of bribery? Campaign "contributions" (a euphemism for bribes), should be banned except for payments from actual constituents--registered voters in the district--and should be accompanied by mandatory immediate online reporting of all such contributions--with no delays, "mistakes," etc. permitted. Politicians raising money would be forced to meet with their own constituents--not pander to various special interests--and the corrupting influence of outside special interest money would be significantly reduced.

    • Definitions:
      • Main Entry: bribe
        Pronunciation: 'brIb
        Function: noun
        Etymology: Middle English, something stolen, from Middle French, bread given to a beggar
        1 : money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust
        2 : something that serves to induce or influence
      • Function: verb
        Inflected Form(s): bribed; brib·ing
        transitive senses : to induce or influence by or as if by bribery
        intransitive senses : to practice bribery
      • Main Entry: brib·ery
        Pronunciation: 'brI-b(&-)rE
        Function: noun
        Inflected Form(s): plural -er·ies
        : the act or practice of giving or taking a bribe

1 comment:

  1. Great Idea!!!

    Too bad about that Supreme Court that makes your point meaningless. Try again?

    ReplyDelete