Tackling the problem of big money

Rank 3
Idea#8

Stage: Active

Campaign: Issues: Domestic

Corporate donors are shifting their political giving dramatically to Democrats in Congress. Sen. Barack Obama's small donor "revolution" is a promising development, but 90% of the money given to congressional candidates still comes from larger donations. Will you make passage of a public financing law that provides incentives for small donations a priority in the next Congress?

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(latest 20 votes)

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  1. Comment
    flahooley

    Fundamentally, we need to move towards public financing with free air-time for candidates. Can that happen incrementally? Additionally, as we look at this issue, I think the distinction between soft money and hard money has perhaps outlived its usefulness. We can't restrict just money to candidates but not parties and 527s.

  2. Comment
    lasthorseman

    I am puzzled. Sarbanes-Oxley in it's implimentations have openly discouraged even outlawed contributions from companies to public officials, well at least that is what they are telling us proles in the re-education compliance seminars.

  3. Comment

    If asked, "What are the basic government provisions of a Democracy with CIvil Rights?" wouldn't we have to say, "Fair Elections, Fair Justice System (courts, emforcement), Economic and Commercial infrastructure, etc., etc., in some such order of priority. And we don't question that the Judicial system be funded by public moneys, nor much of our infrastructure (roads, water works, public health). Seems to me, in the USA, where "money equals free speech" that fair elections (priority #1) should be funded with public money to level the playing field and give the power of "speech-money" to candidates who can demonstrate a credible constituency, rather than just privately well funded candidates. A "credible constituency" can be defined by popular, small contributions and signatures, such as currently defined in Arizona, Maine and Connecticut. Voluntary, Public funding of campaigns works, now, constitutionally!

  4. Comment
    craig

    No other progressive public interest measures will get past all the special interest lobbyists until we free our public officials from their dependence on private campaign contributions. Public financing of campaigns like they've had in Arizona and Maine for a decade has proven successful at doing this so government can be more responsive to voters instead of big donors. Note: while corporations cannot give directly to candidates or political parties their executives and employees can and do; then they "bundle" these individual contributions and donate them in order to gain the access and influence they seek. Now we need Speaker Pelosi to strongly support public financing for Congressional elections. (BTW the presidential public financing system is broken and needs updating but the basic idea is still sound. For additional non-partisan info see www.publicampaign.org or ww.just6dollars.org or www.CAclean.org)

  5. Comment
    dmf_ky

    I do not have any faith in being able to count on Nancy Pelosi to do anything to benefit anyone but her President. Sorry. She's taught us all a great deal about how Democracy won't work when you have a misled Congress. She won't do this.

  6. Comment
    rduerr3

    Rather than mildly refining a totally broken system of campaign financing, I'd rather a totally new and entirely publically funded route be taken. In other words, I'd like to see a system where donations of any size from anybody are forbidden. There are plenty of examples in the civilized world - pick one of them!

  7. Comment
    nnjjaa

    Election funding underlies virtually every problem we face - health care, education, poverty, mortgage regulation, environmental and health regulations, and even decisions involving war. Until we at least moderate the effect that money exerts on policy, our actions as a society will show that we value money over people.

    On a practical level, it just makes sense that we allow our elected representatives to spend all of their time doing their job rather than raising money for their next campaign.

  8. Comment
    rucy1

    Nancy Pelosi is a "Constitutional TRAITOR" - and part of a pathetic, disgraceful Congress which was elected to basically IMPEACH BUSH and stop all his illegal activity. Nancy Pelosi, like the rest of them, is more interested in her own power and glory, than the basic fundamental philosophy of our Founding Fathers, our laws, and our Constitution.

    If she doesn't follow the lead of the people of this country WHO WANT IMPEACHMENT and ACCOUNTABILITY for this entire Administration, - then she is totally WORTHLESS for anything - and will just sit there and watch - as this vile President Bush PARDONS EVERY SINGLE DESPICABLE, GREEDY, POWER-HUNGRY, ARROGANT SLIME - in this administration.

    There is NOTHING more important than the Integrity of our country, it's laws and Constitution. There is NOTHING more important than IMPEACHING BUSH AND CHENEY - Even if it is their LAST HOUR in office.

  9. Comment
    stremington

    Obama's FISA votes can easily be explained by the $200,000 he's received from telecom companies. There is no small donor "revolution."

    All donations from corporations are bribes -- and investments. And these donors get repaid with votes that serve their interests at the expense of everyone else.

    Congress (whichever party is in the majority) has caved to corporate interests on virtually every major issue for years. This is the most extreme corruption I have seen in my lifetime.

    Corporations will be the only interests represented in congress until both corporate political contributions and corporate purchasing of broadcast campaign ads (another form of contributing) are banned and elections (including advertisements) are publicly funded.

  10. Comment
    gvanhee

    The first obstacle to such a worthy and about-time law is the arguments the right will proffer that claim limiting corporate campaign funding is against the Second Amendment. If it comes to a legal debate to be waged in the Supreme Court is there any doubt concerning how that Court with its current makeup will decide?

  11. Comment
    raparo

    Public financing of our elections is the key issue that will allow us to finally create pollicies that are for the common good rather than the financial wealth of a few.

  12. Comment
    drobins

    here's my question: how do you manage to stand upright without a spine?

  13. Comment
    nnjjaa

    gvanhee, the beauty of Arizona's public funding system is that it doesn't limit corporate money. You have a choice. If you want to opt out and raise money for your campaign, you can but your opponent can use public funds equal to what you raise. There is no conflict with the money = speech decision.

  14. Comment
    Unsubscribed User

    rep pelosi, one solution to campaign finance reform i have not heard talked about is a constitutional amendment that would make public financing of all federal elections mandatory. because of concerns by the conservative supreme court involving free speech, any effective reforms of election financing will never be possible. the only solution that makes sense is a constitutional amendment that mandates public financing. this way you eliminate all the special interests buying of elections. our elected representatives can spend their time in washington doing the nation's business rather than spending 90% of their waking hours in one fund-raising activity or another, raising the millions needed for their next election. what a wonderful feeling it would be for all americans to wake up every morning and know that their elected officials are going to have theirs and the nations best interests at heart, each and every day that they serve in washington. dave crump 7-17-08

  15. Comment
    marvs2

    It seems that from the moment she took office as Speaker of the House, she had only two items on her agenda.

    At the swearing-in ceremony, her first comment was "We (women) made it!" or something to that effect, giving a strong impression that her main concern was having women in office. There is, of course, no reason why women should not or can not hold any public office - but should that be the primary concern of our Speaker of the House? And since she's been in office, beyond sexism, it seems that her only other agenda item is to disagree with anything that President Bush says or does. She acts as though the President of the United States must answer to her, that her opinions should carry more weight than the President and his Cabinet. She has been a totally divisive influence in our Government, doing her best to prevent the elected President from exercising any of his vested powers, effectively trying to exercise her own little coup-de-tat, effectively bringing our entire government to standstill and blaming it on Bush. I always thought that the job of the Speaker of the House was to represent the House and to keep it working smoothly with the Senate, the President and his Cabinet, and all other factions of our Government.

  16. Comment
    ghmorrow

    The interests of regular citizens will never be adequately represented until politicians feel beholden to them for holding office, nor will any but the already fiscally elite be able to attain such an office so long as candidates must come up with their own funds.

  17. Comment
    cundiff

    This is a repost of my comment elsewhere but it does direct a solution.

    National Initiative for Democracy may sound like a silly idea because we are already have a Democracy, don’t we? Or did that fall by the wayside when we surrendered are Constitutional Rights to CORPORATISTS Bush and Cheney? Since we evidently have no practicing representation because the Democratic Party and the Republican Party has merged into one. This new joint ‘partnership’ can be called the CORPORATION PARTY (although Washington and Adams would turn in there graves if they knew). I think debbie.wonderkitty has presented a very practical idea and I would suggest that this new branch of government would be known as THE DEPARTMENT OF THE OMBUDSMAN. Since a balance of power concept has proven to be faulty and our government was never intended to be ANYTHING except a government “OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, AND FOR THE PEOPLE”, the Department of Ombudsman should have veto power over any decisions made by the other branches. Of course for the first Director of the Ombudsman Department should be the only Ombudsman that the American people ever had. This man has worked for us tirelessly for over 20 years with no official capacity and that is RALPH NADER. I think the American people OWE HIM ONE.

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