Some great ideas on campaign finance reform. Skip past the bio for Rep. John Sarbanes’s plans for reform. Making small donations matter, matching them 5 to 1, limiting donations to a max of $1000, giving tax payers a $50 tax credit to donate to campaigns takes away the power of a small number of big $ donors.
The entire political system has changed in the last 30-40 years. A recent Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee presentation to freshman lawmakers in 2012 told them that they should spend 3-4 hours out of 9-10 hour days making calls to ask for big money, and another 1-2 for fundraising events. That’s more than half of their day spent merely trying to keep their job. Not by doing it well of course, but just seeking money for the next race. This is why NobodyisFlyingthePlane. Our system has gotten out of hand.
This quote shows how broken our system is.
This constant race for money has made Congress dependent on a select donor class that is not representative of the American public. In the 2010 election, .05 percent of the U.S. population made at least one then-maximum contribution of $2,500 to a political candidate. Yet these donors accounted for 37 percent of all contributions to candidates, parties and PACs, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In the 2012 election, these max-out donors — there were slightly over 241,000 — accounted for 51 percent of all contributions.
It’s also Same Same But Different. It hasn’t always been this way, and it need not continue to be so.
A host of recent political science research has found that Congress is most responsive to the concerns of the wealthy, while hardly registering the opinions of lower-income Americans.
Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig, one of the new leaders of the campaign finance reform movement, has been outspoken about the corrupting influence of money in politics.
“There’s a fundamental economy of influence in Washington that’s kind of matured over the last 30 or 20 years,” Lessig said. “What’s striking about this story is the pathological extent of this influence is really relatively recent. So it was my view that we weren’t going to solve this problem by modest reforms.”
Democracy Destroying Dependence Corruption
he argued that the enormous amount of time spent fundraising from the wealthy plays a major role in warping the institution of Congress, resulting in a “dependence corruption” that he called “democracy-destroying.”
“I don’t think the problem gets solved unless we have citizen-funded elections,” Lessig said
It’s crazy that making a citizen’s c0ntribution count is revolutionary, but that’s the thinking. ‘Of the people, by the people, for the people’ might finally be funded by the people.
“It is completely focused on the role of the citizen in financing elections in a post-Citizens United world, and it is designed to empower them and encourage their participation by making their contributions much more important,” Wertheimer said.
“What’s great about matching funds is it still incentivizes candidates to build real grassroots support in perpetuity to get more and more matching funds, and it signals to the little guy that their small-dollar contribution can make a big difference,” Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder Adam Green said.
“Some would call that government subsidy,” Painter said. “I don’t. I think that’s a taxpayer’s money. It’s not the government’s money. And my view is that if you pay taxes, you ought to be able to designate some of that money for the process of choosing who is going to spend the money.”