Tuesday, September 20, 2005
This case will end up before the the Supreme Court
The issue: can a private group, such as the Club for Growth or maybe MoveOn.Org (the main organization, not the political action entity which is nominally a "separate entity") get involved in political campaigns without registering with the federal government (and accepting the donation limitations set therein)?
President Bush's re-election campaign and the sponsors of the 2002 campaign finance law sued the FEC last year, accusing it of failing to enforce the law and crack down on soft money spending, particularly in the presidential race. Those cases are pending in federal court.So we go after a conservative group for what reason? To show that we are being fair and unbiased?
The 2004 election saw the emergence of several partisan groups created by political activists to continue spending five- and even six- and seven-figure contributions after the new law imposed tough donation limits on national parties and congressional and presidential candidates.
Please spare me the excuses.
Under the law, the national parties and federal candidates can no longer raise corporate and union donations in any amount or unlimited donations from any source, and such money isn't supposed to be used by anyone trying to influence a federal race.So why hasn't there been a significant investigation of George Soros, who literally spent tens of millions of dollars to attempt to oust Bush in the 2004 campaign?
The current state of campaign contribution laws is abominable. The more Congress tries to regulate these organizations (who are, by the way, engaged in POLITICAL SPEECH -- which is supposedly protected by the First Amendment -- the more those organizations learn to re-organize and find ways around the technical limits of the law. Meanwhile, some individuals and organizations find their Constitutionally protected "rights" no longer exist. They are threatened with substantial monetary fines and potential imprisonment, all for merely engaging in political speech.
We had a revolution about this kind of governmental activity once.
Regulating political speech thusly is not only contemptible from a moral standpoint, it is also pointless. Those who wish to engage in political fundraising and campaigning WILL find a way around the artificial limits set by congressional incumbents (who might also have a small interest in limiting the funds competitors can access). The only effect Congressional laws will have is to further obscure the source of the campaign funds.
The best solution is the simplest: remove all campaign finance limits. Let anyone spend whatever amount they desire. The only caveat is that the candidate or organization MUST, within 24 hours of receiving the donation, post the name, address, contribution amount and occupation or industry of the donor to a central database which will be instantly and fully accessible to the general public.
Full disclosure is the cure to the perceived ills of too much money. If trial lawyers want to donate millions to the Democrats (and they already do), great! If oil companies want to hedge their bets by funding both sides (and they already do), great!
Just let the public know so that we can make informed decisions about the politicians' motives, okay?