Author Topic: Campaign Finance minus reform  (Read 2257 times)

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Offline CiceroKit

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Campaign Finance minus reform
« on: January 27, 2010, 09:10:00 pm »
I am sure many of you have heard of the recent decision by the Supreme Court which will essentially override current campaign finance laws (most notably, the McCain-Feingold law of 2002). If you haven't heard about this, you can read the story here
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/us/politics/22scotus.html

Being a cynic, my initial reaction was that McCain-Feingold didn't really work anyway, due to the loophole that allowed for 527 organizations that essentially funneled money from special interests into a political action committee to campaign with. However, I can see the key difference is not the fact that corporations and labor unions would be able to throw as much money at a campaign as they wish, but rather, given the recent decision, that there would be no accountability. I think the names of any major donor to a political campaign needs to be public record.

What do you all think?
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Offline Acton

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Re: Campaign Finance minus reform
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2010, 10:58:29 pm »
People do not realize the most greedy corporation is the politicians in Washington. The problem with any restriction is they will game the restriction to favor themselves and impede their opponents. Besides, look at congress now,  millionaires club because only millionaires have the money to run for office.

Campaign Finance Reform is the 1st amendment  to the constitution.

Offline DeltaFur

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Re: Campaign Finance minus reform
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2010, 11:15:48 pm »
Here's the thing: does the government have the right to block freedom of expression? In this case, the ability of a corporation to sponsor any candidate by giving the candidate any amount of support it wants to? I mean, I see your point. Really, I do. And I agree, corruption is a bad thing. But! isn't the government stifling freedoms worse than that?
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Offline Yip

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Re: Campaign Finance minus reform
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2010, 12:44:39 am »
I'm not sure how I feel about it.
On the one hand, I think the government shouldn't be disallowing or regulating anything except in cases where is it necessary.  On the other hand, companies have an "unfair" advantage over individuals when it comes to contributing in that they generally are dealing with much larger dollar amounts. So I don't know.

Personally, I wish political candidacy campaigns had less to do with the money they have to spend and more to do with their ability to do the job.  Who knows, maybe in some ways the lifting of this ban will help to achieve something closer to that.

So... are candidates going to start sporting brand logos the way race car drivers do?

Offline RedneckFur

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Re: Campaign Finance minus reform
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2010, 03:53:46 pm »
I feel that companies and coorperations, should not be allowed to contribute any money to a political candidate.

As only an individual can vote, only an individual should ba allowed to contribute to a campaign. 

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Offline CiceroKit

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Re: Campaign Finance minus reform
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2010, 05:09:56 pm »
I think, ideally, all campaigns should be publicly financed, which means only individuals can contribute to them and that no one person can contribute more than $5. By checking the box on your tax forms saying you wish $3 to go to the election fund, you help to make that a reality. However, this is not the way the game is played currently, and the decision made by the Supreme Court would make publicly financed campaigns even less likely.

I do think it is ironic that President Obama is criticizing the decision made by the Supreme Court. Obama raised significantly more funds than McCain who ran a campaign based on public financing.

Overall, the world of campaign finance is fraught with contradiction. Geico, a company owned by known Democratic party supporter, Warren Buffet, gives large sums of money to the Republican party. Kohls department store and grocery chain gives large amounts of money to the Republican party despite the fact that one of their key shareholders, Sen. Herb Kohl (WI) is a Democrat. Then there is Anheuser-Busch, a company that gives a great deal of money to the Democratic party despite Cindy McCain being a major shareholder. This is the world of hedging.

Despite all the flaws with this practice, I still think it is better to have a paper trail, as it were, to show where the money is coming from. Granted, the more you know about the process, the less you want to swallow the product. Politics is a giant meat grinder, after all.

I have heard many on both sides of this issue cite the First Amendment of the United States Constitution which reads as follows:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

I guess I don't really see how this can be used to defend the unchecked donations of large amounts of money from corporations and labor unions to political candidates. I was always taught that the First Amendment applied to individuals, not corporations. To what extent a corporation represents their employees or shareholders, or for that fact a labor union, is really up for grabs.


« Last Edit: January 29, 2010, 05:11:47 pm by CiceroKit »
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Offline Sskessa

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Re: Campaign Finance minus reform
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2010, 06:06:08 pm »
I feel that companies and coorperations, should not be allowed to contribute any money to a political candidate.

As only an individual can vote, only an individual should be allowed to contribute to a campaign. 

I agree with this.
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Offline DeltaFur

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Re: Campaign Finance minus reform
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2010, 08:01:50 pm »
I feel that companies and coorperations, should not be allowed to contribute any money to a political candidate.

As only an individual can vote, only an individual should ba allowed to contribute to a campaign. 

Yeah, ok. Citizens vote, citizens live under the presidency or representation of the elected candidate, sure. But likewise, corporations have to exist under the presidency and/or representation of the elected person as well. Just because they have more money to spend doesn't mean that they shouldn't be able to spend as much as they want. Its pretty unfair to say that Jim American can give all he wants but that Ameri-co, LLC. can't do the same.



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Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Campaign Finance minus reform
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2010, 11:57:49 pm »
I'm on the fence about this.

One one hand, it can allow advocacy groups like the NRA to compete with some of the rich private citizens and unions in campaign support.

On the other hand, now a company can essentially use your talents to fund their own agenda without your concent. Kinda like how union dues are typically used to support Dems, even if the union member doesn't agree.

I also see the  idea behind a publicly funded only campaign, but then you also leave open the ability to limit who can run for offices. I.E. third parties.

On the flip side of that, I like how the GOOOH project has the idea to fund a single national campaign for it's candidates instead of 435 single district campaigns for the House of Reps.

Ugh, that's why I stay out of campaign finance. Too many variables for me to think about. :D
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Offline Sskessa

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Re: Campaign Finance minus reform
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2010, 01:50:04 pm »
Another reason I don't think the first amendment applies to corporations: A corporation cannot be arrested, convicted, or jailed for any wrongdoing. If a citizen commits a crime, we punish him. If a corporation commits a crime, well, there's no way to punish an abstract idea, is there? We can punish members of the corporation, but not the corporation itself. Therefor, the corporation should not have the same rights as a citizen if it doesn't share the same responsibilities.

Also, what Narei said about corporations using employees' work to fund their own agenda without their consent.

I don't see this as a case of the government stifling freedoms, I see it as the government protecting the freedoms of its citizens.
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Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Campaign Finance minus reform
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2010, 01:47:40 am »
I think it's pretty rare that a corporation commits a crime *AS* the corporation. Usually it is just some of the upper management doing dirty deeds that aren't really supported by the corporation per se. True, the corp can't be arrested, but if there's enough members doing something wrong that are arrested, it will have to dissolve. Remember Enron? The downside is that it often results in hurting everyone else in the business that was doing things right and is next to impossible to get their proper compensation.

I did hear a report on this outcome that the court case was originally over that anti- Hillary Clinton "documentary" that the producers tried to air during the primaries, and this was one of those unintended consequences of the ruling. Lovely huh?
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Offline KitsuNinja

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Re: Campaign Finance minus reform
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2010, 11:13:44 am »
They've been doing this for a while now. The only difference now is they can do it openly.

It's now gotten to a point where it doesn't matter who you vote for. It's more of who has the most money.

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Offline Acton

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Re: Campaign Finance minus reform
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2010, 02:36:45 am »
I think you folks forget corporation are made up by individuals who have rights, for example, my church in a sense is a corporation.
As for public funding, the problem is I do not want my money to go into a  fund that funds my candidates and my left of center opponents  and vice versa. The decision how much and who should be left to the individual