Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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The 527 heavy hitters

The Boston Phoenix runs a piece on the wealthy funders of progressive "527" groups (MoveOn.org, Americans Coming Together, the Media Fund; there are more than 100 "527’s".). These are groups that can accept contributions of unlimited size from anybody. While George Soros (circa $12 million so far) is the most famous, the article lists 12 donors who have given more than $1 million each during the first 18 months of the election cycle. Collectively, this dozen has donated just over $50 million. Welcome to campaign finance reform.

Discussions - 2 Comments

doesn’t this to some degree vindicate campaign finance, AS FAR AS IT WENT? Obviously, it ain’t good that 527’s are taking over as the new unlimited slush funds, but isn’t it good that we are currently down to one? I say, let’s get them under similar rules as other campaign funds.

I disagree. I think this is further evidence for what some of us have been saying all along: You can’t separate big money from campaigns in an age where getting one’s message out no longer means whistle-stop tours of the East Coast. In an era where candidates need to spread their message through multiple media, in a nation that spreads across an entire continent, in an election that will be voted in by over 100 million citizens, it is unreasonable to think that vast quantities of money won’t be spent.

The rise of 527’s is just another example of how the big money will find its way into the system one way or another. I, for one, would like to see all of the complex campaign finances laws tossed out in favor of simple, but stringent donor reporting requirements for the campaigns. Require candidates in federal elections to post the donations to their campaigns within 24 hours of the donation to a publicly-accessible database, disallowing only anonymous donations. If Candidate X receives $5 million from Oil Tycoon Y, then let the electorate draw their own conclusions about what that donation may mean to Candidate X’s policies once in office. As things are now, it’s virtually impossible for the average citizen to know who is funding what, as everything is done behind several layers of legal veneer to appease the campaign finance laws.

What we have now isn’t working. Simplify it, don’t try to stick yet another finger in the dike.

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