Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Take Money and Special Interests Out of Politics

Spending reform needn’t conflict with free speech; Henry Schmid, Las Vegas Sun

From a letter to the editor in the Las Vegas Sun:

Ed Hayes, in his Saturday letter to the editor headlined “Put limits on spending for campaigns,” points out the problem with campaign spending and its influence on our elected officials.

However, the solutions he suggests (funding limits and public funding) would conflict with our First Amendment right to free speech. Three other solutions have been suggested that do not conflict with the First Amendment and should be considered:

-- Contributions for a candidate could be made to a blind trust where the candidate would have no knowledge of their supporters.

-- All contributions could be subject to full disclosure such that if an elected official submits legislation favoring a contributor or does not recuse himself from a vote on legislation benefiting the contributor, it would be public knowledge.

-- Repeal of the 17th Amendment, which would mean senators once again would be appointed by the state legislatures. This would take money and special interests out of politics, since the senators would be beholden only to the state. This would also have the added benefit of limiting the size of the federal government, since laws that are best addressed at the state level would more likely be left to the states.
Comment: Repealing the 17th would take a huge bite out of the money special interest use to influence our elected officials without compromising the 1st Amendment!

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