I can’t believe that I wrote the following post almost 4 years ago. But considering that Congress has made absolutely no progress on improving the morass that is campaign finance…I am reposting this now. I did a few edits to clean up some typos and to bring it up to date. If you want to see the original version….click here.
Citizens United is the most devastating court ruling in my life time. It has tipped the balance of power from the ballot box to the wallet. Money isn’t free speech! But putting that genie back in the bottle may take decades or worse yet…generations…so let’s make the most of it and limit how and where those freedom of speech dollars are spent.
Here’s my official plank: Every individual who is eligible to vote has the right to make unlimited campaign contributions in any race they are eligible to vote in.
So let’s parse this out.
Individual…a unique person…a living breathing person…not a corporation, PAC, Super PAC, 501c3 front group, union, fraternal organizations…etc…a living breathing person.
Every eligible voter. Now I’d really like to say every registered voter but that wouldn’t last more than five minutes in a federal court. So let’s just try eligible voter. You actually have to be eligible to vote to actually contribute campaign funds.
Unlimited contributions – I don’t care how much money you contribute it…but it has to be to a campaign…not to a PAC, Super PAC, 501c3, or any other organization…it has to be to a campaign that records and publishes contributions…no more dark money…ever!
In a race that they are eligible to vote in. So no more out of state contributions…I live in the city of Milwaukee, so I could contribute any amount to any of the candidates in state wide races like governor or US senator or state supreme court…any candidates running for county wide office in Milwaukee county…Milwaukee mayor, my legislators in Madison, my congress representative, my alderman, school board director, my county supervisor…etc…you get the picture. I couldn’t contribute to a candidate for mayor anywhere else, governor of Illinois for example, anyone running against Rep. James Sensenbrenner or Rep Glen Grothman, or a US senate race in Massachusetts. I only get to contribute to the home team so to speak.
So until Citizens United is overturned, let’s make sensible use of free speech as money! Accountable, Transparent, Directed.
Since publishing the original…I can see one major political issue that would prevent this from passing in Washington: this may inhibit the activities of the Democratic National Committee, the Republican National Committee and the election committees run by each party for House and Senate candidates. They could probably continue to provide infrastructure and education but not contribute to candidates anymore. Boo hoo.