Bill of Campaign Rights and Obligations: Financing

Election Campaigns: Financing Rules and Laws.

I think we all agree that something has to be done about the massive monies that are spent on political campaigns.

Politics must be one of our major industries, a large part of the gross national product, bigger than GE or 3M or Coors. Once upon a time our country produced television sets. Now we produce political television commercials.

It’s indecent and slimy; it caters to the worst and dumbest people. The worst buy congressmen and write their own legislation; the dumbest vote for those congressmen.

The Election Trust Fund.

Campaign spending will be capped.

I thank my brother-in -law, Rob Kresch, for suggesting a cap and pointing my thoughts to the NFL. And indeed, the model for establishing and managing this cap is drawn from the National Football League: all revenues, i.e., political contributions, will go into a new Election Trust Fund administered by our National Board of Elections.

The Board will assess revenues, set the cap for each presidential and congressional election campaign, and apportion the revenues to each campaign based upon a formula to be established by the Board.

And that’s it.

You want to run for office, you get your share of the fund. You do not acquire your own separate campaign fund. If campaigns are to be honorably competitive, the competition must be over ideas, not money.

Lobbyists for industries and the industries themselves can, of course, donate as much as they want to the election fund but not to any particular candidate. In fact, here’s the benefit for business: it cuts their costs – no more excessive and obscene political financing. They can reduce their lobbying expenses, too. Won’t they love this?

Politicians will no longer feel impelled for the sake of their war chests (and futures) to support big business demands.

This campaign financing plan strips venality and corruption from government. Legislators will be working, truly, for their constituents, without denying big-money interests – who are also their constituents, let us not forget – equal access to their ears and minds. But that’s their job, isn’t it? Why should they be spending half their time acquiring war chests above their salaries for doing that job? (And WHY should they be able to keep whatever’s left in their war chests when they lose an election or retire? Any excess after the campaign will go back into the Election Fund.)

I fear dark money contributors will be discouraged by the singularity of the Fund. Who among them will be eager to put $$$millions into not buying a targeted congressperson? Well, yeah. So the Fund will not be spilling over in money. But since the Fund will be equally distributed among campaigning politicians, the financial limits will affect all equally. Each campaign will have to evaluate how best to spend the funding it does get.

One advantage to us voters: we will no longer be inundated with political TV commercials, the most expensive way to advertise a politician’s wares.

And as for Citizens United so-called “social concern” advertising? I think I’ve taken care of them in the next segment involving campaign advertising.

Next: Campaign advertising

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