I’ve been a supporter of campaign finance reform since the late 90s and was a supporter of the 2002 McCain-Feingold bill later on. But the problem with the campaign finance reform, is the U.S. Constitution, at least according to the Supreme Court. Every time Congress passes a major campaign finance reform bill, major parts of it, the parts that would actually make a difference, it gets thrown out by the Supreme Court. Or when one hole is closed, another one opens up. Because these politicians and groups are very intelligent and well-educated people generally. And have lawyers that have great drills, that open up big holes in the laws.
Like legislation regulating how political incumbents and candidates raise their money for their campaigns. The Buckley-Valaho decision of 1976 and the Citizens United case of 2010, that basically means corporations and other organizations, can essentially raise as much money as they want to. Which makes it almost as impossible to do anything meaningful on campaign finance, because someone claims free speech and whatever was in the legislation that could make a difference, gets thrown out. The reason why I’m for campaign reform is pretty simple. I don’t agree with Senator John McCain very often. He’s a very Conservative Republican, but I believe in a good way. A And I’m a Liberal Democrat.
So its natural I wouldn’t agree very often with Senator McCain. But when he was pushing CFR 10-15 years ago, he said he was doing it. Which cost him a lot of support with the conservative movement. But he did it because he wanted to break what he called the Iron Triangle in Washington. The reason why major reform wasn’t being passed in Congress, because what he saw as the Iron Triangle that owned both parties. He was also pushing for a Patients Bill of Rights. But knew he couldn’t pass it, because the insurance industry owned the Republican Party. Just to be fair, and honest and not sound like a partisan.
The reason why it’s very difficult to pass meaningful education reform in Congress and these are just a couple of examples, because the teacher unions own the Democratic Party in a lot of ways. But at least President Obama and Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan are trying to get pass them. So not to sound too cynical, but to be honest, I don’t believe there’s much that Congress can do to address campaign finance reform. That would stand up in court and could remain law. But I do believe there are some meaningful things that can be done, that would stand up. Full-disclosure.
Meaning that political candidates, incumbents and politicians at the Federal level, along with special interest groups, would have to disclose where they get their campaign contributions, lets say within 24 hours or receiving them. And individuals and organizations would have to disclose how they raise their money. Especially third-party groups that run commercials against incumbents, candidates and politicians. When they run commercials against politicians and candidates they don’t like. As well as making it illegal for U.S. Representatives and Senators and candidates to raise money out of their district and state.
With a hardship exemption for members who live in high poverty districts and states. I think a good case good be made that if you can’t vote for the candidate or incumbent that you want to contribute to, you shouldn’t be able to give them money. Because that campaign isn’t your business. Most meaningful laws that deal with campaign finance reform tend to get thrown out by courts, on free speech grounds. But what’s left that can be done, would make a difference if its ever passed.