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View Diary: Financial parity in sight (161 comments)

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  •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
    Money (in total amounts each individual can donate) does not equal speech. It equals "supervoting". Instead of "one person/one vote" as the maxim, we have Bill Gates gets 1M votes on who gets the nod, while Joe Six Pack gets one. Individual limitations are fine in direct contributions. In fact, it's worked wonders in this primary campaign.

    However, there is no way in this universe there will ever be an end to "interest group" fundraising and outside expenditures, such as Soros, or Scaife on the other side. How could you write a law that restricts that? We saw how that works under the old rules...with "issue ads" that were barely veiled attack ads. Even public finance wouldn't end that.

    Like it or not, this stuff will always be there. And eliminating hard money restrictions won't end it either...a lot of these groups and donors will want to stay on the down low so they aren't associated to a campaign, and they will run "issue ads" without attribution anyway.

    So trying to kill all hard restrictions based on an impossiblity (the end of "soft money', or the equivalent) is silly. A pure example of eliminating the good in search of the perfect.

    •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
      Either you think that Gates and Soros should be able to use their financial resources to get a candidate elected or you do not.  Since we both agree that there is no way under the first amendment to limit donations to third party groups to get a candidate elected then really what is the big deal about calling it hard money or soft money?  Why should we care if it was donated directly to the candidate or to a 3rd party who will use it to get the candidate elected?  If we can't stop you from donating a million dollars to get someone elected then you should be able to use that 1 million dollars however you wish.  

      Personally I think that there should be no individual limit because then at least we would know EXACTLY how much money a person has donated to a candidate.  Everything would be in the open for people to look at.  You would have to answer for all the money you have accepted.  To me we currently have the worst possible solution where the same amount of money is being donated by exactly the same people as if there were no individual limits but now its all hidden and secret.  As long as we are in agreement that there is no way to keep a Soros from throwing his financial weight behind a candidate lets push for as much disclosure as possible.

      •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
        Personally I think that there should be no individual limit because then at least we would know EXACTLY how much money a person has donated to a candidate.

        I believe exactly the opposite. All money donated should be completely opaque to everyone except the donor. That includes the recipient. The money would have to go through some sort of clearinghouse, with checks and such made out to the clearinghouse administrator, with a separate form indicating the end beneficiary. Some other mechanisms separating the method of donation from the recipient would work just as well.

        It's awfully hard to "buy" someone/something if you can't prove you actually paid for it.

        •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
          Yeah, I've read about this as well. But there would have to be draconian penalties on those working at the clearing house (likely the FEC, with outside auditing) who disclose information. And I mean really draconian penalties, like life in prison. There would just be too much incentive for bribery to circumvent the double blind.
      •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
        I notice you didn't bother with the third in the name troika, "Scaife". I love the way conservatives think that by selectively choosing which names to pick, they think everyone will just magically forget it.

        You also convieniently forgot my other point, which is that even if we did drop all limits on "hard" money, and required donation tracking, it still wouldn't end this stuff. There will still be numerous folks who will try to hide their donations by funding TP groups. Your own poster boy, Scaife, is a perfect example. I don't think anyone is confused about where and how much Soros is dropping, but Scaife slips his under the table as much as possible.

        The reality is, divisive figures, or folks who got their money in questionable ways will generate TP groups anyway. Look at Bush's 2000 run, and his crooked Silver Millionaire buddies that created multiple front organization to hide their multi-million $ ads. They knew they were toxic if disclosed, so they faked it. Casino money, Tobacco, etc...will pull the same trick.

        So your proposed "solution" would fix nothing, except it would let you tap into your millionaires wallets. And for all the talk and phony posturing, that's really what you folks want.

        The reality is that there are ways one can limit "soft money". You'll never stop it, just as you'll never stop murder, rape, etc...but you can sure elimate 90%+ of it. Simple. Make the laws have teeth. If you don't disclose who really did the ad, you get 20 years in prison, no parole. Ditto if you coordinate with the campaign (and the campaign staffer who did that goes down as well). Almost no one will risk that kind of penalty to cheat the rules. Oh, and lower the individual maximum to $1K on the hard side.

        That would drive out a lot of the crooked long green in 5 seconds.

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