Thursday, August 18, 2005

Campaign Finance Reform Creeps Ahead

Courts Likely to Uphold Contribution Ban on Lobbyists, Contractors

This is the first significant movement on campaign finance reform in a while:

A ban on campaign contributions from lobbyists and state contractors would likely be upheld by the courts, national campaign finance experts told a legislative task force on Thursday.

In proposing the ban, Connecticut lawmakers should clarify that it is designed to prevent future corruption, the experts warned. (AP)

Good! I understand the argument of those who say that this ban is a violation of free speech, but I disagree with the idea that money = speech. The two are not quite the same. Giving money is an action, and actions can be limited to protect the public interest.

However, here's the thing I didn't know:

The [legislative task force on campaign finance reform] hopes to hammer out a compromise by Sept. 15 that would overhaul the system and limit the influence of special interests. Besides limits on contributions, lawmakers are considering creating a voluntary publicly funded election finance system. (AP)

Nice to know they have a deadline, after all. I still suspect that we won't see something passed until the next session in 2006, but a deadline gives the illusion of progress and the slight possibility of something productive happening sooner.

Source
"Panel told contribution limits likely constitutional." Associated Press 18 August, 2005.

5 comments:

FrankS said...

This one reason I wish Blumenthal would run for Governor, Blumenthal has never accepted PAC or lobbist money in any campaign. He's leading by example and proof that elections can be won without these monies.

Anonymous said...

and Blumenthal really reflects you average civil servant hoping to make a difference...

born into uber money, married into more.

i want public financing, but without it, i don't want governing to be left to only those who are loaded

Genghis Conn said...

I wonder if we ought to give some thought to the idea of a significant pay raise for legislators? I know, I know... but they only make what, $28K/year in the House?

...Admittedly, that would be a jump in pay for me. But not for most people. Right now, politics is left to those who can afford it.

DeanFan84 said...

Genghis,

Here, here!

My understanding is that State Reps make something like 22K/year, and State Senators 28K/year.

I know this if for a half-year session,-- but really, who can afford to be in the State Government except the super-wealthy, Lawyers, and small business owners.

One way or another, the citizenry of CT are paying for this. The half-salaries encourage influencing peddling, and discourage honest people from getting involved.

Boost the salaries by 30-40K/year, and make the legislature full time.

This would cost the state 5-7 million dollars above the table, and save us God knows how much under the table.

FrankS said...

Anonymous,

If Blumenthal wants to put his own money into running for office, who cares.

Being bought by special interest monies hurts everyone.