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Subject: Campaign finance reform: Why would anyone be against this? rss

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Can someone explain what Justice Roberts is thinking by opposing this?


'Citizens United' Critics Fight Money With Money
http://www.npr.org/2014/02/13/276028474/citizens-united-crit...

It's been four years since the Supreme Court's controversial Citizens United ruling, the case that set the stage for unlimited and often undisclosed contribution money in federal elections.

Advocates of stronger campaign finance laws are 0-for-6 at the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts. And there's no consensus in Congress on what, if anything, should be done.

But critics of Citizens United, including newly enlisted philanthropists, are organizing a long campaign of their own to reduce the political influence of big money.

One of those philanthropists is Phil Radford, co-founder of the Democracy Initiative. Radford says polls show rising anger as Americans see money's influence in Washington.

"I think that outrage will translate into people, district by district, asking their members of Congress: What are they doing to make sure America is a democracy again?" he says.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Mooney should not be able to buy elections, it's why there will never be real reform.
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Boaty McBoatface
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bjlillo wrote:
You're looking at the wrong end of the equation. The key to getting money out of politics is to reduce the power that politicians yield. As long as it makes more sense for a corporation to buy a politician, they'll find loopholes in the law or go around the law to make it happen. If we want government to control every little thing we do like they do now, we will always struggle with people wanting to control the government.
Then you just hand power to those most able to afford to wield it, so no it does not solve the problem. In fact that is one reason we have so much 'government' to kurb the most egregious abuse of wealth and power.

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Jon M
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bjlillo wrote:
You're looking at the wrong end of the equation. The key to getting money out of politics is to reduce the power that politicians yield. As long as it makes more sense for a corporation to buy a politician, they'll find loopholes in the law or go around the law to make it happen. If we want government to control every little thing we do like they do now, we will always struggle with people wanting to control the government.

Kind of self defeating really though since the turkeys will not vote for Christmas. Politicians in the pay of corporations and the rich will not legislate to reduce their abilities to pass legislation will they. Also how would you actually form a law to achieve this? Amend the constitution to have a list of stuff they can't pass laws on? How could that work?
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All donations should be public IMHO. I am comfortable with disallowing anything but contributions from private persons. Separation of company and state FTW.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Venga2 wrote:
All donations should be public IMHO. I am comfortable with disallowing anything but contributions from private persons. Separation of company and state FTW.
Too easy to circumvent, you just give your workers the money to donate. The only way to stop it is to disallow any private funding.
 
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slatersteven wrote:
Venga2 wrote:
All donations should be public IMHO. I am comfortable with disallowing anything but contributions from private persons. Separation of company and state FTW.
Too easy to circumvent, you just give your workers the money to donate. The only way to stop it is to disallow any private funding.

Really? If someone gave me $10K and asked me to donate it to the Republicans

"Hey did you donate that money?"

"Oh yeah, sure. This new car? Oh .. I won the lottery."
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Boaty McBoatface
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bjlillo wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
You're looking at the wrong end of the equation. The key to getting money out of politics is to reduce the power that politicians yield. As long as it makes more sense for a corporation to buy a politician, they'll find loopholes in the law or go around the law to make it happen. If we want government to control every little thing we do like they do now, we will always struggle with people wanting to control the government.
Then you just hand power to those most able to afford to wield it, so no it does not solve the problem. In fact that is one reason we have so much 'government' to kurb the most egregious abuse of wealth and power.


Wouldn't it be great if that's what government actually did instead of enabling it? Unfortunately, power corrupts and that's what has happened with government.
Really? I suspect that Blacks, ans gays and women may disagree. I also suspect that those who have health and safety protections may disagree. Yes power can corrupt, but the root of all evil is money (and money corrupts just as much as power, becasue even with out government it confers power).

I would rather be told what to do by an authority I have at least nominal control over as opposed to a power I have no authority over.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Jon_1066 wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Venga2 wrote:
All donations should be public IMHO. I am comfortable with disallowing anything but contributions from private persons. Separation of company and state FTW.
Too easy to circumvent, you just give your workers the money to donate. The only way to stop it is to disallow any private funding.

Really? If someone gave me $10K and asked me to donate it to the Republicans

"Hey did you donate that money?"

"Oh yeah, sure. This new car? Oh .. I won the lottery."
So you would make it illegal for me to give way £10K as a bonus for having done a good job?
 
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bjlillo wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
You're looking at the wrong end of the equation. The key to getting money out of politics is to reduce the power that politicians yield. As long as it makes more sense for a corporation to buy a politician, they'll find loopholes in the law or go around the law to make it happen. If we want government to control every little thing we do like they do now, we will always struggle with people wanting to control the government.
Then you just hand power to those most able to afford to wield it, so no it does not solve the problem. In fact that is one reason we have so much 'government' to kurb the most egregious abuse of wealth and power.


Wouldn't it be great if that's what government actually did instead of enabling it? Unfortunately, power corrupts and that's what has happened with government.
I don't understand how you can have government without it having power.

Democracy is the best form I know, to limit power of any one branch, with checks and balances and built-in inefficiencies, to make it harder to wield power.

Are you arguing from a Libertarian view, that we should dismantle some or all government?
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bjlillo wrote:
YThe key to getting money out of politics is to reduce the power that politicians yield.

So the money goes to take advantage of power, which has little reason to get rid of the money because it's what puts people in positions of power.

Sounds like you're creating a never-ending cycle here. At some point, if we take the money out of the equation, don't we improve our chances of getting people focused on serving? If we take away the relatively massive time and effort required to build a campaign war chest, don't we shift the work towards good governance and away from attracting donors?

Money has become so central to getting elected that you won't break the cycle without some massive change.
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slatersteven wrote:
Jon_1066 wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Venga2 wrote:
All donations should be public IMHO. I am comfortable with disallowing anything but contributions from private persons. Separation of company and state FTW.
Too easy to circumvent, you just give your workers the money to donate. The only way to stop it is to disallow any private funding.

Really? If someone gave me $10K and asked me to donate it to the Republicans

"Hey did you donate that money?"

"Oh yeah, sure. This new car? Oh .. I won the lottery."
So you would make it illegal for me to give way £10K as a bonus for having done a good job?

What you described (giving someone money to donate to a candidate) is already illegal in the US. There's no need to make another law about it.

The biggest problem these days isn't direct candidate donations, but the influence of political action committees and political organizations pretending to be other sorts of non-profits to avoid disclosure laws.
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Boaty McBoatface
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rshipley wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Jon_1066 wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Venga2 wrote:
All donations should be public IMHO. I am comfortable with disallowing anything but contributions from private persons. Separation of company and state FTW.
Too easy to circumvent, you just give your workers the money to donate. The only way to stop it is to disallow any private funding.

Really? If someone gave me $10K and asked me to donate it to the Republicans

"Hey did you donate that money?"

"Oh yeah, sure. This new car? Oh .. I won the lottery."
So you would make it illegal for me to give way £10K as a bonus for having done a good job?

What you described (giving someone money to donate to a candidate) is already illegal in the US. There's no need to make another law about it.

The biggest problem these days isn't direct candidate donations, but the influence of political action committees and political organizations pretending to be other sorts of non-profits to avoid disclosure laws.
It is also illegal to refuse employment due to race, it still happens. The point is that if the objection to funding reform is it will be possible to circumvent then that applies to this idea as well. If you want to remove money from political influence you have to remove the money.
 
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There is no Dana, only Zuul
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I think this gets to the core of how I see campaign finance and essentially the role of lobbyist dollars:

Quote:
Bear in mind, few things are more democratic than advocating a policy idea. Even the authors of our constitution realized that citizens or groups of them, regardless of economic standing, must have the right to address their government and be heard. Lobbying is an essential service.

[Modern] lobbyists wield influence based on their ability to raise money for or against a given policy, not based on the good of that policy. For this reason it is critical to distinguish between our democratic right to address our government and money’s toxic effect on that process. In other words, we need lobbyists, but we cannot have lobbyist-fund-raisers. I doubt our founding fathers, who invented “lobbying,” ever intended to create fund-raisers masquerading as policy advocates. The constitution does not say you have the right to pay for access to your government. It says you have the right to address your government.

Ratigan, Dylan. Greedy Bastards Simon & Schuster, Inc.
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slatersteven wrote:
Jon_1066 wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Venga2 wrote:
All donations should be public IMHO. I am comfortable with disallowing anything but contributions from private persons. Separation of company and state FTW.
Too easy to circumvent, you just give your workers the money to donate. The only way to stop it is to disallow any private funding.

Really? If someone gave me $10K and asked me to donate it to the Republicans

"Hey did you donate that money?"

"Oh yeah, sure. This new car? Oh .. I won the lottery."
So you would make it illegal for me to give way £10K as a bonus for having done a good job?

No. I am saying that whilst the corporation may give the money to their staff they can't enforce what the staff do with it - ie donate it to a political party or not. The staff could very well spend it on whatever the hell they wanted with no legal comeback from the corporation.

Also how does a corporation keep it quiet that it is providing slush money to it's employees to donate to a party - that many of them may well detest. It would be whistle blowing season ahoy.
 
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tesuji wrote:
"I think that outrage will translate into people, district by district, asking their members of Congress: What are they doing to make sure America is a democracy again?" he says.

I sincerely hope this country is never a democracy.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Jon_1066 wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Jon_1066 wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Venga2 wrote:
All donations should be public IMHO. I am comfortable with disallowing anything but contributions from private persons. Separation of company and state FTW.
Too easy to circumvent, you just give your workers the money to donate. The only way to stop it is to disallow any private funding.

Really? If someone gave me $10K and asked me to donate it to the Republicans

"Hey did you donate that money?"

"Oh yeah, sure. This new car? Oh .. I won the lottery."
So you would make it illegal for me to give way £10K as a bonus for having done a good job?

No. I am saying that whilst the corporation may give the money to their staff they can't enforce what the staff do with it - ie donate it to a political party or not. The staff could very well spend it on whatever the hell they wanted with no legal comeback from the corporation.

Also how does a corporation keep it quiet that it is providing slush money to it's employees to donate to a party - that many of them may well detest. It would be whistle blowing season ahoy.
Are you really suggesting that a company could not punish a worker who did not spend the money in the way they wanted?

As to how the hell they make sure it goes to the right party, but only giving it to those workers they know share their political views. Of course eventually it would get out, assuming that they tell the worker what to do with it, openly. As a for instance, I know a number of skilled and semi-skilled manual laborers, they more or less (if not all) work for companies that do not tell you to break the law. However they are given working practices that cannot be performed without breaking the law (or which reward you for breaking the law), obviously if you cannot do your job you get the boot.
 
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I've always thought that donations should be outlawed for all people, private, corporations, etc. There should also be no more ads, either tv, print, billboards, whatever. Everything should be done by town hall or debate style meetings a few weeks leading up to the elelction.

Most ads are negative ads that attack their opponent and give you no idea of how or what they will vote for. They serve no beneficial purpose.
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There is no Dana, only Zuul
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“Donations” aren’t the only way that money gets in to influence politicians and policy. One of the things that happens with lobbyists and funding political influence is that once a politician or high level staffer leaves office, they are immediately hired into very lucrative private positions and work on behalf of the lobbying companies. It is, in essence, a deferred bribe:

Quote:
...after the financial crisis, when the Senate debated a new bill to regulate the secret derivatives market, Democrats split. The conservative “Blue Dog” caucus of Democrats supported the weak bill, while liberal Democrat Russ Feingold of Wisconsin voted against the bill because it was not strong enough. After the party was trounced by the Republicans in the midterms, roughly half the Blue Dog Democrats fled Capitol Hill to become high-priced lobbyists.

Republicans got in on the action too. Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, who had argued that the new regulations would turn America into a socialist state and that the bill’s name should be changed from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to the “Expansion-of-Government-for-Making-Us-More-Like-Europe Act,” later became an “international adviser” at Goldman Sachs, the finance industry giant that makes billions of dollars from unregulated derivatives.
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It's interesting that there are policies for anyone related to government to follow regarding conflict of interest, but the practice of hiring a politician/high level staffer right out of office and allowing them to use their connections both to benefit lobbying groups and potentially undermine the new position holder (perhaps out of the interests of the US), is allowed. I would agree with the idea that there should be a non-compete type of requirement for such people. You cannot leave your position and immediately be hired into a "consultant" or "lobby" type of position for a period of time. A restriction of 2-3 years would effectively kill that immediate influence power, while still leaving a person with desirable knowledge and connections.
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Ben Vincent
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Here's one idea:

Quote:
A few weeks back, I wrote here about taxing the revolving door that takes people back and forth between the federal government and the various industries that federal government agencies regulate. My proposal was to put a surtax -- 50%, say, or maybe 75% -- on the post-government earnings of federal officials in excess of their government salaries for the first five years: Leave a federal job paying $100,000 a year for an industry job paying $600,000 a year, and you'd pay a $250,000 surtax.
 
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bjlillo wrote:
SabreRedleg wrote:
Here's one idea:

Quote:
A few weeks back, I wrote here about taxing the revolving door that takes people back and forth between the federal government and the various industries that federal government agencies regulate. My proposal was to put a surtax -- 50%, say, or maybe 75% -- on the post-government earnings of federal officials in excess of their government salaries for the first five years: Leave a federal job paying $100,000 a year for an industry job paying $600,000 a year, and you'd pay a $250,000 surtax.

Then the pay turns into stock options and the former employees are even more motivated to rent-seek to increase its value for when they are able to liquidate it.

That's a challenge in implementation but not necessarily an insurmountable one. Valuing options is something the market does very well -- it wouldn't be hard to treat options as income. That's not to say that companies wouldn't find some way around it but it would take more than just giving options.
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Jon_1066 wrote:


Kind of self defeating really though since the turkeys will not vote for Christmas. Politicians in the pay of corporations and the rich will not legislate to reduce their abilities to pass legislation will they. Also how would you actually form a law to achieve this? Amend the constitution to have a list of stuff they can't pass laws on? How could that work?

You mean like the limits originally placed on the federal government in the constitution, which have been continually eroded over the last 225 or so years?
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tesuji wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
You're looking at the wrong end of the equation. The key to getting money out of politics is to reduce the power that politicians yield. As long as it makes more sense for a corporation to buy a politician, they'll find loopholes in the law or go around the law to make it happen. If we want government to control every little thing we do like they do now, we will always struggle with people wanting to control the government.
Then you just hand power to those most able to afford to wield it, so no it does not solve the problem. In fact that is one reason we have so much 'government' to kurb the most egregious abuse of wealth and power.


Wouldn't it be great if that's what government actually did instead of enabling it? Unfortunately, power corrupts and that's what has happened with government.
I don't understand how you can have government without it having power.

Democracy is the best form I know, to limit power of any one branch, with checks and balances and built-in inefficiencies, to make it harder to wield power.

Are you arguing from a Libertarian view, that we should dismantle some or all government?

Democracy does not limit power it just determines who has the power, i.e. the majority. The tyranny of the majority, in many respects, can be much more oppressive than a tyranny of the minority.

The rule of law, separation of powers, and federalism are all integral to limiting power.

The framers were not concerned with creating a system to put the "best" possible person in power. Rather, they recognized that no such system could be divised. And they recognized that any system that consolidated power in a single person would result in people seeking that position for the sake of power. Instead, the created a system of very limited government to ensure that no one person would ever be in a position of extreme power.
 
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Drew1365 wrote:
rshipley wrote:
What you described (giving someone money to donate to a candidate) is already illegal in the US. There's no need to make another law about it.

I don't think that's illegal. What's illegal is reimbursing those who give you the money.

If being a "bundler" was illegal, then Obama's bundler pals would be rewarded with prison time instead of government positions.

But then, you're inadvertently pointing out how ridiculous our campaign finance laws have become, and how arbitrarily they're enforced.

Hiding who is giving the money to a candidate is illegal. Bundlers don't give in their own name, they have to disclose who the money is coming from. I'm not sure you should be at the adult table for this discussion.
 
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