Campaign Finance Reform
By James Fox
Published 3/29/02
Daily Press

I do believe successful accomplishment of this noble task ranks right up there with World Peace and Diogenes' search for an honest man in difficulty.

While mouthing words of support and going through the motions of trying to legislate reform laws to eliminate the corrupting influence of soft money and the devastating impact of big special interest groups during an election, these phonies are burning the midnight oil working out means of creating loopholes in the new legislation to render the controls ineffective.

The necessity of raising huge sums of money to get elected or re-elected take so much time and effort that our elected representatives cannot do their work efficiently. There are at all times, 40 state senators, 80 state assemblymen, 100 federal senators and 435 federal members of the house of representatives, all frantically making deals, making phone calls, or going to fund raisers ...trying desperately to get enough to combat the challenge of the upcoming election.

If they are not campaigning, they are working on the upcoming budget for the next fiscal year. They spend months on this and months fighting over where our money gets spent. They have no time for the job we hired them to do! Something has to be done about the whole procedure to make it simple, economical and fair to enter into a political race for elected office.

Naturally, I, the Hermit have a realistic solution to the whole situation. Here is what I would recommend: First, make receiving any direct or indirect contributions to any candidate for election in any state or federal election a felony. All contributions by individuals, corporations, unions or any other political action groups (PACs) should be to the political election fund of the party of their choice. This fund would then be split equally with every candidate for office...incumbents and challengers before and after the primaries.

Second, all candidates would be limited to $10,000 of their own money. this would enable a poor buy popular challenger to borrow enough to run for office.

Third, all television stations would be required to provide equal time at a reasonable price to all candidates as a condition of broadcast license renewal.
The time would be paid for out of the party election fund.

Keep the new election law simple and implimentable, and above all write in specific penalties for non-compliance. Check carefully for loopholes and constitutionality and I believe the whole mess would go away. Then finally after 200 years we might get our government to function like a utility of the people, for the people and not like a bunch of pigs at feeding time.

I don't have the slightest idea of how to go about accomplishing this, but as I said at the start of this article, the problem is no easier than bringing about peace on earth or finding an honest man. Diogenes carried a lantern with him in his search for that honest man, all we have is the ballot box.

What the heck, it wouldn't hurt to try.