by JC Bowman
Campaign finance reform is needed at every level of government, and is particularly critical at the state level. The amount of money pouring into political campaigns has grown exponentially. Reform is essential to keep the costs of running for office affordable for the average citizen. If I were a candidate in 2006, my slogan would be "I am going after the ethically-minded vote."
It is a rare day when you see me quote Bill Moyers, but I agree with his point: "People who have more money should be free to buy more cars, more homes, more vacations, and more gizmos than the rest of us. They should not be able to buy more democracy." Now do not get me wrong, I am not advocating passing a law requiring prosperity to be "equally distributed" nor am I simply a closet Marxist preaching "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." I simply think we need to bend over backwards to ensure that all citizens have a government that is as close as possible to their needs and they feel like they are treated fairly by their government.
One of the greatest changes that needs to occur in government is full and immediate disclosure of all political donations. Mandatory disclosure of the amounts and sources of political contributions enables the voters themselves, aided by an alert media, to follow the money and hold their government leaders accountable to excessive influence. Such disclosure is an extremely powerful and accessible tool such as the Internet.
It is beyond time to work and end special interest domination in the Volunteer State's election campaigns--especially at the state and local level. If you are a candidate or elected official you must represent ALL the people, not the select few. We cannot expect ethics reform unless candidates for state and local office voluntarily report and take steps beyond what the law requires while they are seeking office. Voters need to expect higher standards. People understand that politicians only respond. Like Ronald Reagan used to say, "If you cannot make them see the light, make them feel the heat."
It is a heartbreaking testimony to American voters who believe the political system is failing them because special interest money is corrupting the process giving unfair advantages to the wealthy or well-connected. You hear it all the time- that people do not participate in government because they