The only good reforms are those that restrict
The only bad reforms are those that restrict citizen's rights.
- As a citizen, I'm insulted by the proposition that my vote can be
bought. Hundreds of elections have proven that it isn't true. Just last
May, Republican Bill Redmond won the 3rd Congressional District in New
Mexico, spending half as much as Democrat Eric Serna in a district that
is two-thirds Democrat. There are many Republican candidates who will
explain that money can't buy happiness... either.
- Of course, I want as much information as I can get on a candidate. It's
expensive just to drive around a district door-to-door, to say nothing
of television ads. Money sustains a viable campaign because people
believe in the candidate and are willing to offer financial support.
Many people would rather contribute to a spokesman for their viewpoint
than to devote time, effort and test their tempers by doing it
themselves. Which is why the Supreme Court found that restrictions on
supporting a cause financially are a violation of the contributor's
right to free speech.
- It's not surprising that the first reaction of politicians to a problem
is to pass a law so they have more control. The first reaction of good
citizens is to repeal a law and reduce the power of legislators and
bureaucrats. Remember, behind all the PC, we're talking about BRIBERY.
When a public official receives money in exchange for violating an
official obligation, that's not the "appearance of
impropriety", that's a crime. The only legal obligation of a
federal legislator is the oath to 'uphold and defend the constitution'.
Yet, that pledge is broken day in and day out by legislation that
blatantly violates the 10th and 14th Amendments.
- The first good reform would be to give any citizen automatic standing in
court to challenge the constitutionality of any legislation or
bureaucratic rule. The second would be a change in the ethics code for
legislators, requiring them to abstain from any vote which gives tax
dollars directly to any of their campaign contributors. Neither one will
pass until citizens get sick and tired of hidden, implied and unspoken
'understandings' between legislators and their special interests.
- In the meantime, legislators should repeal the most egregious parts of
the FEC code, including one which allows political parties to contribute
thirty times the amount of any individual contributor. This was
accomplished by a slight-of-hand, called a COLA adjustment, which
applies only to party ('soft money') contributions.
- I support three campaign reforms which have been proposed in Congress or
as Initiatives for the California ballot:
- Employees and union members whose withholding includes political
contributions, must be informed in writing and consent in writing to the
use of their money for political purposes. This "informed
consent" Campaign Reform Initiative will be on the June Ballot.
- Neither voters nor candidates should have universal term limits imposed
on them by government. However, voluntary limits for Congressional
Candidates are proposed in a November Ballot Initiative. Since I believe
political office should not be a career, I have signed a pledge to limit
myself to three terms in Congress.
- Voters, as employers of public officials, should know who has
contributed to the candidate's campaign. Since I support full
disclosure, I have agreed to post contribution information normally
published by the FEC on this website within 24 hours of deposit.