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Tags: gerrymandering | citizens united | political contributions

4 Solutions to Our Money in Politics Problem

4 Solutions to Our Money in Politics Problem

John Pudner By Thursday, 19 October 2017 12:02 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Most reformers supported Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent speech from the steps of the Supreme Court to "terminate" gerrymandering, however strong divisions remain among reformers seven years after the Citizens United decision.

Weigh in on which of the four warring camps come closest to your view in this 2-question survey being circulated by the 37 state chapters of Take Back Our Republic.

Option 1: No rules: Even secret contributions and gifts to politicians allowed

Some reject the call of Take Back Our Republic for reform, whether it means Donald Trump’s “drain the swamp,” or progressive’s calls for “getting money out of politics.” While some argue that this should be the “libertarian” view, I disagree, because the basis for being a libertarian is that you do not want government interfering in free enterprise.

What could be more disruptive to free enterprise than the South Dakota system under which those who want government contracts or other favors from government can give politicians secret campaign contributions and gifts? This system in fact encourages the government to get more involved and pick winners and losers, without taxpayers knowing what contributions or gifts were given to encourage politicians to give their money away.

Option 2. Leave Citizens United in place, but pass greater transparency

It is important to attempt to make changes within the confines of Citizens United at both the federal and local levels. That’s what our organization, Take Back Our Republic, has done with our efforts to address the credit card loophole (HR1341 and S1660) that allows for unverified contributions online, which one vendor alone has used to move $1.7 billion in secret contributions into campaigns — an open invitations for foreign donations.

These and other disclosure options are allowed under the Citizens United decision, which did incorrectly assume instant transparency of donations.

To address areas of reform this way is a valid tactic. There are positive steps that can be taken, meaningful reforms, and, by treating the Supreme Court decision as “settled law,” some prefer to avoid many questions that would lurch into “free speech” territory.

Option 3. Pass a 28th Amendment to reverse Citizens United

Frustrations over the limits placed by Citizens United and the attempts by attorneys to use that decision to throw out state anti-corruption laws have led many to champion a 28th Amendment. Such an effort would, without a doubt, provide an opportunity to bring great clarity and change to certain issues. For example, the organization Move to Amend, proposes a 28th Amendment that would clarify, first, that corporations are not people, and, second, that money is not speech. I have further argued that even if you accept that money is speech, you do not have to allow unlimited money because free speech itself is not unlimited (cannot yell fire in a crowded theater).

Another effort by www.fixitamerica.org seeks to clarify that both Congress and States have the right to determine what, if any, rules should be put in place to limit corruption that can come when secret, big money from special interests, corporations, unions and a few billionaires like George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer, and the Koch Brothers dominate politics. That version of a 28th Amendment would also rule out partisan gerrymandering.

Option 4: Call an Article V convention to reverse Citizens United and allow greater reform

Others believe a 28th Amendment faces too many hurdles, whereas it would only take another six states to approve an Article V convention, at which 38 of 50 states could agree to changes such as eliminating Citizens United.

The argument for an Article V convention is that the disgust with modern politics dominated by a small number of elite donors is one of the few unifying messages that could enable 38 states to unite and undo Citizens United and “Drain the Swamp” or “Pass Campaign Finance Reform,” depending on their ideological perspective. They argue that those sent to a Convention, as the representatives of “We the People,” unencumbered by the corrupt system that plagues Congress, can pass forward its best proposal to address the systemic problem.

Groups like Convention of the States argue this option allows for states to find common ground- that there is a problem — and then provides a forum for clear discussion. Representatives to the convention could, in a much freer, open, and clear process, dialogue and formulate real solutions.

Home for Discussion

I could write an additional column on the problems the advocates of each group see with the other approaches, but as the first group of conservatives who came together to acknowledge and address the problem of the modern “legal” corruption of special interest and foreign money in politics, we want to be a home for this discussion. We would rather find out your opinion, and then follow-up on the results of this survey as we continue to research conservative solutions to campaign finance reform.

John Pudner is Executive Director of Takeback.org, a non-profit home for Americans seeking true political reform. Our conservative solutions include: stopping illicit foreign money from impacting elections; ending pay-to-play in government contracting; and restoring the Reagan-era federal tax credit for small-dollar political contributions, which will encourage more citizens to become donors and help re-balance the campaign finance system. For more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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Most reformers supported Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent speech from the steps of the Supreme Court to "terminate" gerrymandering, however strong divisions remain among reformers seven years after the Citizens United decision.
gerrymandering, citizens united, political contributions
Thursday, 19 October 2017 12:02 PM
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