Sunday, May 11, 2014

Lift the Campaign Finance Restrictions

Well-meaning people often support campaign finance law under the tacit acceptance of idea that money is the root of all evil. Such people might be advised to read Ayn Rand's devastating critique of this idea or Howard Hyde's What the Heck IS Money Anyway?.

Some readers may say that that's all well and good for commerce, but surely money is bad for politics. But the attempt to remove money from politics has backfired, producing more corruption, not less. As David Brooks of the New York Times has observed, "campaign finance laws weren’t merely designed to take money out of politics; they were designed to protect incumbents from political defeat" and "There will always be money in politics; it’s a pipe dream to think otherwise."
Now a report by the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) details the trends since the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United case of at least 13 states raising limits on campaign contributions. Contrary to some expectations, this is leading to MORE competitive races, GREATER accountability and LESS corruption, particularly as measured by criminal convictions.
Under individual campaign contribution limits, a challenger either has to be independently wealthy or has to have a broad-based donor network in place. The option of getting the backing of a few wealthy individuals is closed to the less affluent and/or less established and connected candidate, regardless of his or her other qualifications for the office. This has not leveled the playing field. Time to reconsider.

Read the complete article at The Wall Street Journal.