Monday, December 04, 2006

It's About Ethic & Public Campaign Financing

The Daytona Beach News has some very good ideas for ethics reforms.

Finally, Congress needs better enforcement of its own rules. Some have suggested that ethics matters involving members of Congress should be referred to an independent, non-partisan commission, which would also have the authority to investigate claims.

That's a great idea. We saw how Tom Delay and Dennis Hastert killed the Ethics Committee. Bloggers on the left and right should put pressure on Congress to enact this. The details need to be worked out, but there should be an open discussion about an independent ethics commission.

An idea in the op-ed I don't like is public-financed campaigns. It seems odd that citizens should pay for a candidate to campaign for a $200 thousand-a year job. I also don't believe the taxpayers will warm to the idea. Russ Feingold love the concept. I just can't see taxpayers supporting paying $200 million for a presidential campaign.

The whole idea behind public-financing is that it will keep lobbyists out of politics. That's what people said about the McCain-Feingold law. Bush and Kerry set records for fundraising in 2004. It comes down to people making informed choices in the voting booths. The grassroots fundraising on the lefty blogs has gotten more people engaged. That's a good thing. Ideas such as term limits, appointing judges, and the latest campaign fundraising meme is saying people are stupid and should have others make decisions for them. The current system isn't perfect. But it's preferable to the alternative.

Update: Craig Dunklerley responds to my post.


Public financing of campaigns is actually a great idea
which has already proven itself. It's been working
really well in Arizona and Maine for almost a decade.

Unlike McCain-Feingold (which I agree failed
miserably), public financing doesn't try to control or
restrict the flow of private money. Instead it sets up
an alternative so that candidates have a way of
running for office without having to take special
interest money from private groups. That way when they
get elected they don't owe any favors to anyone
...except the voters.

In states that already have it, Republicans love it,
Democrats love it, and voters love it. The only ones
who don't love it are all the special interest groups
who can no longer buy influence with their big
campaign contributions.

For more info on how this works see or

This is a truly non-partisan, good government reform
that can make our elected officials more responsive to
voters instead of big donors. Please check it out.

I'm not sold, but I thought I provide a counterpoint to my post.


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