The microscope needed to see the difference between the wildly inadequate reform packages proposed by the two halves of the single party of incumbency in congress is utterly shocking even if it is predictable.
Under at least one tweedle dee version of the proposed rules to reform lobbyists, you can give a trip on your client’s corporate jet or a meal or a party of absolutely unlimited size as long as it is accompanied by a check and is called a “fundraiser”. Whoo hoo that is effective reform
These are cynical window dressing on the round portholes of a Congressional Titanic of corruption. Abramoff was dumb, venal and just
showed the stupid illegal tip of what is a perfectly legal iceberg of corrupting cash that is well under the waterline of legality.
Contributions to this Congress have gotten laws written that have a bang for the buck of $600 in benefits to $1 of contributions from a company, an industry, or even a super rich family. Any one of which would be a damn fool not to legally
invest in this Congress.
Congressional earmarks have ballooned under the Republican Congress from a few hundred per session to 15,000. These earmarks wildly subvert the democratic process when they are added in the dead of night to budget bills since these bills can not be filibustered and the only option is
often an up or down vote. Tom Oliphant speaks of a three legged stool of our present Congressional corruption. These legs I’ll paraphrase as, earmarks for your contributing company’s projects, tiny amendments to tax laws written in Swahili that benefit a group that coincidentally includes your contributor, and deregulation on demand that reaches all
across the board from worker safety to labor protections to environmental protections.
600 to 1 if my math is correct is an effectiveness of 59,900%. Not a bad return on a small investment in subverting good government. Public financing of campaigns is a minimum first step in light of the Abramoff scandal, but it is not even on the table. Arizona, Maine and Connecticut have implemented slightly different forms of this idea. The Connecticut example was implemented in direct response to a broad and colorful history of scandal that brought the realization that the whole damn system was wildly corrupt.
Personally, I think going to publicly financed elections with contributions limited to $5 per human person and full public financing after a certain threshold of contributions is reached is an absolute no brainier.
In Oregon no limit on campaign finance at all is presently ruled legal or constitutional. Two highly worthwhile ballot initiatives are in the
Petition Stage and are numbered 8 and 37 see link below. The first makes it possible under the state constitution to limit campaign contributions and the second sets some limits on campaign finance cash. I wish 37 went farther, but…
For more information on Corporate Corruption in Oregon and Ballot initiatives Petition 8 and Petition 37
Visit Fair Elections Oregon