Tags: finance reform | election | president

Election Time Perfect for Smart Campaign Finance Reform

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Thursday, 11 Feb 2016 08:54 AM Current | Bio | Archive

In light of the January 2010 landmark Supreme Court decision Citizens United v Federal Election Commission and the rise of super PACs on both sides of the aisle and the dangerous effects it has on parties, candidates and election outcomes, it is time for serious, meaningful, lasting, and reasonable campaign finance reform.

Citizens United (a conservative 501 (c)(4) not-for-profit corporation engaged in issue advocacy and education), filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission charging that 2004 pre-election ads for left-wing film producer Michael Moore’s movie “Fahrenheit 9/11” (a political film that attacks candidate Bush’s response to the attacks on 9/11), constituted political advertising and thus under then current law may not be aired 60 days before and election or 30 days before a party convention. On Aug. 5, 2004, the FEC dismissed the complaint.

Thereafter, during the 2008 campaign cycle, Citizens United determined that “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” and decided to run TV commercials promoting it’s film entitled, “Hillary: The Movie” which sought to “educate” the American people as to the record of then Sen. Hillary Clinton, a presidential candidate.

Thereafter, Citizens United was cited by the FEC for violating provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 also known as McCain-Feingold Act, which restricted “electioneering communications” 30 days before a primary election.

The result of the FEC action prevented Citizens United from running their Hillary ads. As a result, Citizens United brought an action in court for an injunction against the FEC ruling and to permit it to run their ads.

The Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision held in favor of Citizens United and found that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts during election cycles cannot be limited under the First Amendment.

The Citizens United case did not affect the continuing federal ban on direct contributions from corporations or unions to candidate campaigns or political parties.

The effect of the Supreme Court decision is that although U.S. corporations and unions cannot contribute directly to campaigns or candidates they can expend whatever funds they want to engage in “issue advocacy and education” at anytime during or between election cycles.

Thanks to Citizens United — money from the few and powerful threatens the voice and participation of the many and the results of elections.

Here's how to level the political playing field.
  • Citizens can only contribute to a congressional candidate in the District of their domicile.
  • A corporation or union with a nexus to a congressional candidate can make a monetary contribution to a candidate. The “nexus” must be a test of contacts with the district to be determined by Congress.
  • Congress shall determine amounts of contribution by individuals, unions, and corporations.
  • National, state and local parties shall have caps set on their contributions to House candidates, directly or indirectly to be determined by Congress.
  • Corporations and unions must disclose to shareholders/members and the FEC the amount of monies expended for “electioneering” communications and where such monies were expended prior to or contemporaneous with the communications being made. They must also disclose the content of the communication.
  • Corporations, (not for profit or otherwise) and unions must advertise in their own names and must disclose within the advertising their name and nexus to the District in which the ad appears.
  • Citizens can only contribute to a U.S. Senate candidate in the state of their domicile.
  • A corporation or union with a nexus to a state can make a monetary contribution to a U.S. Senate candidate.
  • Congress shall determine amounts of contribution by individuals, unions and corporations.
  • National, state and local parties shall have caps set on their contributions to U.S. Senate candidates, directly or indirectly to be determined by Congress.
  • Corporations and unions must disclose to shareholders/members and the FEC the amount of monies expended for “electioneering” communications and where such monies were expended prior to or contemporaneous with the communications being made. They must also disclose the content of the communication.
  • Corporations, (not for profit or otherwise) and unions must advertise in their own names and must disclose within the advertising their name and nexus to the State in which the ad appears.
  • Citizens can contribute to presidential primaries and general elections in amounts determined by Congress however such donations could only be utilized by campaigns in the State of their domicile.
  • A corporation, (not for profit or otherwise), or union can make a monetary contribution to a presidential candidate’s primary and/or general election. Such donations can only be utilized by campaigns in the state of their nexus. For instance, if General Motors has a plant in Michigan it can donate in an amount to be determined by Congress and can only be utilized in the state of Michigan.
  • Congress shall determine amounts of contribution by individuals, unions and corporations.
Personal wealth: A candidate for the House, Senate or president can expend whatever personal wealth they wish to contribute without limit however, once a candidate passes the threshold of contribution in an amount decided by Congress, the U.S. government will match that contribution to the opponent.

The elimination of outside influence would reduce the vast amounts of money candidates and parties would need to raise and would give more of a voice to those who have the greatest stake in the outcome of an election, the voters, corporations, unions and interest groups within that district or state.

Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of politics and public policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.
 

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BradleyBlakeman
Thanks to Citizens United — money from the few and powerful threatens the voice and participation of the many and the results of elections.
finance reform, election, president
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2016-54-11
Thursday, 11 Feb 2016 08:54 AM
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