Our elected officials should be affiliated with and controlled by the voters of that district they represent, their constituency, rather than affiliated with interests outside of their districts. But is this actually the case?
According to the Federal Election Commission Data Base, of all individual contributions in the last 42 years, 43% of the contributions in races for Senate were donated by 43% of donors from outside the State. In 19 states candidates for the Senate received greater than 50% of their funded contributions from outside their constituency.
In races for the House of Representatives, 37% of the campaign donations by 36% of the donors have originated from outside the state represented by the congressional district. 55 of the districts recorded contributions of 50% or greater from outside the state with 186 receiving 34% of their funding from outside the state.
Using one congressional district as an example for a more in-depth analysis of the FEC data reveals even more distressing data.
In the 10th Virginia congressional district over the last 42 years $33,364,585 was contributed by 53,895 donors. Of that $12,894,324, or 38.6%, was contributed by 19,183, or 35.6%, donors from outside the State of Virginia. Of the contributions from within the State of Virginia, only $13,376,332 was contributed by 21,814 donors from zip codes associated with the 10th district. This reflects that overall, 59.9% of the funds contributed were donated by 59.6% of the donors from outside the zip codes associated with the 10th district.
How many other of the 186 congressional districts will yield similar results as we drill down further in the Federal Election Commission Data base? For perspective 186 represent 43% of the members of the House of Representatives.
What is the significance of these revelations?
In Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976) the majority opinion stated: “Making a contribution, like joining a political party, serves to affiliate a person with a candidate.”
17 CFR 230.405 defines Affiliate: An affiliate of, or person affiliated with, a specified person, is a person that directly, or indirectly through one or more intermediaries, controls or is controlled by, or is under common control with, the person specified.
U.S. Legal reflects in their Affiliates Law and Legal Definition section: “Affiliates are business concerns, organizations, or individuals that control each other or that are controlled by a third party.”
In Reynolds v. Sims, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote “Legislators represent people, not trees or acres. Legislators are elected by voters, not farms or cities or economic interests. As long as ours is a representative form of government, and our legislatures are those instruments of government elected directly by and directly representative of the people, the right to elect legislators in a free and unimpaired fashion is a bedrock of our political system.”
The constitution guarantees “The right to citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged” in the XV, XIX, XXVI and XXIV amendments. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines Abridge as “to reduce in scope: diminish”
These numbers reflect that almost 60% of the affiliation or control of the 10th congressional district representatives in the State of Virginia over the last 42 years have been affiliated with, or controlled by, interests outside the electorate of their district. Shouldn’t they be representing their voters; but how can this be with only a 40% affiliation with their constituents?
Does this abridge or “reduce in scope” the vote of the constituents of the 10th congressional district for representation in Congressional legislation when well over 50% of the controlling interests for this affiliation of this representation originates outside the voting constituency violating the constitutional guarantee that votes "shall not be denied or abridged."
Should affiliation and control of these candidates, supposedly representing their electorate when they become the “instruments of government, elected directly by and directly representative of the people” be ceded or “reduced in scope” to affiliation and control of donors outside of their constituency?
Is it a violation of the constitution that over 50% of the affiliation and control of some representatives in the Congress is from donors outside of their electorate abridging or “reducing in scope” voters right to elect legislators as instruments of government that are elected by the vote of the people to become “[direct] representative of the people,” the constituency, of that district in the legislative process?
Should the courts bar candidates for political office from receiving contributions for their political campaign from any entity that is not part of their constituency or eligible to vote for them, banning legislators from representing affiliated or controlling interests that are not part of their voting or represented electorate?
John M. DeMaggio retired after 30 years of service as a Captain from the U.S. Naval Reserve Intelligence Program. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Forensic Science from John Jay College and a Master’s of Science from Whiting School of Engineering, Johns Hopkins University. Privately consulting in counterterrorism, forensic science, and investigations, he also conducts international counterterrorism training, having retired as a Special Agent in Charge and serving as Co-chairman, Investigative Support and Forensic Subgroup, TSWG, developing interagency counterterrorism technology. He is also an op-ed contributor for The Hill. He previously published “Mitigation of Terrorist Effects on Victims’ Motivation” in U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Center Colloquium. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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