Friday, March 6, 2009

SCUMDOG MILLIONAIRES

SCUMDOG MILLIONAIRES: One of the most absurd contentions in the current legislative debate over corporate funding of campaigns is the bromide that claims that limits are unnecessary as long as there’s full disclosure.

But just who is it that is paying the necessary attention to those disclosures?

Please raise your hand if you’ve ever gone to the web site where the contributions are detailed? OK, we just eliminated 99.99% of the people arguing for disclosure.

And how many have ever tried to read through them, make sense of them and write any kind of researched compilation on even one aspect?

We just eliminated 99% of the .01%.

Oh, you say you’ve read an article where someone reported on it? And how comprehensive was that report? Sure you’ll read or hear about something occasionally when a reporter suspects a connection and then spends hours if not days pawing through the reports, tracing money all over the place.... unless of course they came up empty on their hunch

Disclosure is nothing- nada- bupkis- zilch. At best they are not just in practice useless they give a false sense of adequacy and even compliance.

And when someone does get “caught” by a campaign spending enforcement body it’s usually month if not years after the election and then usually only if a complaint was filed

If Senator Deepockets is shown to be taking big-ol’ sacks o’ cash from say the real estate or tourism industry, who is going to know unless some intrepid journalist is up to the time consuming task- or even cares- or has an editor who will let them spend the time telling them they’re “not being paid do that kind of work”?.

And that just goes for direct corporate money. When 10 corporate executives add their maximum per election cycle who’s going to know who they work for? Are you going to google every single name on the list? And if you do will you find them when their name is John Smith?

That’s of course yet another reason why there’s a need to get all private donations out of campaigns and move to a public finance system.

Remember this as you read the excuses in the upcoming debate and vote on HB 215 in the house. For more keep checking in with Larry Geller at Disappeared News who has been focusing on the process recently.

1 comment:

line of flight said...

What I've mentioned to Larry and will mention here is that the current law and the proposed law are not limits, they are loopholes. It costs about $100 to incorporate and become a separate legal entity. So, whether its $50,000 on on entity or $1,000 on 50 entities, it's the same thing.

The law should pierce the corporate veil and require that corporations who donate (whether there is a limit or not), must also disclose the names of the shareholders and the percentage of ownership. That way, we'll know where the end of the corporate rabbit hole is. If the limit is $50,000 for example and 10 corporations that are wholly owned by John Bigbucks makes $2,000 donations to Rep So-and-So - that $20,000 that Bigbucks has donated to one candidate, through the deployment of the corporate form, frustrating the limit of $2,000 per rep. candidate per cycle.

Without this piece of information on shareholders and their relative ownership, it is impossible to properly or adequately assess the amount of disproportionate influence individuals really have over the electoral process through the means of money.

I doubt, though, that such a proposal will ever be considered or adopted.