Money in Politics

I’ve long felt the attempts to control how much money enters politics in this nation were rather futile. In that regard the Citizens United case was unsurprising. Disappointing, mind you, but unsurprising nonetheless.

As a result of my belief, what I’ve argued instead is that we should concentrate on transparency. As politics affects us all, all money which is involved in selecting our government leadership should be accountable. The big cloud on that, of course, is the various aggregators. “My Country First” [made up PAC name I’ll be using as example] has to report to which party or player it gives money. However, it’s allowed to keep secret where that money comes from.

I would recommend, if I could, a small legal change. Any aggregator contributing to the political arena must list its donors. Any donor who gives the aggregator a consolidated sum that’s over a certain threshhold must also be identified with that sum reported. And any money coming from another aggregator must be identified regardless of threshhold.

For the threshhold itself, I’d suggest using the FEC’s maximum individual contribution to a candidate, presently $2400.

One of the major concerns I have about the system right now is that issue of transparency. Because of Citizens United the amount of money My Country First can spend indirectly is almost unlimited. Because of the lack of transparency, My Country First can be wholly funded by, well, anyone. Anyone like Al Qaeda, OPEC, the Catholic Church, China’s government, etc., etc.

It is illegal and wrong to allow foreign money to influence our elections. Yet because of this particular gap it is extremely difficult to tell if or when it is happening.

Making the sources transparent would give us more protection from foreign interference. It would also allow us to see who is buying which politician, an unfortunately necessary bit of information in selecting where our own votes will go.

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