Practical Campaign Finance Suggestion

Hello all, I had a thought that seemed deceptively simple to help increase transparency in campaign financing. The rule is, if you contribute more than some number, say $50k, to a candidate _or_ PAC, in one calendar year, those donations must be published. The government could support the cost to host the servers. If one were to try to buy an election (I'm looking your way Soros!) you at least have to face the public doing so. Current campaign finance focuses on candidates responsibilities, allowing heavy donors & lobbyists to share none of the political backlash from unpopular issues. I feel that the donors as well share part of the responsibility for the corruption that we all believe exists. Money can buy an election win through better advertising, branding, articles, blogging, trolling, ground game, get out the vote, etc. This is much more true at the local level. The current system shields donors from any kind of accountability, and in fact they can basically remain anonymous if they want to. No matter what your fringe agenda might be, you'll find a politician who'll work it into their campaign for the right $$$$. Pretend I'm George Soros and want to ensure that all the county's elementary schools no longer get Christmas day off, and additionally show Zeitgeist the movie on that day. Up and comer Joe Politician may not be a fan, however, that million dollar contribution will not show up again. If things sour with the public over this, Joe Politician may be in trouble for a time, but his only friend after that political catastrophe is good old George, who can sneeze out a few $100K to feed his family until next cycle. If that huge contribution were transparently pinned on the contributor, well then perhaps it may be more difficult for unpopular movements to be fabricated by those that have cash to burn. A rule like this would appeal to the majority of people, frustrated that someone of the top 10% income has the lobbying power of probably 100-1000 average-paid people. If politicians' decisions may be influenced by a large donor, the government has a duty to expose both parties. Politicians' voting records look a bit differently when these other facts are clear. If a politician, acting under influence of a donor makes an unpopular move, the donor can be 'punished' by the public, by boycotting their companies' products or exposing malice in the companies actions.

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  • Gi Jack
    commented 2016-11-28 12:50:01 -0500
    This is already the law now, and personal contributions are capped at far lower than $50k(2500 if memory serves). All political donations over $100 are required to be reported.

    The problem is Super PACs, and other things which squeek by under “Not directly related to a candidate”. We then have an entire industry around political propaganda and misinformation which since is not tied to a specific candidate, is unregulated. This is possible because it comes from the whacky unethical world of advertising and marketing which again, largely unregulated.

    A better solution is smart regulation of paid trolling, and paid advertising. It should be the law that all paid content has to be marked as such, and political activists need to disclose their affiliations and if they are paid to make statements or not.

    Large websites, lets say 10k or more public users need to disclose who, if anyone, funds management to their users. Large social media sites should also be forced to keep logs of and disclose moderation.
  • Tom Powers
    commented 2016-11-11 05:58:48 -0500
    I suppose another way of executing it would be forcing the PACs to report large donors as well as political candidates do now. Then traceability could be established. (My post above could benefit from some paragraph formatting, sorry, it was typed on a phone.)
  • Tom Powers
    posted about this on Facebook 2016-11-10 22:56:28 -0500
    Whig Forums: Practical Campaign Finance Suggestion
  • Tom Powers
    published this page in Whig Forums 2016-11-10 22:56:09 -0500