Money and political corruption

The League of Women Voters and the group Represent.us (which will address the 6:30 p.m., Jan. 15, meeting of Northern IL Tea Party in Rockton) are hell bent to remove corruption from the political process. The simple (or simplistic) equation is this: More Money = More Corruption. Since 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court has resisted this logic. There’s this thing called the First Amendment to the Constitution. Money, as in contributions to candidate campaigns, to PACs and to C4 lobbying groups, is speech.

The court’s first major campaign-finance decision, Buckley v. Valeo (1976) states: “the concept that government may restrict the speech of some elements of our society in order to enhance the relative voice of others is wholly foreign to the First Amendment.” [1]

Represent.us has succeeded in getting a non-binding resolution on the April 7 ballot in Winnebago and DeKalb counties. Kudos for their determination! Paul Gorski’s Dec. 31 “Meet John Doe” column gives the language of the resolution. [2]

While I join those concerned about “buying elections,” I see the wisdom in the concept of Paul Sherman, of the Institute for Justice (New York Times op-ed, Oct. 13, 2014): “If we genuinely want to reduce opportunities for corruption and restore public trust in government, it’s time to consider an anti-corruption measure that the Founders would have favored: reducing the size and scope of government by enforcing constitutional limits on government power.” [3] The Convention of the States advocated by talk radio host and constitutional attorney Mark Levin would go a long way toward right-sizing government.

Jane Ryan Carrell
Roscoe, Illinois
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1. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/04/legalized-corruption-and-the-twilight-of-campaign-finance-law/360051/

2. http://rockrivertimes.com/2014/12/31/meet-john-doe-local-residents-to-vote-on-anti-corruption-question-this-april/

3. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/10/13/campaign-finance-40-years-later-23/to-deal-with-corruption-in-campaign-finance-reduce-the-size-of-government

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