'Voter-owned elections' reform is a sham

The way Democrats in the General Assembly attempted to expand public financing of campaigns to all Council of State races was a clear example of the very corruption of power the scheme was supposed to end. The measure was created behind closed doors, without any public hearings and introduced on the floor without notice at the last minute.

Only the quick reaction by hundreds of voters and taxpayers, mobilized by Americans for Prosperity, thwarted this latest attack on civil rights.

Public financing of campaigns, misleadingly called “voter-owned elections” by supporters, is a sham. It should more accurately be called “welfare for politicians.” Under the smokescreen of reform, the plan would restrict the right of voters to support candidates of their choice, while forcing them to help pay for the campaigns of candidates they may oppose.

Compelling anyone to pay for something they oppose is not merely dishonest and immoral, it’s also a greater corruption of our political system than any donations or influence from lobbyists and special interests.

This particular version of the mock reform takes that dishonesty and corruption to a new low. It would have been funded by extorting money, under the guise of fees, from the very businesses and industries the Council of State members are supposed to regulate.

In an editorial supporting the measure, the News and Observer said “No candidate would be forced to go the public funding route.” The editors didn’t seem to mind that the people would be forced to support candidates who decide to eat at the public trough. It’s curious that a newspaper would support this infringement on First Amendment rights. Maybe it’s because such bills only limit individual rights and do not apply to media corporations.

Restricting the right of people to give to the candidate of their choice is restricting their free speech. Donating to a political campaign or candidate is no different than making telephone calls, knocking on doors or stuffing envelopes. Some people can give their time and talent, but for many people, perhaps most, the only way they can support both their families and the candidates they favor is with what little treasure they can spare.

Supporters of public campaign financing claim it’s needed to save elected officials from the demands of raising money for election and the pressure exerted by special interests groups.

“Between the constant fundraising demands on politicians and the scores of high-paid lobbyists looking to shape public policy, we have created a system where the issues of the people take a backseat to the few who have the resources to push their agenda,” said Damon Circosta, executive director of the N.C. Center for Voter Education, in an op ed published in the News and Observer.

Libertarians have no such sympathy for politicians. We hold them to a higher standard. If people who offer themselves for public service don’t have the courage, integrity and intestinal fortitude to resist these demands and pressures and to stand up for their own beliefs and for what is right, they shouldn’t run for office in the first place.

The root of corruption in government stems not from lobbyist or special interest money but from taxpayer money. Corruption is only perpetuated by weak-willed elected officials who fail to keep their oath of office and then make excuses for their failure.

To end corruption in government, we must remove the ability to corrupt or be corrupted. As long as government isn't limited in what it can spend your money on there will always be people who will find a way to get the politicians to spend it on them.

Comments

Little treasure they can spare

I guess that 'splains Art Pope's multimillion dollar investments in remaking North Carolina politics after his own image. Poor guy, pinching his pennies must be really hard work.

Hello, hypocrisy. I've missed you so.

Compelling anyone to pay for something they oppose is not merely dishonest and immoral, it’s also a greater corruption of our political system than any donations or influence from lobbyists and special interests.

Where's my refund for my opposition to the Iraq war?

Also, where's your call to repeal the voter-owned elections already in effect in NC?

Seems like a pretty hypocritical argument not to even mention those.

Like I said...your hypocrisy doesn't surprise me.

 

VOE is the hypocrisy

For the record, Libertarians would repeal all "voter-owned" elections laws. We also oppose the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan, and the income tax that funds them.

Brian Irving
Raleigh Libertarian Examiner

Libertarians have no sympathy, period.

I'm guessing you thought Acorn was a terrible corrupt organization too.

I don't know where to start...

The root of corruption in government stems not from lobbyist or special interest money but from taxpayer money.

In the words of comedian Lewis Black, statements like that just take my breath away.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

I agree with this...

If people who offer themselves for public service don’t have the courage, integrity and intestinal fortitude to resist these demands and pressures and to stand up for their own beliefs and for what is right, they shouldn’t run for office in the first place.

but, how many of these exist? I can count 'em, maybe, on less than both hands.

Stan Bozarth

Stan, Stan

That is a very bad argument against the VOE proposal.

I am an advocate of VOE and believe that if done right it will be just so much better than the funding system for elections we have now. But we can't say that we should accept corruption and illegal activity by candidates because it "has happened in the past" or "that is what we expect". That is what I see you saying. If I am wrong about what you have said here then I am sorry.

Of course I am for public financing of abortions in many circumstances so I guess I am on one side when others stand on another side.

I wasn't arguing against VOE.

Just making a statement that there are very few politicians with the characteristics mentioned.

I think our election cycles are toooooo long. I think all but President should be no more than about 6 months and the Presidential should be no more than one year. This would substantially reduce the costs AND the BS. Folks who are paying attention would learn what they need to know to vote and the rest, who are apathetic or too busy drinking beer, etc., wouldn't learn anything anyway...no matter the length.

I also believe in term limits. Our current crop of feckless pieces of garbage stay because of the money,perks and generous retirement. I say no more than 2 terms for a Senator and 5 terms for a Congress-person. As it is now, few of them have any idea what the "real world" is about. ( I still remember George H.W. Bush and his lovely Dracula, er Barbara..going to a grocery store and being amazed at bar code scanners. Where had they been for 10 years? ) Oh, I forgot...the maid probably did their shopping.

Anyway...Mr/Ms Liberty makes a few good points. I personally am damn tired of our tax code and being forced to pay for the salaries and health care of politicians who don't give a big Rat's A about you or me....and who generally can't find their own behind with both hands. If I could at least designate party, I'd feel better about VOE...which I generally support...grudgingly.

(Please note...there are some good politicians. Alan Grayson..Brad Miller...and several other of our Democratic NC Congressmen among them)

Stan Bozarth

The real shams...

... the notion that corporations should have the same free-speech rights as individuals.

... the notion that campaign contributions from "advocacy groups" do not influence the votes of elected officials.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Bullshit

That is all I can say

Thank you for the very

Thank you for the very eloquent comment. I am sure Roosevelt and Kennedy would be proud.

Brian Irving
Raleigh Libertarian Examiner