Why we can't rely on the media:

For those of you who think we spend all day ferreting through campaign finance reports trying to nail wrongdoers -- we don't (although you are certainly welcome to). We're trying to educate people on the wholesale abuses of money and power now considered to be business as usual in our electoral system and change that system. We're not trying to stop legitimate campaign donations or make candidates afraid to approach their friends for contributions. But it can be incredibly frustrating trying to get a message out in these short attention span times, especially when the short attention spans *start* with media reporters. From Democracy NC's Link of the Day, written by our Exec Director Bob Hall.

A reporter from the Associated Press called yesterday for a comment about the discovery that Secretary of State Elaine Marshall had raised $2,500 from five registered NC lobbyists in her bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

Marshall regulates some aspects of lobbying, and lobbyists are not permitted to donate to any incumbent candidate for state office, but that restriction doesn’t apply to candidates for federal office. The reporter asked if I thought Marshall should be criticized for taking the donations. I laughed. It was another simple-minded, “gotcha story” the media is thrilled to latch on; meanwhile, the larger abuses of actual self-interested money by the tons polluting politics are apparently too difficult for reporters and editors to track down. I asked the AP reporter a couple questions: the money is part of the $440,000 she’s raised so far and it’s from lobbyists who have known her for decades, before she was Secretary of State; the lobbyists are not under investigation, nor is there any quid pro quo suspected. I said she might return or refuse such donations as part of making an issue of how we need a better campaign finance system, but I didn’t think these particular donations were worth criticizing.

The reporter didn’t like my answer, so he went to another good government spokesperson and got the quote he wanted for his story. It’s another example of our media’s warped sense of “educating” the public about politics and government.

Comments

Warped is right

The "reporter" doesn't even have the nerve to sign her/his own name to that hit piece. What does it make a journalist who ignores the information you gave and goes out looking for someone else to endorse the piece of $hit he wants to publish? (rhetorical question)

I think we should all go register as lobbyists today

...to call into question all of our political contributions.

Then declare ourselves as lawyers/doctors/pharmacists/entreprenuers/teachers/consultants/etc so nobody can have a say on anything that goes on anywhere for the fear of the appearance of impropriety.

This stuff is just ridiculous.

 

AP

There's plenty of crappy reporting in North Carolina these days, but the AP usually tops my personal shit list. This is typical. I hope you'll write a letter to the editor about this.

Also, this smells like something fed to the media by campaign opposition research. I'm not aware of anyone at the Associated Press with the drive or insight to actually dig this sort of thing up on their own.

Lobbyists should not be able to contribute

to any campaign. Unions and businesses also should not be able to contribute to campaigns. Campaigns should be financed by individual voters only.

This will not change but it should.

...and another thing..

Campaigns should be financed by individual voters only.....

...with contributions allowed only to candidates for which those individual voters are legally entitled to vote.

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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

If we're going that far

Why not just allow property owners to vote for those offices that set property tax rates?

I know it may diminish my "progressive" cred in some circles, but I think timely and widely available disclosure requirements are more important than donation restrictions.