DownsizeDC.org
August 24, 2010
Reform: Repeal All the Campaign Finance Laws
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day: "It would be a healthy exercise for every politician to look in the mirror every morning and remind himself that he holds office only because, in a two-man race against another mediocrity, a modest majority of those half-informed people who imagined that their votes mattered reckoned that he was the lesser evil. And they weren't too sure about that." -- Joseph Sobran

If you want elections to matter, then you need to be able to fire your elected representatives. This is nearly impossible because of the campaign finance laws. These laws are really incumbent protection laws. They make it almost impossible for challengers to raise competitive funding, while doing almost nothing to control the true causes of government corruption.

Downsize DC has led the way in using the courts to challenge the campaign finance laws. Much  progress has been made on this front. But there's still a long way to go. We believe we must open new fronts. We must . . .

* Persuade our fellow citizens that these laws are fraudulent
* Tell Congress that we know these laws are fraudulent
* Demand that Congress repeal them

We have launched a new campaign for this purpose. Please send a letter to Congress asking that the campaign finance laws be repealed.

Please also ask your friends to do the same.

You can copy or borrow from my sample letter . . .

We were told that the campaign finance laws -- the contribution limits and the reporting requirements -- would curtail or even prevent corruption. Now, with 40 years of experience, we know that they do the exact opposite.

Powerful special interests have more control than ever. While it may be true that campaign contributions "buy" some small amount of access, or influence, it's very clear that other factors are far more important.

You politicians say yes to special interests because you want to. It makes you feel powerful. You would be of little importance if you constantly said no. Controlling campaign contributions has NO impact on this problem. You would continue to serve special interests even if voluntary campaign contributions were completely prohibited, and all campaigns became tax-funded.

We also know that many politicians retire to lucrative positions working as lobbyists and serving on corporate boards. The politicians who best serve special interests will get the best of these jobs. The campaign finance laws have no impact on this.

Instead, the campaign finance laws actually foster corruption by protecting incumbent office holders in their positions of power. Please know that increasing numbers of Americans are realizing that the campaign finance laws are really incumbent protection laws.

When contributions are limited, one must raise more of them. That seems obvious, right? Incumbents solve this problem through access. Special interests line up to provide clusters of checks for the officeholder to keep his door open. But the challenger, with no real power, is left with a task equivalent to filling a swimming pool with a teaspoon. Who lines up to support the challenger?

When contributions are publicly reported, checks to incumbents are risk-free. But supporting a challenger might close the officeholder's door, or worse, put a group or industry on the schedule for political retribution.

Thus, challengers are almost always underfunded (unless they are rich). This "underfundedness" creates the following perverse outcome . . .

Congress is hated, but the members of Congress are constantly re-elected.

If something like this were to happen in the private sector you politicians would point to it as a supposed market failure, and you would rush to pass laws about it. But because this is a failure of The State that benefits YOU, the campaign finance laws are strengthened rather than repealed. But surely you must realize . . .

At some point this fraud will become so obvious to so many people that you will lose the consent of the governed, if you have not lost it already.

I want you to honor your Constitutional oath of office. The First Amendment says that Congress shall make NO law curtailing the freedoms of speech, press, and assembly. The campaign finance laws do all three. Please introduce legislation to repeal all of the campaign finance laws.

END LETTER

You can send your letter to Congress using DownsizeDC.org's Educate the Powerful System.

Please share this message with anyone you know who supports the First Amendment, and who opposes incumbent protection laws.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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