Money Out of Politics

By Beverly Bean

Thank you for the excellent article on the California Clean Money Campaign in the Nov. 3 issue. Now that the special election is over, what lessons have we learned? At a cost of $55 million to the taxpayers of California, Arnold learned that the majority are still Democrats. The public learned (once again) that the special interests will spend obscene amounts of money to forward their political agendas. The broadcast media continue to profit from this corrupt and distorted system as they raise the cost of ads to exploit the pre-election frenzy.

One part of the solution is free air time for candidates to address the issues (use the public’s airwaves to serve the public interest). This would help to control the cost of political campaigns. Clean money laws are already successful in Maine and Arizona where all statewide candidates have the option to run “cleanâ€â€"they promise to take no money from special interests. Public funding is provided to match the expenditures of their “dirty†opponents. This levels the playing field for new faces and new ideas and frees politicians to concentrate on the needs and desires of their constituents instead of the special interest paymasters.

The cost of public campaign funding can be recouped many times over by legislators willing to act in the public interest by closing loopholes favored by special interests.

If the California Legislature is smart enough to pass AB 583 and send it to Arnold, it will be interesting to see whether he will sign the legislation, which fulfills his campaign promise to eliminate the influence of special interests in Sacramento.

See the article on Monterey County Weekly website

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