Thursday, February 21, 2008

Senate wastes no time voting to repeal campaign contribution limits

The Missouri Senate wasted no time approving Rep. Charlie Shields' bill to repeal campaign conribution limits.
As Jason Rosenbaum points out on the Columbia Tribune Politics Blog, the bill was approved by voice vote, and all amendments were shot down, except one by Sen. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, which would put the bill into effect immediately, allowing all candidates the opportunity to grab all of the cash they can get as quickly as they can grab it:

Senate Majority Leader Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph, proposed a bill that would repeal limits on campaign contributions given directly to candidates. The bill would also require campaigns accepting donations of $5,000 or more to list the contribution online within 48 hours.

Democrats offered up a slew of amendments that — among other things — disallowed campaigns from taking funds from gubernatorial appointees, squelched the ability to create multiple political action committees and implemented a voluntary public financing system. All of those amendments were rejected.

The only amendment that was approved was one proposed by Sen. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, that prompted the components of the legislation to go into effect immediately. The bill was slated to go into effect on August 28 — several weeks after the primary season ended.

One of the commenters to Rosenbaum's post saw this bill as a positive, noting that it would prevent people like billionaire voucher supporter Rex Sinquefield from forming all kinds of committees to funnel cash to favored candidates.
This supposedly restores openness to political campaign contributions. It actually does nothing of the sort. Missourians have made it clear they want contribution limits. Our politicians should have been working to eliminate all of the loopholes instead of just making it easier for special interests to buy elections and candidates.

1 comment:

Jeremy D. Young said...

Unfortunately, the only thing campaign finance laws do is prevent honest people from contributing as they feel appropriate. It's the same problem as Gun Control, if you make Guns illegal, then only the criminals have guns. If you put limits on campaign contributions, then only the special interests are persistent enough to filter their money into the campaigns. The only people that would have enough drive to get massive amounts of money into a campaign would be those that stand to profit from the transaction. People that truly believe in what a candidate stands for will be limited, and if they're honest, they won't contribute any more.

The bottom line is that Criminalization of something doesn't stop the criminals from doing it, it just makes them do it secretly.