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The U.S. House of Representatives voted this week to do away with one of the most effective deterrents to campaign finance corruption our nation has relied on since the Watergate scandal of the 1970s.
The legislation (HR 3463), proposed by Representative Gregg Harper (R MS), will repeal the presidential public financing system and terminate the Election Assistance Commission, a federal agency set up following the failed 2000 Presidential election to improve how we run our elections.
If we look at the scary developments in the 2012 elections so far, it is not hard find the dominance of special interest money in the form of bundlers, Super PACs and the like. Shouldn’t we be trying to repair the public financing system to keep our candidates from being indebted to deep-pocketed spenders right out of the gate? Also, unfortunately, elections in our country are still not well-administered, and we are concerned that many states and localities are not doing a good job ensuring federally-protected voting rights.
Let us not go back to the 2000 election but go forward, improving each election over the last. We know what needs to be done; now let us devote the resources to what should be done. The legislation is based on an ideological belief that there is no campaign finance corruption and that elections systems are just fine, thank you very much. In other words, this is a bill based in the sponsor’s imagination and not reality.