Practical Campaign Finance Reform

We are now in the heart campaign fund raising season.  The score so far, Bush in the lead with $203 Million and Kerry with $110 Million…  This is true even though campaign finance reform has attempted to reduce the role that fund raising has in elections.  But, as a society we need to come to the sobering reality that it will not and cannot.  It is a pretty basic fact that communicating to the entire US takes a lot of money, so any candidate has to raise large sums of money to be competitive.  There is a travesty in this process, for all the money raised there is also a lack of real communication from the candidates.

Think about all the ads you see or hear.  Do the candidates tell you what they would really do in office?  Talk about difficult issues in depth?  Not really.  They tend to explain how the other candidate is untrustworthy, a big spender, or some other vague attack.  And worse yet, do they engage any other ideas from “3rd parties”, or do they avoid them?  It is very sad when we are asked to hire a person for what is probably the most powerful job in the world, and we don’t even get an in depth interview…

Perhaps we should focus campaign finance reform in a different direction.  Rather than trying to limit the amount of funds that come into campaigns, we should ensure they are put to the best use.  To do this I propose a campaign contribution tax for any federal candidate that raises over $5 Million.   We set it at 40%.  This would mean that 40% of every campaign dollar raised would go into a general fund, which would be split equally amongst candidates meeting specific requirements, such as:

  • Polling at 5% or better with eligible voters on July 4th (a fitting date)
  • Agrees to 3 public debates
  • Agrees to 2 public one-on-one interviews
    • One by an interviewer selected by the candidate
    • The second by an interviewer selected by the opponents
  • Publishes answer to questions on issues, that are posted on a public website
  • Contributes 5 questions to the above mentioned list
  • Provide a complete accounting of the source of all their funds on the same public website

This would motivate candidates to provide real information, and provide a platform for all of us to hear more ideas vetted in a public forum.  Fund raising would still play a big role in selecting our candidates; we just have to be vigilant in making sure these funds lead to better information to counteract any potential undue influence.  And is certainly not too much to ask for someone we put the trust of our nation in.

A Madman has spoken…

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