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Make public finding available for election expenses, ban paid for political advertising, and treat all private contributions by corporations or lobbyists tantamount to bribery.  A democracy is a democracy of people, not corporations or special interests.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 01:47:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Make public finding available for election expenses

We already have that.  It's insufficient to run a national campaign, as John McCain is now discovering.

ban paid for political advertising

Supreme Court would throw it out on free-speech grounds.

treat all private contributions by corporations or lobbyists tantamount to bribery

Can't ban contributions from lobbyists by law, because they're individuals.  Candidates and parties can, as the DNC and the Obama campaign have, only refuse to accept their contributions.

Corporations, strictly speaking, can't donate.  They work through PACs.  A ban on PACs would be fine by me.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 02:06:16 PM EST
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But you can ban doing favours in return for the bribes. Simply establish that if a politician seeks to pass a law that favours a company that has contributed (directly or indirectly) to his or her campaign, it's bribery unless he repays the contribution in full and with mark-to-market interest rates.

Then create an enforcement agency with teeth. It doesn't have to work perfectly - heck, if it'll put just 10 % of all the politicians who are on the take behind bars, the rest would probably fall more or less in line.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 04:05:08 PM EST
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Any number of policies put before Congress will impact various entities whose people donate to politicians.  Where do you draw the line in that?  Direct benefit (a subsidy for example), or just something that would impact them in a non-discriminatory way (a cut in corporate tax rates)?  And what qualifies as a contributor?  A company PAC, sure, but what about (say) Warren Buffett donating?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 04:28:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where would I draw the line? As tightly as the constitution could possibly be bent to permit. As far as I'm concerned, any money that doesn't come from fairly distributed government campaign funds or grassroot activity (and no, Warren Buffet giving a couple of millions to an political campaign doesn't count as "grassroot") is automatically suspect, and any politician receiving suspect money is automatically under suspicion.

It won't catch everything, and ultimately the solution to billionaires buying politicians is not to make buying politicians illegal - they'll eventually find ways around any law you can enact; after all, they have enough money to get the best lawyers money can buy. The solution is to make billionaires illegal. But in the meantime, I'll settle for anything that'd put a few crooked politicians behind bars and put a scare in the rest.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:22:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shouldn't free speech be..er..free?

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:12:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've had exactly that debate before with a libertarian type who was convinced that if you wanted free speech then doggone you ought to pay for it, yuh betcha.

More cash -> more free speech.

It's difficult to make headway against that kind of inanity.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 06:45:25 PM EST
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"Freedom isn't free!"

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 06:50:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not insufficient.

The FCC could get involved, shorten the campaign which is way too long as it is, require broadcast airtime.

Limit contributions to $20.

Most of the money is spent on TV ads. That will be over and done with.

All other money will come from the taxpayer and tiny contributions. I've seen such proposals before. I'm frankly surprised that you don't believe this is possible.

by Upstate NY on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 11:59:44 PM EST
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