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Question of the day

Tuesday, Oct 31, 2006

Do you favor or oppose taxpayer funded political campaigns? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


55 Comments
  1. - YR - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 8:38 am:

    No. There’s a lot better things we could be spending taxpayer money on.


  2. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 8:40 am:

    Oppose. I am sure that there will be some Board or Commission involved and Blago has enough Boards and Commissions to shake down contributions.


  3. - the Other Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 8:44 am:

    Favor, but I don’t think we can have a good system of public financing unless the US Supreme Court reverses itself on Buckley v. Valeo (holding that contributions to candidates are a form of free speech).

    Essentially, the system is out of control. We need a system of campaign finance that favors contributors concerned about good public policy over special interests which seek to profit from government.

    Unfortunately, any incremental change to the system creates its own set of loopholes. And those who seek to play politics for profit will find and exploit those loopholes. So, the only alternative left is full public financing.


  4. - Squideshi - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 8:46 am:

    I strongly support full public financing of public elections. The voters have a right to know where all ballot qualified candidates stand on the issues, and this is as much a part of the infrastructure of our democracy as the printing of the ballots, renting of polling places, and hiring of election judges, all of which are currently publically funded.

    Elections should not be about who has the most money, wealthy friends, or good fundraisers. Elections should be about issues. By removing this component; and leveling the playing field for all ballot qualified candidates, we can promote more competition in our political marketplace of ideas.

    Prior to the Australian Ballot Act here in Illinois, which brought about the secret ballot, political parties printed and distributed their own ballots. Some people complained when it was proposed that taxpayers pay for the printing of ballots, and they’re the same type of people that complain today about full public financing of public elections.


  5. - 105th Blues - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 8:47 am:

    I guess it depends on the terms? When does my tax dollars kick in? Pre-Primary where a bunch of moon bats will come out of the wood-work to run on the public dime? Part of the current system that I like is that it self selects out the lazy and keeps away people who don’t work hard.


  6. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 8:57 am:

    No. Public monies can be spent on myriad issues besides financing campaigns. Besides, how would these funds be fairly allocated?


  7. - Justice - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 8:58 am:

    Fundraising is an integral part of the democratic process and encourages the candidates to get out of their chairs and get their message out. Private contributions are in great part a measure of a candidates support. Taxpayer funded campaigns are simply a tax on the individual citizen, plus it uses our taxes to support a candidate we may not want. If we do anything regarding funding of political campaigns, we should limit or even exclude PACs and Corporations from contributing to the campaigns, either through cash or in-kind contributions. Additionally, limits should be imposed on individual contributions. We need to select the best candidates for office, not those with the most support from large industrial complexes and political action committees. The voice of Joe and Jane Doe needs to be heard loud and clear. In my humble opinion taxpayer funded political campaigns is not the way to make that happen.


  8. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 9:00 am:

    No. We should not allow government to decide who it will support regarding elected offices. This is a democracy, and we have the right to fill the offices as we see fit, not as the government sees it.

    Public financing of elections sounds “fair”. But with it comes a lack of freedom. Your freedom. You will only be able to choose those candidates that are considered “qualified” - by WHOM? By a bunch of special interest group hacks? By a bunch of partisan office grubbers? While all of us who were told the glories of this idea back in college, reality shows that we don’t get great people - we get people that can be qualified. There is a HUGE difference, people!

    As a citizen it is YOUR responsibility to choose candidates. You should not look at your responsibility as a burden. Instead of demanding term limits or public financing, you need to get off your lazy backsides and get to work. There is no such thing as a self-cleaning government.

    YOU are supposed to be the janitor for our democratic system! It is your job to vote out scumbags who abuse the current system.

    Finally, the entire idea is so elitist and arrogant. Since when should we no longer be a democracy? Are we so fat and lazy we are willing to give away our democracy so we don’t have to hear about corrupted campaigns? Do we look down our noses at our fellow citizens to the point where we don’t believe they know what is best for them? Public financing of elections is one of those ridiculous utopian proposals that are proposed by know-it-alls like the snotty kids you sat in political science courses with.

    Democracy is dirty. That is no reason to expect someone else to do your job as a citizen. The last bunch of self-serving jerks you want running a campaign system are the jerks currently in charge.


  9. - Reddbyrd - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 9:01 am:

    I have always been opposed to taxpayer funded political campaigns which made it was so gratefying to see The AntiChrist headed to the slammer. Should serve a a lesson to all.


  10. - Pat Hickey - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 9:04 am:

    Oppose; spend money on education, health, infrastructure, and services.

    Let the market decide candidates and their political futures - if the person is any good, she/he will be able to scratch up some dough. Leave the Lefties to push for a politboro - ‘All candidates state case is good ‘DA’ -not good ‘N’yet’ Is so. All hail the glorious Revolutionary Peoples Tax-Paid Party Postings!’


  11. - Squideshi - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 9:29 am:

    Private and corporate sponsored campaigns give advantage to the wealthy. They force candidates to taylor their platform to appeal to the wealthy, rather than the public at large. This is why 95% of campaign contributions are made by less than 1% of the public. It’s a sure road to Plutocracy.


  12. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 9:34 am:

    Part of the problem is that small donors have given up. If small donors were more assertive about giving even small amounts to the candidates they believe represent their interests best, the system would be less
    beholden to corrupt wannabee contractors and lobbyists and so on.


  13. - Anon - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 9:41 am:

    No. Think about who controls taxpayer money — politicians!


  14. - Pat Hickey - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 9:43 am:

    It’s a sure road to Plutocracy.

    I love those movies on TCM - Bob, Bing and Dorothy. Maybe, a walk-on by Jerry Colona - The Road to Plutocracy:

    Chester - ‘ look here Spike, I’m tired of you fat-catting my vote away and ending up with Dotty and all the Elected Offices here on Pluto - I won;t take it.’

    Spike- ‘Course, you won’t take it, Son. It’s way past your grasp ( strike matchoff of Chester’s nose and lights his pipe for effect) why past your grasp, Sonny-Boy. Now, look here be a good lad and run along to the Nader-Nerders back there on good old terra firma - they have room for bright-boy like yourself, Chester.’


  15. - Truthful James - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 9:46 am:

    Don’t fund the campaigns. Shorten the campaigning periods.Two months for a Primary, one month for a General is enough.

    I might make one exception. Fund the challenger to the extent of the amount of money spent by the incumbent spent on newsletters, etc., during his current term.


  16. - Sango Dem - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 9:52 am:

    Oppose. No one should have to pay taxes for candidates with views they can’t stand.

    What we really need to do is force the public airwaves to provide free and reduced rate advertising. Then a candidate could get their message out and have a shot at winning without having to prostrate themselves to wealthy special interests.


  17. - Yellow Dog - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 10:10 am:

    Meanwhile, the New York Times refuses to endorse a single Republican candidate. First time since just before Watergate? The political paradigm is undergoing a rapid shift. We have yet to see where it’s going to end up. Exciting but terrifying at the same time! Maybe we are a witnessing a self-correction despite all the $$$ that’s being flung around.


  18. - Squideshi - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 10:21 am:

    Sango Dem wrote, “No one should have to pay taxes for candidates with views they can’t stand.”

    You’re paying for the right of voters to know where all ballot qualified candidates stand on the issues. What you are funding is the process of making sure that everyone has access to the information that they need to make an informed decision on election day. In other words, it’s not about the candidates–it’s about the voters.

    You may not agree with the views of all people taught about in schools, but that doesn’t mean that the students don’t have a right to know about those people; and to deny funding on this basis would be a form of censorship.


  19. - Yellow Dog - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 10:26 am:

    C’mon Squideshi, we all know that this time of the year is an industry in and of itself. Sango has a valid point.


  20. - Left Leaner - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 10:35 am:

    No. I agree with Justice. Fundraising is an integral part of the democratic process. We should place common sense limits on contributions.

    Public funds would be more effective in this domain (for far less $) if given to watch dog groups and voting education initiatives.


  21. - Levois - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 10:42 am:

    No, I think citizens should have the right to support with their money the candidates they believe in. Publicly funding campaigns would eliminate that. I would though like to see someone’s campaign chest like Blago’s go by the wayside somehow.


  22. - Pat Hickey - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 10:43 am:

    Left Leaner says,
    Public funds would be more effective in this domain (for far less $) if given to watch dog groups and voting education initiatives.

    BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHAHAAA! You slay me! Watch dog groups; Unfunded Mandates; you’re killing me! Stop It!


  23. - Yellow Dog - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 10:43 am:

    That’s right Levois, pick and choose.


  24. - ILtoAZ - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 10:56 am:

    I’m one of Madigan’s Minions, and moved to Arizona at the end of the 2000 cycle. Arizona passed publicly funded elections (referred to as Clean Elections www.azcleanelections.com) a few years ago. It’s great for AZ, but would never work in IL under the same structure.

    Clean Elections is voluntary for candidates. For example, a House or Senate candidate can collect about 250 $5 donations with a signed form, and turn it in to Clean Elections to receive campaign funding. There’s also some added fees on parking tickets, etc.

    If the opponent is not “running clean,” the clean candidate can get some matching funds up to a certain point.

    For a State Senate or House race Total for primary and general comes to about $40,000 total. Yes, I didn’t forget a zero. And that’s way more than most house or senate races had cost before the law kicked in. A statewide office like Corp Commission or Treasurer only gets about $100,000.

    Federal and City candidates are not eligible for Clean Elections funding.

    Comparing the dollars spent on races, the Arizona model won’t work for Illinois, but it seems to work here. Lots of candidates that couldn’t afford running before are running now- lots less uncontested races. But one can’t say the caliber of candidate has always improved. ;)


  25. - Cal Skinner - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 11:17 am:

    The best plan was the one in the late 1970’s, if memory serves me correctly, where one could take a tax credit of (that is, subtract) up to $50 from one’s next federal income tax bill.

    I costed that out in an Illinois context and found it upwards of $80 million.

    So, make the contributions $100 today and the figure is probably close to $200 million.

    Think the Democrats will give the power to direct that amount of money back to the taxpayers?


  26. - Angie - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 11:18 am:

    Haven’t done enough research to conclude whether it would be better or not, but Sango Dem raises some interesting points about free advertising so candidates don’t have to pander to those with the megabucks for all of their funding.

    I’m leaning towards no (unless everyone gets a refund when someone goes corrupt!), but there has to be some way to get good people to run, and they have got to be able to get a message out and run a campaign, especially if you’ve got a scenario where one candidate has a massive war chest, while someone else can’t raise enough cash to run a good campaign. It turns into who is the charismatic political celeb who can schmooze up the funds, but even the biggest sociopaths can be charismatic and engaging. That scares me.

    I do think we need longer jail term limits, though. They can still get a reduction for cooperating with the feds, but let it be more than a slap on the wrist, here. 6 years? Get real.


  27. - Getyourheadoutoftheclouds - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 11:19 am:

    Anything that provides money to people who cannot convince others to give a donation necessarily props up bad ideas and lunatics.

    Anything that gives government control of campaign funds (and that is exactly what you would do if you gave government control of the purse) will make things worse because it will eliminate any method of cleansing the ranks of professional politicians.

    As long as there is complete disclosure, the people can weigh issues and examine people and make their decisions.

    Government funded campaigns are pie-in-the-sky nonsense that will backfire horribly.


  28. - Fan of the Game - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 11:26 am:

    No public funding for three reasons:

    1) I should be able to spend my money as I please on candidates I support.

    2) Politicians deciding how politicians will divide more tax money to distribute to politicians is not a good system.

    3) The same as #2 but in ALL CAPS FOR EMPHASIS! ;)


  29. - Anon - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 11:37 am:

    Just to put things in perspective: as a nation, we spend more on chewing gum than on democracy.


  30. - Big Cheese - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 11:39 am:

    Strongly enforced contribution limits for individuals AND Corporations AND 503’s any combination thereof;

    Caps on total campaign take-in and expenditures (i.e $300,000 for a state senate race)

    Caps on the cost of advertising with a mandatory two-to-one ratio of paid to free advertising.

    Limited public financing for general election candidates of “major” parties.


  31. - Angie - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 11:46 am:

    Re: “Anything that provides money to people who cannot convince others to give a donation necessarily props up bad ideas and lunatics.”

    I’m leaning towards a no, but just have to point out that big $$$ can also prop up bad ideas and lunatics. We see it all the time.;-)


  32. - Clean Elections - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 11:51 am:

    I have an unusual perspective on this, having cut my teeth volunteering in Illinois politics, but now living in Arizona (where I just ran for office as a publically funded candidate).

    Illinois would benefit from having such a system. I was required to demonstrate a minimum level of support in my district by getting over 200 five dollar contributions from voters. We were also allowed to raise a token amount ($3500) to get our campaign started before we qualified for public funds. We finance our Clean Elections system from a surcharge on parking tickets, as well as a tax checkoff (similar to the Federal system).

    Please consider, if it is even possible, how much Illinois spends every year on projects and programs that are unneccessary. Any money spent on public campaigns would cost a mere fraction of this.

    In short, more candidates can run, elections are not determined by who has the most money, and people can make decisions largely free of special interests. What’s the problem here?


  33. - Ken in Aurora - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 12:23 pm:

    Clean Elections, is there a dollar cap on spending?


  34. - ZC - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 12:25 pm:

    Absolute spending limits are a bad, bad idea, Buckley or no Buckley. If we have learned anything post the 1970s, it is that the money will find a way into campaigns. The more you try and legally restrict it, chances are, the less you will know about who is funding whom.

    That said, I have some questions about Sango’s position that people should not fund positions they disagree with. I happen to have a beef with our current President and the majority party in Congress. My taxpayer dollars also pay their salary, and a part of their constituent mailings. So isn’t that supporting viewpoints that I disagree with? Or as a taxpayer, do I have the right not to have my money spent on a war that I now strongly disagree with?

    Obviously I don’t - and I shouldn’t, to be clear. But if it’s OK that my tax dollars go to fund Iraq, I don’t see the great injustice if my tax dollars help subsidize some conservative _running_ for Congress that I disagree with. What’s the principled distinction? Not saying there couldn’t be one, but I’d like to see it set forth clearly.

    If we want to get really philosophical, JS Mill would say that I do myself a great benefit (whether I recognize it or not) by exposing myself to viewpoints and arguments I might not approve of, at least initially. The society as a whole benefits when we fund people to say things that we might otherwise not be exposed to. There are good arguments in other words for why I _should_ pay money to hear arguments that offend me. I can think of a lot worse ways to waste my cash.


  35. - Bubs - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 12:30 pm:

    I do not favor publicly funded elections. But I do favor increased restrictions on negative campaign advertising, if a constitutional way could be found. After all, the federal government owns the airwaves.

    Perhaps a simple rule that you could not mention or display your opponent in a TV or radio ad, though anything goes in mailers, print ads, debates, anything else, etc.


  36. - Gregor - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 12:41 pm:

    The one major thing we could do to short-circuit the out-of-control fundraising is to make the commercials free to all qualified candidates, and guarantee an equal number for each. Look at where the campaign money is spent, especially in this latest race, and you’ll see it was all about buying TV ad time. Nobody is going to back down voluntarily from raising mega-millions for ad buys unless you get the TV stations to go back to considering it their public duty to run the spots for free. If not for free, then for a token amount paid from a public fund.

    I also think donations are “speech” only from individual sitizens, not the artificial beings known as corporations and not from unions. Although a union supporter, I would not mourn if bot the unions and the corporations could no longer give money to PACs or candidates directly. They can still tell their members what they as individuals should do for making contributions, and it should be up to those folks to send in their amounts anonymously below a threshold level, and that way your boss or union steward can’t know if you donated or not, or to whom, so your job and privacy are safe.


  37. - anon - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 1:09 pm:

    I am probably one of the few that thinks this way, but I don’t think elections should be publicly funded nor do I think there should be limits. Limits are a terrible waste of our elected officials time. Our congressmen and Senators spend an inordinate amount of their time raising money instead of talking about the issues. A U.S. Senator told me one time that he estimates that close to half of his waking hours have something to do with fundraising (calls, having an event, travel to an event).
    I think disclosure is the best we can hope for. The current program is OK but it could be better. Make it mandatory that everyone update their reports monthly until two months before the election and then weekly the next month and then daily the month before. This sounds labor intensive but if an integrated computer program can be developed it would not be too burdensome.
    As far as only the rich now contributing, people forget that 99% of the people are represented by at least one association of something. Either a chamber of commerce, a trade organization, union, AARP or whatever, they are represented. Most of these organization control some kind of PAC account along with having lobbyist.
    Long story but in a nut shell timely disclosure is the best we can hope for without taking away our liberties.


  38. - bored now - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 1:15 pm:

    in general, i don’t care what the rules are, as long as i know what they are in advance (at least 18 months out) and they don’t change during (or after) the campaign. advocates of public financing always imagine some great benefit by it, but no matter what the rules are, they will be interpreted and take advantage of by people who run campaigns.

    unless you have a strong enforcement mechanism (like south korea), any thought that good intentions will result in real changes is, well, naive…


  39. - The Conservative - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 1:27 pm:

    Absolutely not, taxpayers money should not be used for political candidates. I used to hate it when the union supported candidates I did not.


  40. - Tessa - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 1:27 pm:

    I oppose taxpayer funded campaigns, mainly because I want to be able to choose who my money goes to.

    The only thing I wish I could change is the ability to make it more of an even playing field, so that qualified candidates, who don’t have tons of money could run a decent campaign against those less qualified candidates who have tons of money. (I know, I’m asking for the impossible.)


  41. - Way Northsider - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 1:31 pm:

    The real issue is not so much who funds but how long these damn campaigns are. With House reps being up for reelection every two years they pretty much never get out of election mode in contested areas. It’s wasteful and it leads to bad policy.


  42. - Angie - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 2:03 pm:

    Bubs, won’t the free exchange of ideas, even negative ones, still sort ‘em all out as voters get more and more fed up?

    As voting declines, and as they start polling everyone to find out WHY they aren’t voting (these people must find these dangblasted polls to be some kind of frickin’ aphrodesiac, if you ask me, because that’s all we ever hear about is polls, polls, and more polls), won’t they eventually hear back from the voters?

    Negative can work to a point, but if it just goes so over the top, like the Ford ad, which was just utterly ridiculous, then people get turned off. Isn’t more freedom of speech better than less? I should think there will be a voter backlash that is just the natural consequence of things, so I would argue to not put a limit on free speech, no matter how obnoxious. Let the worst of ‘em ruin themselves when they push it too far, I say.

    Speaking of the Ford ad, does anyone else find it ironic that the Republicans are picking on the guy for apparently being a heterosexual who went to a Playboy party (gasp!) while the Democrats are all in a tizzy because the Republicans had a closet gay guy in their midst? Shouldn’t the Republicans be glad that Harold likes girls, and shouldn’t the Democrats be thrilled that the GOP isn’t so “homophobic” after all? I can’t stop laughing at the irony.


  43. - Lovie's Leather - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 2:08 pm:

    Oppose. Instead of having tax money or limiting the amount that people, corporations etc give to politicians, there should be a cap on how much the politicians spend per month. Instead of putting a burden on the people, put the burden on the politicians. This will keep private fundraising without restricting people from giving how much they want to, reduce the overspending from campaign warchests, and give all candidates a level playing field.


  44. - Truth - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 2:24 pm:

    Publicly funded campaigns are bad, which is why Blagojevich should be disqualified.


  45. - SouthernILRepub - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 2:32 pm:

    Rich,

    There is a new “get nuked” ad


  46. - Sister Mary Elephant - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 2:38 pm:

    Absolutely opposed.

    The only thing more distasteful than watching a negative campaign is being forced to pay for it.

    Make no mistake, that’s what “taxpayer funded” means. It means taking someone who normally wouldn’t pay for something and forcing them against their will to do so.


  47. - Chicago Dem - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 3:25 pm:

    NO. It’s an Incumbent Protection Act.

    It will no doubt come with big strings attached–contribution limits.

    Plus, because the funding would be roughly equal, the beneficiary is the better known candidate–the incumbent.

    Incumbents can always raise large amounts of money in smaller increments because they have access to the special interests, contractors and employees who feed at the trough.

    Independents and challengers often depend on larger donations to overcome the inherent disadvantage they face.

    If you’re for free and open political speech, and a more level playing field between incuments and challengers, you should oppose any restrictions on campaign financing other than strict and timely DISCLOSURE rules.


  48. - Little Egypt - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 4:22 pm:

    A lot of good points here. I am opposed to public campaign financing. I am for opening the airwaves to free and an equal amount of advertising per candidate. I think there should be MANDATORY debates and not one conducted as poorly as the last radio debate in Decatur. Let’s get Jim Leahrer (spelling?) or some other top national figure to come in and hold their feet to the fire in a debate. I am also for anything that will level the playing field between those who have big bucks and those who do not. It’s a shame when we allow our votes to be bought. In the meantime, the best way we can reform campaigns ourselves is to not vote for the big spenders, whomever they are. Tell them your vote is not for sale.


  49. - Little Egypt - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 4:24 pm:

    Also, why can’t the State Board of Elections be more emphatic with their rules? You don’t file the appropriate papers and campaign contribution reports on time, you’re out. No reprieve. No second chances. YOU’RE OUT!


  50. - Boone Logan Square - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 4:52 pm:

    Taxpayer-funded campaigns, combined with IRV votes and a guarantee that mutiple parties would fully participate in the process, would be a substantial improvement over the current system.


  51. - Belle - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 4:53 pm:

    Oppose. There is no way tax payer’s should pay for a ‘level playing field’ because it will never happen. Too many ways to circumvent it. I would rather equalize the time on radio & TV. Can’t be done but it would prove entertaining!


  52. - Angie - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 5:02 pm:

    Make everyone get grilled in mandatory debates moderated by Chris Matthews. That would be entertaining as well as tough on the candidates.

    Heck, SNL has run entire sketches poking fun at Chris. Guest character: “Can I talk?” Chris character: “No, you can’t!”

    Seriously. Get the very best out there to do multiple debates. Get Diane Sawyer, Tim Russert, and people of that caliber who could actually ask good questions. Better yet, get a team of prosecution lawyers to grill them all, complete with all of the leading questions that they couldn’t get away with in court (snicker snicker).


  53. - Ivory-billed Woodpecker - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 5:07 pm:

    For. And wow do I feel lonely. I used to support public financing simply because dialing for dollars in sealed cubicles is not how I want my most senior public employees spending their days. (They should be blogging like the rest of us.) But after the Rezko indictment, the Levine plea, and Public Official A counting the days until he is haled into federal court, we are drowning in reasons why Illinois ought to reduce elected officials’ incentive to sell their influence. Not just increase the certainty and severity of prison sentences. Actually shrink the relative profitability of selling out.

    Here are some first cut ideas.
    http://www.commoncause
    .org/site/pp.asp?
    c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=507399

    I for one would be happy to gamble a $5 income tax check-off on the possibility that our elected officials will have less incentive to even indirectly trade pension fund management contracts, bond float commissions, or hospital expansion certificates of need in exchange for whopping campaign contributions.

    I wish the answer was as simple as recruiting people with greater integrity. But how is one supposed to know? Talk to their mothers? As much as I disliked Blago from the first time I saw him and his hair at a 2002 primary rally, I doubt he set out to be corrupt. But once in, the logic of the graft must have made too much sense.

    I don’t understand how public financing becomes an Incumbent Protection Act. The incumbents, not the challengers, are the ones with the influence to trade for / shake down big donations.

    And for everyone who thinks the sunshine of disclosure is an all purpose disinfectant, please explain how even in the face of columnists (Hi Rich) and editorial writers painstakingly laying out the whole septic mess, Blago is still steaming full speed toward reelection.


  54. - Squideshi - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 5:32 pm:

    “Anything that provides money to people who cannot convince others to give a donation necessarily props up bad ideas and lunatics.”

    Maybe we should eliminate all economic development corporations and board throughout the state too? I mean, using your logik, they only prop up bad businesses that can’t attract investors.


  55. - Disgusted - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 8:31 pm:

    I’m for it but with severe limits on amounts. No extras for incumbents, etc. Also, I want an outside entity to control where it goes, not the campaign manager. No paying $5 to your buddy and getting $500,000 in free advertising. Ethics is the word of the campaign.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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        * Odds may finally favor a Chicago casino — if Ma.....
        * Democrats release data showing schools suffer i.....
        * New report: Taxpayers owe $56B in unfunded reti.....
        * Sneed: N’DIGO mag chief backing Rauner says, “I.....
        * Harrison is new Champaign County GOP chairman..
        * Quinn open to pension reform delays amid court .....
        * Clout worked for some job-seekers, not all, at .....
        * Down-ballot fundraising shows big gaps..
        * Illinois Gaming Plans Would Slice Racing Aid..
        * Bloom replaces Steffen for local GOP, House aga.....


        * Kirk promotes stroke research funding, treatments
        * Chicago casino plan draws more support at hearing
        * New warden named for Menard prison
        * Illinois-Chicago, faculty union reach agreement
        * ComEd seeks rate hike to help pay for Smart Grid
        * Durbin banks more than $6M for 2014 Senate bid
        * Lake Shore Drive reopened after suspicious package
        * Addiction experts: Cuts could hurt drug treatment
        * Topinka reports $125,000 in Illinois income
        * Inmate charged in Rockford lawyer's 2008 death

        * Lt. Gov. Simon to raise sex assault awareness
        * Report: Big cuts to state aid for schools if tax expires
        * Legislative hearing on Chicago casino begins
        * Chicago casino plan draws more support at legislative hearing
        * Simon: Illinois farmers markets should accept LINK
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Battle on for GOP state party post
        * Quinn promotes autism awareness at Brookfield Zoo
        * Broadcaster Samuelson named to Illinois Racing Board
        * Tough tax votes loom for lawmakers
        * Statehouse Insider: It’s spring break time!

        * Chicago casino plan draws more support at hearing
        * UIC, faculty union reach tentative labor contract
        * Burger King hamburger gets a chicken makeover
        * Astellas Pharma to pay $7.3M settlement in drug marketing case
        * Bloomberg plans $50 million gun control network


        * Gresham staff, parents protest plans for CPS ‘turnaround’
        * 14-year-old boy shot in West Pullman neighborhood
        * Man held without bail for alleged sexual assault in Boystown
        * Turnaround for  struggling schools worth the upheaval
        * Lake Shore Drive reopens after package forces closure
        * Even casual marijuana use can alter the brain, new study shows
        * Priest reinstated after inquiry finds abuse claim unfounded
        * Faculty union says it has tentative agreement with UIC
        * UIC, faculty union reach tentative agreement


        * Medical marijuana entrepreneurs decry fees
        * Clout worked for some job-seekers, not all at Metra
        * Truck driver questioned in fatal Whiting hit-and-run
        * State bill would limit suspensions, end fines for students
        * 14-year-old shot on Far South Side
        * Quinn with nearly $9 million as Rauner reloads
        * Cops: Cameras help track down suspect in Lakeview sexual assault
        * Sinaloa cartel associate brought to Chicago to face charges
        * Man at Navy Pier construction office accidentally shoots himself
        * Cops who saved kids from fire: 'You just have to do what you need to do'


        * Illinois Senate Joins Push For U.S. Constitutional Convention
        * Study: Pre-K Education Provides For Economic Growth
        * The Vanishing Millionaire Tax
        * City Approves More Video Gaming Despite Upcoming Ordinance
        * Rutherford: Dismiss Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
        * Durbin Calls For A Return of 'Earmarks'
        * Quinn, Rauner At IEA Conference - Full Audio
        * FBI agents say indicted state rep took them to get bribe cash
        * McCarthy dismissive of crime research
        * Gas Station Owners Warn Against Fuel Tax Increase


        * Report: Big cuts to state aid for schools if tax expires
        * Comptroller Topinka reports $125K in income
        * Addiction experts: Illinois budget cuts could hurt drug treatment
        * Legislative hearing on Chicago casino begins
        * Strip club tax brings in much less than expected
        * Their view: Remembrance in the cruelest month
        * 2015 tax rates still far from settled
        * House bill urges schools to make digital emergency plans
        * Chicago-only casino option to face opposition
        * Rutherford's lawyers ask judge to dismiss sexual-harassment lawsuit


        * Harrison is new Champaign County GOP chairman
        * Klein re-elected Dem chair for Champaign County
        * LIVE Nike show at Krannert
        * Haine, Beiser describe state's budget quandary
        * County board move could be next step to consolidating jails
        * Study examines deaths of trout that eat alewife
        * Report of suspicious man approaching children spurs security sweep at SAFB
        * Granite City man charged in heroin overdose
        * Macoupin County Board blocks sheriff's hirings
        * Blotter 4/16


        * The 10th District money race
        * Aurora Democrat calls out IHSA
        * Lawyers: Ill. hazing law vague, unconstitutional
        * Ill. House OKs lower-cost hunting bill for seniors
        * Quinn’s running mate takes new consulting job

        * Inside Rep. Peter Roskam's Leadership PAC ...
        * In DC, Rep. Peter Roskam invokes Springfie...
        * Rep. Roskam: IRS' Lois Lerner 'Committed C...
        * Roskam: Helpful tips for preparing your ta...
        * Barrington business, Congressman Peter Ros...
        * When Punishment Is Torture: An Open Letter...
        * Jesse Jackson Jr. placed in solitary confi...
        * Jesse Jackson Jr. Transferred To Alabama P...
        * Jesse Jackson Jr. sent to solitary then tr...
        * Jesse Jackson Jr. Maneuvers Himself Into M...

        * Loading Koch Industries Website Too Many T......
        * Maryland and DC among worst for food aller......
        * Cleveland State University to reestablish ......
        * Convicted political boss Al Sanchez runnin......
        * Candidates make last filings for local, st......

        * Illinois Lt. Gov. Simon opposes pension le......
        * Dillard Odd Man Out on Pension Deal Reaction...
        * Sen. Mark Kirk sides with Rauner on pensio......
        * Governor's race infighting threatens pensi......
        * SCHOONERS - Home of Everyone's Favorite Be......

        * Weyermuller: Who will be the next Chicago Mayor?
        * Life-affirming messages challenge abortion business in Chicago
        * Chicago Activists To Demand A Stop To Deportations On May Day
        * Some Exempted From Minimum Wage, Increased Or Not
        * Dems Play Politics With Bogus 77-cent Differential in Male-Female Pay
        * Religious Freedom and the American Settlement
        * New Jersey Panel Could Call Christie To Testify
        * A Year After Background Check Defeat, Modest Goals
        * Ten minute drawing. Bob Fioretti.
        * Governor Quinn. Veto Rahm’s pension bill.


        * Governor Quinn Releases First-Ever Illinois Bike Transportation Plan - Plan Formally Makes Bicycles Part of Illinois’ Long-Range Transportation Vision
        * IEMA, American Lung Association Announce Winners in Student Video, Poster Contests - Winning entries unveiled during IEMA’s 11th Annual Radon Networking Day
        * Governor Quinn to Address Small Business Advocacy Council Annual Meeting - Will Discuss His Proposals to Drive Small Business Development and Expansion
        * Governor Quinn Honors Jackie Robinson - Barrier-Breaking Baseball Player Was American Icon
        * Governor Quinn Urges Homebuyers to Act Fast and Take Advantage of Welcome Home Illinois Program - Program Offers First-Time Homebuyers Down-Payment Assistance and a 3.75 Percent Interest Rate on a 30-Year Fixed Mortgage




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