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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sam Waterston Writes Election Reform Commentary

Photo from PBS
Sam Waterston (Law & Order) has written a commentary on election reform for the Boston Globe. Here are some excerpts:

Reforming pay-to-play politics

By Sam Waterston
April 30, 2009

BASED ON the success of campaign finance reform in several states, the Fair Elections Now Act is moving forward at the federal level. Massachusetts citizens should speak up in favor of the act, which restructures the way we finance elections to move away from the expensive cycle of pay-to-play politics that now distorts public policy debate - and the flow of tax dollars - in Washington…

...While much has been made of the surge in small donations to Obama's campaign last year, big money soared as well. It represents by far the largest share of federal campaign money to both presidential and congressional candidates, and those who can make or bundle the largest campaign donations always seem to be the ones getting the vast majority of political favors.

...We need to replace that big money and create a system that relies on small-dollar donors. This will bring in citizens who have long felt unwelcome because they didn't have the cash or the connections to participate. We need a simple, straightforward solution that will pass constitutional muster, and prevent "gaming the system."...

…Under the proposal, candidates must get a set number of modest donations from people in their community to receive limited Fair Elections funds, coupled with additional small donations matched on a four-to-one basis. That means the donation from the teacher is as important as the one from the corporate CEO. It frees the candidate from the constant need to ask for big donations, from attending the $2,400 a-plate fund-raisers, and from the need to request money from all manner of interest groups….

...More important, democracy itself gains new strength. The wisdom of the people, on which democracy depends, can't be heard - and we can't change the results we've been getting - without changing the way we fund our elections. Simple, voter-centered public financing will take the taint out of campaign donations and invite ordinary citizens into the political process. The results are in: Where laws on public financing of elections are in place, the public comes in, the special-interest money goes out.

You can find Sam’s full commentary on the Boston Globe web site, here. There is an area on the article which will allow you to comment.

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1 comment:

samfan said...

He's so smart, and right!!!