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Campaign Finance Reform

Special interests control Congress.  They expect and they get to effectively write laws as the return on their investment in campaign contributions.  The Medicare D law which gave the drug industry windfall profits by prohibiting the government from negotiating drug prices is one of many examples of Congressmen (Hobson in particular) selling their votes for large campaign contributions.

We must restore democracy.

I propose the following:

  • Campaign expenditures for a candidate in a Congressional race should be limited to $100,000.  (I spent $14,500 in 2006 total for primary and general elections.  My opponent spent over $2 Million.)  $100,000 will fund a web site, yard signs, campaign literature, radio ads, etc.  It will not cover many mailings which each cost $40,000 or more for a Congressional District.  Commercial TV ads will be eliminated.
  • Other groups (PACS, swift boaters, ...) should not be allowed to  sponsor TV ads or mailings which mention a Congressional race or candidate.  (The blatantly partisan Supreme Court ruling of January 2010 allows corporations to violate this.  We'll have to find a way around it.)
  • Commercial TV stations should provide free time for the candidates to face the camera and present their views.  One TV station in each market (Dayton and Columbus for the 7th District) should sponsor a debate between the candidates.  If one of the candidates does not appear, it should be held with an empty chair. (in 2006, Columbus Channel 10 and Dayton Channel 7 each taped about 7 minutes with each Congressional candidate and aired those clips multiple times.  Channel 7 offered a 30 minute debate but Hobson refused to appear and the station would not offer an empty chair format.)
  • Free postage for a single mailing to residences in the district should be funded by the government.  The incumbent should not be allowed to use his free Congressional mailing privilege for campaign purposes as Hobson did in 2006.  

Web sites provide a very inexpensive (less than $100) means for a candidate to make his qualifications, positions, and views available to the public.  We should move to an era where voters go to a candidate's web site to find out about the candidate.  A candidate who presents his information in a straight forward manner and whose positions in large part correspond with a voter's desires should be favored.  On the contrary, a candidate who presents no positions or only vague doubletalk and/or whose positions are not in line with the voter's desires should not be favored.   The voter should keep in mind that if a candidate talks specifically about a large number of issues, it is unlikely that the candidate and the voter will agree in every detail.  The positions in aggregate provide  insight into the candidate's inclinations and integrity. 

US Senate races should be similarly limited to $100,000 times the number of House districts in the state.