Last year, I was talking with the electrician doing work on my house. I told him that, along with lots of people around the country, I’ve been working to fix the money-in-politics problem. “Oh,”, he paused, “well, you’ve pretty much been getting your asses kicked, haven’t you?”.
Well, yeah, I had to agree.
While the public’s awareness of the problem has increased in recent years, progress towards solutions had been taking a beating, mostly thanks to the Supreme Court. But, even in the face of adversity, there have been efforts by many national and local groups to move toward solutions to this problem.
My own interest in this subject was produced by a mix of personal experiences. As a campaign manager (Pittsburgh City Council), I learned first-hand how difficult it is for candidates without large financial backers to be successful in communicating with voters and winning their support. Those candidates who took the money had a terrific advantage. Once my candidate was elected (without big money), I worked on Council and saw the ease with which those who spent money electing various elected officials could gain access to and influence over many of these officials, while the constituents were often ignored.
That lesson was repeated for me later when, as the producer of a real estate marketing television program, I struggled to buy cable television time for my program. This was programming time that the federal government had required the monopolistic cable companies to sell to citizens. The lesson I learned was that, despite the law, the FCC seemed much more interested in accommodating the cable companies (who pump lots of campaign money into the system) than the individual entrepreneur trying to provide a service to the community and make a buck.
Whether it is the anti-democratic effects of private campaign funding or the crony capitalism that grows from it, the game is increasingly rigged against both democracy and the free market.
The purpose of this blog is to gather and present information about the many groups working to fix the money-in-politics problem, to report the efforts these groups have made, to assess those efforts, and to draw lessons for future efforts. I have my own ideas about what should be done and they will be presented in an on-going series of posts.
By fixing the money-in-politics problem we, the citizens, can create a trustworthy government, a government where elected officials are able to represent the citizens they are supposed to represent. The purpose of this site is to explore, with you, how this can be done.
The money-in-politics problem is a disease, a disease that is killing our democracy. I hope that this website can serve the role of a medical journal, where “Case Studies” designed to cure the disease can be proposed, reported, critiqued, and the results reviewed. From those reviews, lessons can be learned and new strategies and tactics can be proposed and tried.