Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Article excerpt

Real Campaign-Finance Reform - and Soon

All the talk and punditry concerning campaign-finance reform seems to point in one direction - nothing but tinkering with the process, if even that. Not only does there seem to be no groundswell from the public, but politicians have no reason or incentive to make even the most cosmetic of changes.

I am even skeptical of the motives behind the McCain-Feingold bill. Why now, as he appears to be looking beyond the Senate to bigger things, does Senator McCain become concerned with a system that has helped him retain his position for so long? One idea that has been scarcely mentioned, possibly because it's too radical and much too democratic, is limiting campaign contributions to donors from candidates' own districts. The people who vote for a candidate would be those who support him financially as well - no donations from outside a voting district. Retaining the $1,000 per donor limit, removing soft money, and requiring full, immediate disclosure would, when restricted to voting districts, dramatically reduce the need for money in campaigns. It would also level the field considerably and allow fewer "money connected" citizens to run (and win). This is an idea I am sure the Founding Fathers would have endorsed, particularly if they had foreseen the kind of corruption or appearance of corruption in today's campaigns. However, I am also sure that such a reform will never see the light of congressional debate or even make it into any bills. We can be assured that the current system will continue in one slightly modified form or another, in the absence of a truly grass-roots movement to change it. Reed L. Wadley Tempe, Ariz. Despite an errant 1976 Supreme Court ruling that should be challenged, it is ludicrous and unjust to equate money with free speech. That ruling tilts the scales of justice overwhelmingly in favor of a very small minority of the wealthy, who contribute large sums of money in hopes of furthering their self-interests. …

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