Thursday, June 29, 2006

Money & Politics

The Noe Conduits - illegal money, likely stolen from Ohio's injured workers, knowingly laundered into the Bush-Cheney war-political machine. No way, no way, these veteran political figures didn't know exactly what they were doing - Betty and Maggie in particular point out legal technicalities at city council and at the Board of Commissioners religiously. Neither deserve to keep their public office one more day.

Kudos to The Blade for their investigation, as they write:

Since The Blade broke the story last year of problems in Noe’s failed $50 million state rare-coin funds and his close ties with Gov. Bob Taft’s office and others in Columbus, 14 people — including several gubernatorial aides and the governor himself — have been convicted or charged with crimes.

We Dems have our problems, to be sure, but we can all hold Ohio Republican "leaders" responsible by sweeping Blackwell, Montgomery and their House and Senate leaders out of office this fall. In fact, if Betty and Maggie don't resign, it will even more deeply hurt the entire GOP ticket this fall, especially here in Lucas County.

Among the solutions to the problem of money in politics: public financing. A new national public opinion survey shows support is growing. Here is analysis by Nathan Newman:

The result is bipartisan with eighty percent of Democrats, 78% of Independents, and 65% of Republicans support this reform.

What's important to emphasize is why voters said things would improve with public financing of elections.

82% of voters believe it is likely, as a result of publicly financed elections, that candidates will win on their ideas, not because of the money they raise.

79% said it would allow candidates with good ideas rather than just the rich and powerful to have a shot at winning elections.

77% said that special interests would not receive as many favors, tax breaks and deals from politicians.

This last point is important. Public financing of elections are NOT a policy that will increase government spending; in fact, it's almost guaranteed to pay for itself many times over with less tax and government contract giveaways and more honest, cheaper services. 77% of the public recognize that our present system of legalized bribery costs the public every day, so replacing it with public financing will be a cost-saver.

I suggest something of a mix of public-private, something stonger than the weak Presidential Election Fund - which clearly is no disincentive to corruption. I value people's ability to support a candidate of their choice with honest contributions - its how I got elected twice, after all. But when you look at state and federal races that cost into the millions and which increase every cycle, and react to the resulting scandals and wasted tax dollars - the concept of public financing begins making sense.

Finally, the U.S Supreme Court made a significant decision recently about contribution limits, which gets a brief discussion at Democracy Now!. Reform has a long way to go in this country of ours.


Anonymous Lucas County Democrat said...

You are so on target about Maggie & Betty. It is really ironic that Thurber is caught up in this "conduit" business and failure to report gifts on her ethics report. Wasn't it good old Maggie Thurber who chastised Sandy Isenberg about her roof deal and rode that horse to victory in the County COmmissioners' race? I guess if it is Maggie being unethical or committing illegal acts that it is ok! She ought to resign!

4:07 PM  

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