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Alistair
April 8 2013, 03:40:48 PM
http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/07/opinion/lessig-washington-corruption/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

A great article (IMO) on the nature of the current problem in American Politics.

EDIT: I was just moderated for not providing my own commentary to this threads original OP, so in an effort to correct that, I will say that desite being generally American-liberal pro-personal-freedom/libertarian on issues such as free speech, I think a very strong and logical argument can and should be made that monetary donation is NOT, in fact, free speech and should not be held to the same level of protection under U.S. constitutional law.

In my view, there is a basic fundamental difference between speech, i.e. expressing an opinion verbally or in writing and being protected from Government repurcussions for that speech, and what I would descirbe as political corruption via monetary bribery. In short, there can be no way anyone can or should think that large-sized donation to political candidates come free of the implication of strings-attached quid pro quo expectations, stated or not, and that alone makes it something that should be avoided.

The difficulty is, of course, creating a system where the best candidates can all be equally funded by the State without creating a host of new exclusions or problems. In the U.S., in a system where every candidate was funded, you'd have elections with 10,000 candidated running! Clearly, thats not an improvement. So how can we get around that problem, still have a manageable number of candidates, and a system based more on debates, policy positions and the like, and less on funding differences, and avoid the deluge of too many candidates to manage?

As an aside, you may want to add to the stickied rules thread in here that posts of articles without added commentary is forbidden. I was honestly unaware of this rule, and apologize.

Jack Dant
April 8 2013, 03:55:39 PM
Speaking from the perspective of a country with recurrent party funding scandals, this is much harder than americans think.

Any system to limit large contributions will have loopholes. And if you close all the legal loopholes, there's always the suitcase full of cash.

The american system where all the donations are out in the open may even be the best compromise possible.

Synapse
April 8 2013, 04:56:48 PM
Given that I automatically seem to love anything lessig does, I'll have to go give a read.

Lallante
April 8 2013, 05:22:02 PM
Are there any systems worldwide where ALL contributions are banned and ALL political funding comes from a (qualifiable-for) state grant? I.e. a completely level playing field?

Zeekar
April 8 2013, 05:24:20 PM
Are there any systems worldwide where ALL contributions are banned and ALL political funding comes from a (qualifiable-for) state grant? I.e. a completely level playing field?

Not to my knowledge, but afaik there are usually imposed limits to the amount of funding you can get total.

Straight Hustlin
April 8 2013, 05:39:09 PM
My friend had an idea a while back that I thought was pretty assinine at the time, but the more I think of about it, the better it sounds.

Basically ATM when you make a donation, you either donate to a party or to a specific candidate's re/election fund. His idea was that instead of having the donations go directly to either a party or canidate, they all go into the general election fund, no matter who you are backing.

The funds would be made available to all the parties on an even split. He suggested having the funds be split amongst the top 4 parties as decided by polling. While currently any party that can amass something like 15% of phone polling can qualify for the general election fund, I cannot recall this ever happening as American politics are dominated by our two top partie. While this move will most likely not result in a totaly different party coming to power, I think it would grealy change how the election process pans out, as Republicans & Democrats would atleast have to acknowledge & discuss issues during the debates that they both would much rather avoid; such as campaign finance. I don't recall Obama or Romney talking about campaign finance reform during the debates, because as it stands its to the benefit of both ruling parties.

One thing I really like about this idea is it prevents so many loop holes from being abused. One such loop hole has been featured quite a bit in NJ lately as corruption scandal is playing out with an engineering firm. Here in NJ we have whats known as "Pay to Play" Laws. Basically after decades of collusion & corruption these laws came about where any business that has any official state work (like an engineering firm desgining public roads, parks etc.) has to report all of its poltical donations, & they cannot exceed a maximum of $3,000(IIRC). The way many companies (and the one featured in the news) have gotten around this is by having their employees write out personal checks for the maximum donation amount, & then reimbursing them for the donation via a bonus pay. Using the above proposed system, this loophole simply would not work, as you have no actual say on who gets the money, only that a maximum of 1/4 of your donation is going to your desired party/canidate.

I think this move would radically change the way politics play out & greatly reduce the amount & effects of money in politics. Is Defence contractor A going to donate 5 million dollars next election cycle if 3.75 million of it is going to candidates who may be either indifferent or counter to their goals?

TL;DR: Change political contributions from being a way to promote a particular candidate or party, to a way that improves the election process in general.

Jack Dant
April 8 2013, 05:46:25 PM
One of the big complaints I read about the US system is how the same companies contribute to both parties at the same time.

Wouldn't your idea just save them the trouble of making two separate contributions?

CastleBravo
April 8 2013, 06:28:04 PM
Just make political donations and political advertising in mass media flat out illegal. With the internet and social media you no longer need money to reach a large audience.

Keorythe
April 8 2013, 08:28:12 PM
Just make political donations and political advertising in mass media flat out illegal. With the internet and social media you no longer need money to reach a large audience.

Political advertising on TV isn't different than the internet or media. It's still political advertising and can be done by individuals or PACs.

You're talking about limiting the free speech of individuals to promote a person/value they believe in which is why most challenges to the system get squashed pretty heavily in the courts. And here is where everyone gets confused. "Money in politics" is based mostly in political advertising done outside of the elections and outside of the candidate's control. Yes there is some limited coordination but that's minimal. In a fictitious situation, if a group's leadership decided to suddenly switch sides there isn't anything a candidate or party can do.


If members raised the funds they needed from small contributions only, then many more of us would be the "relevant funders

This is misleading. Donations are capped per individual to a party. It doesn't matter if you're some poor guy on the corner or executive/shareholder with money coming out of your ears. PACs and similar groups get their strength from mass donations from their many supporters. He brings up John Sarbanes, D-Maryland, The Grassroots Democracy Act. Ok so let's take a look at it.

http://sarbanes.house.gov/free_details.asp?id=123

Taking one look at this and I can already see this thing being challenged in the courts right away. He's talking about federalizing that ability to lobby.


Establish a refundable tax credit to encourage grassroots campaign giving, stimulate outreach by campaigns to new voter populations, and foster civic engagement from a broader group of Americans. Also, launch a pilot Democracy Dollar voucher program to develop the necessary infrastructure for a successful voucher program.

Wat? Giving tax credits to encourage voting? Um, I guess so. So who oversees this and who is paying for this little operation that will cover 300 million people?


Establish a “citizen-owned” People’s Fund to provide immediate support to grassroots-supported candidates in elections where outside spending (i.e. non-candidate, non-party spending such as that of a super PAC and 501(c)4 organizations) significantly outpaces national norms.

So here's an interesting conundrum. A candidate is doing terrible and can't get enough supporters or advertising money. So a tax funded "fairness" fund is automatically created to help him out? Calling it "citizen owned" is a misnomer since it's provided and governed by a federal organization.


For those that aren't Americans and don't follow what we're talking about, here's a brief example in short terms much like Lessig does in his article.

Ok so lets say I hit the cap for party donations. I have all of this extra money from my job/drug deals/lemonade stands, etc. What's being argued here is there should be limitation on me blowing all of my cash on a TV commercial spot and an internet website about cats who support my favorite candidate. Then my buddy sees the site and flips out, wanting to help. So we collaborate and later draw in more people to our message. Suddenly our neighborhood is interested but coordinating individuals is pain in the ass. So we form Cats for XXX, Inc. Shit guys, we're a Political Action Committee also know as a P.A.C. But then other groups like Dachshunds for XXX candidate and Cougars for XXX candidate are also interested and they want to coordinate with us. After enough people join we become a Super PAC, Animal Noobs for American Liberties, Inc. (ANAL)! Since we aren't directly connected with the candidate, we have nothing to limit how much we want to spend on advertising, protests, and/or "get out the vote" door to door things. And this is where all of the millions of dollars go. Not to a candidate's pocket, but to advertiser's pockets to promote that person.

The biggest irony to all of this is that fact that it started as a result of Labor Unions wanting a way for their members to compete with big interests and other corporations in lobbying efforts.

Lallante
April 8 2013, 10:47:03 PM
Just make political donations and political advertising in mass media flat out illegal. With the internet and social media you no longer need money to reach a large audience.

Political advertising on TV isn't different than the internet or media. It's still political advertising and can be done by individuals or PACs.

You're talking about limiting the free speech of individuals to promote a person/value they believe in which is why most challenges to the system get squashed pretty heavily in the courts. And here is where everyone gets confused. "Money in politics" is based mostly in political advertising done outside of the elections and outside of the candidate's control. Yes there is some limited coordination but that's minimal. In a fictitious situation, if a group's leadership decided to suddenly switch sides there isn't anything a candidate or party can do.


If members raised the funds they needed from small contributions only, then many more of us would be the "relevant funders

This is misleading. Donations are capped per individual to a party. It doesn't matter if you're some poor guy on the corner or executive/shareholder with money coming out of your ears. PACs and similar groups get their strength from mass donations from their many supporters. He brings up John Sarbanes, D-Maryland, The Grassroots Democracy Act. Ok so let's take a look at it.

http://sarbanes.house.gov/free_details.asp?id=123

Taking one look at this and I can already see this thing being challenged in the courts right away. He's talking about federalizing that ability to lobby.


Establish a refundable tax credit to encourage grassroots campaign giving, stimulate outreach by campaigns to new voter populations, and foster civic engagement from a broader group of Americans. Also, launch a pilot Democracy Dollar voucher program to develop the necessary infrastructure for a successful voucher program.

Wat? Giving tax credits to encourage voting? Um, I guess so. So who oversees this and who is paying for this little operation that will cover 300 million people?


Establish a “citizen-owned” People’s Fund to provide immediate support to grassroots-supported candidates in elections where outside spending (i.e. non-candidate, non-party spending such as that of a super PAC and 501(c)4 organizations) significantly outpaces national norms.

So here's an interesting conundrum. A candidate is doing terrible and can't get enough supporters or advertising money. So a tax funded "fairness" fund is automatically created to help him out? Calling it "citizen owned" is a misnomer since it's provided and governed by a federal organization.


For those that aren't Americans and don't follow what we're talking about, here's a brief example in short terms much like Lessig does in his article.

Ok so lets say I hit the cap for party donations. I have all of this extra money from my job/drug deals/lemonade stands, etc. What's being argued here is there should be limitation on me blowing all of my cash on a TV commercial spot and an internet website about cats who support my favorite candidate. Then my buddy sees the site and flips out, wanting to help. So we collaborate and later draw in more people to our message. Suddenly our neighborhood is interested but coordinating individuals is pain in the ass. So we form Cats for XXX, Inc. Shit guys, we're a Political Action Committee also know as a P.A.C. But then other groups like Dachshunds for XXX candidate and Cougars for XXX candidate are also interested and they want to coordinate with us. After enough people join we become a Super PAC, Animal Noobs for American Liberties, Inc. (ANAL)! Since we aren't directly connected with the candidate, we have nothing to limit how much we want to spend on advertising, protests, and/or "get out the vote" door to door things. And this is where all of the millions of dollars go. Not to a candidate's pocket, but to advertiser's pockets to promote that person.

The biggest irony to all of this is that fact that it started as a result of Labor Unions wanting a way for their members to compete with big interests and other corporations in lobbying efforts.

Lol, it already works like this for TV in the UK

Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk 2

Keorythe
April 8 2013, 11:41:44 PM
Lall, come on now. This isn't the General area. Can you add a few more details like how it works, why you think it should be that way, and how it would function in the US where 1st amendment rights vary much differently that the tightly regulated TV media in the UK? Do you have an opinion on how regular UK citizens should be able to collaborate and promote or denigrate a candidate? From an outsiders perspective it seems you have little recourse and most of the advertising is handled by the political parties themselves.

Lallante
April 9 2013, 11:55:38 AM
Lall, come on now. This isn't the General area. Can you add a few more details like how it works, why you think it should be that way, and how it would function in the US where 1st amendment rights vary much differently that the tightly regulated TV media in the UK? Do you have an opinion on how regular UK citizens should be able to collaborate and promote or denigrate a candidate? From an outsiders perspective it seems you have little recourse and most of the advertising is handled by the political parties themselves.

My opinion (though this is not the case in the UK) is that each party would need to obtain a qualifying number of votes last election OR can obtain a qualifying number of signatures (lets say 100,000 or whatever), This would be the same threshhold for entrance into the debates etc, and could work seperately on a smaller scale for local elections.

Any qualifying party gets a fixed amount of state funding, a certain number of free TV slots on the BBC or other state broadcaster and radio. The parties could spend their funding how they liked but the detailed, itemised accounts of how they have done so would be published in full on a monthly basis on the internet. This is already pretty much how the UK system works for party political TV broadcasts so it is clearly workable.

No other form of political TV, radio, billboard or mailshot/leaflet advertising, by the parties or anyone else funded outside of this state funding would be allowed.

The idea would be to distance fund-raising from politics as much as physically possible. I appreciate this would be a radical change from the driving factors behind current elections. That's the whole point.

Alistair
April 9 2013, 02:53:21 PM
No other form of political TV, radio, billboard or mailshot/leaflet advertising, by the parties or anyone else funded outside of this state funding would be allowed.

What about something like a Union or Corporate Newsletter? Such things are very common here, where Unions (especially) but also a number of businesses "pay" to advertise internally to their membership? It's still money. It's still advertising (and an implied suggestion to vote a certain way).

Would that too be banned? And how hard would the Unions fight such a move?

Lallante
April 9 2013, 05:57:55 PM
No other form of political TV, radio, billboard or mailshot/leaflet advertising, by the parties or anyone else funded outside of this state funding would be allowed.

What about something like a Union or Corporate Newsletter? Such things are very common here, where Unions (especially) but also a number of businesses "pay" to advertise internally to their membership? It's still money. It's still advertising (and an implied suggestion to vote a certain way).

Would that too be banned? And how hard would the Unions fight such a move?

Internal mail/other forms of communication to a club or other established group that had opted in would be fine. Each political party could communicate with its own members as much as it liked, for example.

QuackBot
April 9 2013, 06:30:11 PM
internal mail/other forms of communication to a club or other established group that had opted in would be fine. each political party could communicate with its own members as much as it liked, for example.
That would be the wifey.

Sacul
April 9 2013, 10:39:50 PM
In Holland (NL) we have a system where as a new party you need x amount of signatures in every election area. When you are a party with parliament seats you will get money for the new elections and air time, radio and tv, according to size for free.
Donations are capped at 10k for anonymous ways with a stringent check if its not 100x10k per individual or organization. Above 10k its public. Its frowned upon to accept to large donations because politicos still fear being called e.g. Big oil puppets.

Funnily enough we are stable at 9 different political parties for abouŢ 50 years. A general type coalition will have between 2 and 4 member parties.

It has kept direct money influence at bay but looking closely at the system you see lobby groups assisting in a multitude of events from the meat industry organizing summer bbq's for parliament to big gas organizing seminars where press and mp's get lots of air time.

Peanuts according to the usa and i hope it stays like that.

Keorythe
April 10 2013, 06:13:55 AM
Lall, come on now. This isn't the General area. Can you add a few more details like how it works, why you think it should be that way, and how it would function in the US where 1st amendment rights vary much differently that the tightly regulated TV media in the UK? Do you have an opinion on how regular UK citizens should be able to collaborate and promote or denigrate a candidate? From an outsiders perspective it seems you have little recourse and most of the advertising is handled by the political parties themselves.

My opinion (though this is not the case in the UK) is that each party would need to obtain a qualifying number of votes last election OR can obtain a qualifying number of signatures (lets say 100,000 or whatever), This would be the same threshhold for entrance into the debates etc, and could work seperately on a smaller scale for local elections.

Any qualifying party gets a fixed amount of state funding, a certain number of free TV slots on the BBC or other state broadcaster and radio. The parties could spend their funding how they liked but the detailed, itemised accounts of how they have done so would be published in full on a monthly basis on the internet. This is already pretty much how the UK system works for party political TV broadcasts so it is clearly workable.

No other form of political TV, radio, billboard or mailshot/leaflet advertising, by the parties or anyone else funded outside of this state funding would be allowed.

The idea would be to distance fund-raising from politics as much as physically possible. I appreciate this would be a radical change from the driving factors behind current elections. That's the whole point.

Ok from both Lallante and Sacul's perspective, as a citizen you have no recourse to use your own money towards promoting a candidate using traditional media such as TV or radio. You are required to donate to a party and only they can handle any promotion. Am I understanding that correct? What about the internet? Leaflets pass out by hand? Again, I'm not talking as a party member but as a regular person.

Lallante
April 10 2013, 09:22:27 AM
Lall, come on now. This isn't the General area. Can you add a few more details like how it works, why you think it should be that way, and how it would function in the US where 1st amendment rights vary much differently that the tightly regulated TV media in the UK? Do you have an opinion on how regular UK citizens should be able to collaborate and promote or denigrate a candidate? From an outsiders perspective it seems you have little recourse and most of the advertising is handled by the political parties themselves.

My opinion (though this is not the case in the UK) is that each party would need to obtain a qualifying number of votes last election OR can obtain a qualifying number of signatures (lets say 100,000 or whatever), This would be the same threshhold for entrance into the debates etc, and could work seperately on a smaller scale for local elections.

Any qualifying party gets a fixed amount of state funding, a certain number of free TV slots on the BBC or other state broadcaster and radio. The parties could spend their funding how they liked but the detailed, itemised accounts of how they have done so would be published in full on a monthly basis on the internet. This is already pretty much how the UK system works for party political TV broadcasts so it is clearly workable.

No other form of political TV, radio, billboard or mailshot/leaflet advertising, by the parties or anyone else funded outside of this state funding would be allowed.

The idea would be to distance fund-raising from politics as much as physically possible. I appreciate this would be a radical change from the driving factors behind current elections. That's the whole point.

Ok from both Lallante and Sacul's perspective, as a citizen you have no recourse to use your own money towards promoting a candidate using traditional media such as TV or radio. You are required to donate to a party and only they can handle any promotion. Am I understanding that correct? What about the internet? Leaflets pass out by hand? Again, I'm not talking as a party member but as a regular person.

There would be some kind of de minimis value threshhold.

Jack Dant
April 10 2013, 11:57:17 AM
Ok from both Lallante and Sacul's perspective, as a citizen you have no recourse to use your own money towards promoting a candidate using traditional media such as TV or radio. You are required to donate to a party and only they can handle any promotion. Am I understanding that correct? What about the internet? Leaflets pass out by hand? Again, I'm not talking as a party member but as a regular person.
I would say there is a difference between using your own time and reputation to endorse and advertise a candidate, and paying people to do it for you.

So there is a difference between a well known CEO (or union leader) supporting a candidate if asked on TV, and the company (or union) paying to run a TV ad for the candidate.

Lallante
April 10 2013, 02:13:58 PM
Ok from both Lallante and Sacul's perspective, as a citizen you have no recourse to use your own money towards promoting a candidate using traditional media such as TV or radio. You are required to donate to a party and only they can handle any promotion. Am I understanding that correct? What about the internet? Leaflets pass out by hand? Again, I'm not talking as a party member but as a regular person.
I would say there is a difference between using your own time and reputation to endorse and advertise a candidate, and paying people to do it for you.

So there is a difference between a well known CEO (or union leader) supporting a candidate if asked on TV, and the company (or union) paying to run a TV ad for the candidate.

Yes exactly, and any grey area can be dealt with through a value threshhold

QuackBot
April 10 2013, 02:30:11 PM
speaking from the perspective of a country with recurrent party funding scandals, this is much harder than americans think. any system to limit large contributions will have loopholes. and if you close all the legal loopholes, there's always the suitcase full of cash. the american system where all the donations are out in the open may even be the best compromise possible.
Better not think with your dick too much then.

Sacul
April 10 2013, 10:22:32 PM
You cant make a add and say its in the name of e.g. PVV without the consent of that party. So no such thing as a PAC.
What does happen is that lets say the United Dairy Union will make a add saying they endorse party X in their policies.

We have one big exception in Holland, Geert Wilders PVV party isnt a political party nor organization and hence doesnt get any grants for election cycles. There hve been several rumours of him receiving large donations from the usa. If he was a normal party he would have been expelled from parliament.

Like i said we differ from the usa so much its hardly comparible.
-Our campaigns usually start just 4 to6 weeks before the actual election.
-During the campaign we have between 3 and 5 national debates (tv).
-Last number i saw is we spend 5% of what the usa spends per capita on elections.
-About 70% vote national (no need to reg in advance so true electorate), going to 50% for municipal elections.

One of the biggest reason USA politics is so corrupted by donations is the constant need for money. You have a perpetual campaign cycle between the house, senate and presidency.

Alistair
April 12 2013, 03:42:42 PM
One of the biggest reason USA politics is so corrupted by donations is the constant need for money. You have a perpetual campaign cycle between the house, senate and presidency.

Possible solution: Term Limits? One Term at a National-Level Office Only, then a mandatory 10 years till you can run again, and a 10 year ban on lobbying at the National level.

Work your onw term, work it ethicly and withotu consideration for personal gain or the next election, then let the next guy have a go.

Entrenched 30-years-in-office folks would be a nice thing to get rid of if it also helped get rid of the permanent campaign and the influence of cash donations.

Straight Hustlin
April 12 2013, 04:13:04 PM
Personally I think you could fix alot of the problems with career politicians in Congress & the House by, 1) limiting people to a maximum of (3) four year terms, weither consecutive or during the course of a life time; If you cannot do what you set out to do in 12 years, your not gonna do it in 40. This would be inclusive of time spent in both the house & congress; But not the presidency.2) Cap the federal pay for members of congress/house to the median house hold income of the US.3) Members of Congress/House on special boards that recieve access to privledge financial information as well as their immediate family should be barred from investing in anything other then government bonds during the course of their term & for a period of 4 years thereafter. Right now there are frightening few restrictions on how these senators/reps use the information garnered from these commisions. If a senator knows that say a particular company or industry is going to lose a large subsidy from the government, or that the government is going to start a new one for a different sector, there is an obvious temptation to use that information for financial gain. By barring them from investment, you greatly diminish their incentive to do this, and it basically tells them that if they want to invest in something, they should be investing in improving the future of the People of the United States, not in multi-national corporations, nor their personal fortunes.

Lallante
April 12 2013, 05:07:19 PM
It seems a bit odd to kick someone out of a job they are really good at after X years for no reasons when they have popular support.

MortyM
April 12 2013, 05:10:18 PM
Money is nowhere near as important in politics as people make it out to be. The believe is mostly due to a correlation causation misconception; the most popular candidates generate the most donations, and win because they are the most popular, not because of the money.
There is a much larger problem with american election politics and thats the media's complete unwillingness to do any kind of serious in dept coverage of issues and positions. Fix that, and the money becomes completely meaningless.

Straight Hustlin
April 12 2013, 06:10:31 PM
It seems a bit odd to kick someone out of a job they are really good at after X years for no reasons when they have popular support.And yet the presidency is limited to two terms for this exact reason, it is to prevent political dynasties. Unfortunantly name recognition plays as big, if not a larger role in getting someone re-elected then their effectiveness or policies.

Cool09
April 12 2013, 06:53:01 PM
In Canada parties are paid subsidies depending on how many votes they get. You can donate, but only up to $1,100 per individual, companies can't donate anything. The average contribution is $182. Most of that is then paid back to the contributor as a tax credit... so in the end only about 20% of total party funding is from the pockets of citizens, which is mostly small amounts from many different people. Very different to the megabux contributions allowed in the US.

QuackBot
April 12 2013, 07:01:14 PM
in canada parties are paid subsidies depending on how many votes they get. you can donate, but only up to $1,100 per individual, companies can't donate anything. the average contribution is $182. most of that is then paid back to the contributor as a tax credit... so in the end only about 20% of total party funding is from the pockets of citizens, which is mostly small amounts from many different people. very different to the megabux contributions allowed in the us.
And changed the back end.

dpidcoe
April 12 2013, 07:39:26 PM
Right now there are frightening few restrictions on how these senators/reps use the information garnered from these commissions. If a senator knows that say a particular company or industry is going to lose a large subsidy from the government, or that the government is going to start a new one for a different sector, there is an obvious temptation to use that information for financial gain. By barring them from investment, you greatly diminish their incentive to do this, and it basically tells them that if they want to invest in something, they should be investing in improving the future of the People of the United States, not in multi-national corporations, nor their personal fortunes. Very much this. iirc senators and congress are actually exempt from insider trading laws.

Also, I think there are just way too many ways to game the system by trying to limit donations. Making some kind of nationalized thing where all parties get equal funding might work elsewhere, but that's a bit of a scary thought to Americans. Current government controlling the funding of the people attempting to be the next government? No thanks.

The most straightforward solution (along with term limits) is to allow unlimited contributions from anyone, and require all contribution records to be made freely available to the public. Then have a zero tolerance policy for any BS involving things such as shell corporations to hide funding, or salting your list of contributors with thousands of $1 donations to hide the sketchy stuff in the noise. This gives you two advantages:
1) It's self policing, competing candidates can now jump down the throats of their opponents over sketchy donations.
2) In the event two candidates opt to not attack each other over accpeting sketchy donations, it's a lot easier for private citizens to spot "$1,000,000 from megacorp" than "$1000 from megacorp employee #1, $1000 from megacorp employee #2, ... $1000 from megacorp employee #999" and then raise a stink about it.

That will also put a lot of pressure on politicians to not only not accept donations that could be sketchy, but it'll also put pressure on donors to not do shady things if they want their donations to be accepted so that their favorite candidate can win.


fake edit:
While I was typing this, I started thinking of something else. Say your neighborhood has potholes everywhere up and down your street. Some politician runs on a platform of fixing potholes, so your entire neighborhood donates to the guy so he'll get elected and hopefully repair the street. The guy gets elected, your potholes are repaired, so now you all donate like mad to his reelection campaign since you're happy your street is fixed. At what point does this become not ok? It would obviously be wrong if only your street with all the donors got obvious special attention, but there would be enough ways to hide it that that's not a good standard to go by.

The best way to make sure that your street isn't getting fixed specifically because of your donations is to make sure that the politician has no way of knowing who donated to him. This seems sort of counter intuitive then, but what if there was a way to make donations work such that the politicians couldn't tell who had donated to them, and the donors has no way to prove who they had donated to? They could see how much money they're getting so they know if they're doing a good job or not, but they wouldn't know who it's from. In the pothole example, they'd know that people were apparently happy that potholes were being fixed, but not specifically which people, so they'd have no way of knowing which street to give special treatment to. If some neighborhood wanted to go out and claim it was all from them, there's nothing preventing some other neighborhood from going out and doing the same thing.

Alistair
April 12 2013, 07:44:50 PM
It seems a bit odd to kick someone out of a job they are really good at after X years for no reasons when they have popular support.

Alot of things seem odd if you like what it is they allow/do/represent.

For example, the same (American) party who thinks the State has every right to regulate, ban or have background checks/insurance requirements/registration to engage in 2nd Amendment rights, has seemingly no qualms about allowing Voting rights to be expressed without a basic ID check of any kind at the poll. I find that kinda odd, but supporters wouldn't. /shrug

The question was how to take money and the permanent campaign out of politics. Term Limits of a strict type would go a long ways to do that, as well as limiting the 10-term old folks who often wield all the power in congress from having such a chokehold over policy/legislation direction. It would also serve to help foster something more than the A. Republican B. Democrat system we have now. What was the re-election rate of incumbants lof late, like 95% isn't it? Think thats all about quality of Governing, when Congress has a 15% approval rating?


The best way to make sure that your street isn't getting fixed specifically because of your donations is to make sure that the politician has no way of knowing who donated to him.

Love this idea.

Maybe combine in some way with "all donations public/prosecute any BS" by listing every dollar donated only by PARTY affiliation of who it was donated to, not the candidate himself.

dpidcoe
April 13 2013, 05:15:19 AM
It would also serve to help foster something more than the A. Republican B. Democrat system we have now. What was the re-election rate of incumbants lof late, like 95% isn't it? Think thats all about quality of Governing, when Congress has a 15% approval rating? Traditionally American politics have always been the party in power vs the party who's against the party in power. Eventually the ruling party gets big enough to fracture into two bitter divisions, and the smaller party that was against them is now suddenly bigger than either of the split groups alone and wins by virtue of the fact that they're not the other guy.

The problem currently isn't so much that it's basically a two party system, but that both parties have built up enough tradition between each other to have rigged everything towards keeping the status quo.

QuackBot
April 13 2013, 06:01:14 AM
and yet the presidency is limited to two terms for this exact reason, it is to prevent political dynasties. unfortunantly name recognition plays as big, if not a larger role in getting someone re-elected then their effectiveness or policies.
Aurora148: what's the elite service for then?

QuackBot
April 13 2013, 07:01:37 AM
in canada parties are paid subsidies depending on how many votes they get. you can donate, but only up to $1,100 per individual, companies can't donate anything. the average contribution is $182. most of that is then paid back to the contributor as a tax credit... so in the end only about 20% of total party funding is from the pockets of citizens, which is mostly small amounts from many different people. very different to the megabux contributions allowed in the us.
Anything you want to live.

Sacul
April 13 2013, 05:31:29 PM
If anything limiting the terms in office will only up the need for $.
Atm some dems or rep will run on such a popularity wave the other party hardly bothers campaigning. Hence less need for campaign funding.
The problem isnt the time in office its the eternal election cycle.
Imo

F*** My Aunt Rita
April 13 2013, 11:14:38 PM
If anything limiting the terms in office will only up the need for $.
Atm some dems or rep will run on such a popularity wave the other party hardly bothers campaigning. Hence less need for campaign funding.
The problem isnt the time in office its the eternal election cycle.
Imo

That and publicly financed elections.

Sacul
April 14 2013, 08:44:43 PM
Out of curiosity. How much was spend on the last presidential election.
I remember a number of 1bill back when Gore-Bush jr rumbled (cant remember the source but maybe a yank can tell me its bullshit or no™

Zeekar
April 14 2013, 08:49:27 PM
Out of curiosity. How much was spend on the last presidential election.
I remember a number of 1bill back when Gore-Bush jr rumbled (cant remember the source but maybe a yank can tell me its bullshit or no™

Should be close to double of that.

http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/campaign-finance

ValorousBob
April 17 2013, 02:26:55 AM
The problem with term limits for the US Congress is that it would created a perpetual wave of new Representatives and Senators. The rules and practices of legislation in the US are extremely complicated, so the newer members of Congress often look for people with more experience to help them out. Right now there are other experienced Congressmen to help them, but even now a lot of newer people on Capitol Hill have to rely on lobbyists for help figuring things out. The lobbyists use this build personal relationships and gain influence, which would only get worse if we used to term limits to decimate the ranks of experienced legislators.

Victoria Steckersaurus
April 17 2013, 03:11:14 AM
well, we could consider making it a slightly less opaque, convoluted clusterfuck. And we could try to encourage intelligent people who can actually understand what they're doing to run for office.

dpidcoe
April 17 2013, 08:15:53 AM
The problem with term limits for the US Congress is that it would created a perpetual wave of new Representatives and Senators. The rules and practices of legislation in the US are extremely complicated, so the newer members of Congress often look for people with more experience to help them out. So a constant wave of new people will force things to be less complicated and biased in favor of the people who have been filling a seat for the last 40 years, sounds like a win to me.

Lallante
April 17 2013, 09:16:13 AM
Fresh Ideas? Sounds terrible.

Keorythe
April 17 2013, 10:27:26 AM
The problem with term limits for the US Congress is that it would created a perpetual wave of new Representatives and Senators. The rules and practices of legislation in the US are extremely complicated, so the newer members of Congress often look for people with more experience to help them out. Right now there are other experienced Congressmen to help them, but even now a lot of newer people on Capitol Hill have to rely on lobbyists for help figuring things out. The lobbyists use this build personal relationships and gain influence, which would only get worse if we used to term limits to decimate the ranks of experienced legislators.

I'll disagree on this. The rules and practices are the easy part. It's the connections made with other members that's the hard part. Freshmen Senators and Reps. have to be introduced to other heavy hitters through their own. Older incumbents often work as ring leaders and match makers. Then there are those that want to be professional politicians and move from job to job. So a House member tries to move to a Senate position then moves to a new area and runs there, etc. California is a prime example of the strengths and weaknesses of term limits.

Lobbyists have to be able to sell a water to a fish in an ocean. Old or new, the effect is still the same with the politicians unless the incumbents have become set in their ways and won't even change unless there's a HUGE swing in several polls. The funny part of all of this is that lobbyist vehemently oppose term limits. Deep pockets only works with people that will be there for a while and an incumbent who's in their pocket can work as a judas goat to steer newer politicians to their side saving them effort.

QuackBot
April 17 2013, 12:00:09 PM
so a constant wave of new people will force things to be less complicated and biased in favor of the people who have been filling a seat for the last 40 years, sounds like a win to me.
No you tell me you like me.

Synapse
April 19 2013, 04:03:30 AM
so a constant wave of new people will force things to be less complicated and biased in favor of the people who have been filling a seat for the last 40 years, sounds like a win to me.
No you tell me you like me.

Quackbot 2013: Change we can be computationally certain of.

Tarminic
April 24 2013, 11:01:37 PM
I feel like this is relevant to this discussion: http://www.ted.com/talks/lawrence_lessig_we_the_people_and_the_republic_we_ must_reclaim.htmlsource=facebook#.UXgDcFxap8s.face book

A few disturbing facts from this video - I haven't double-checked them myself but I've heard them repeated elsewhere:
1. Over 60% of all the money donated by Super PACs during the 2012 election cycle was raised by 142 people.
2. Between 1998 and 2004, 50% of the Senate and 42% of the house left the government to join lobbying organizations. When they did, they saw an average salary increase of 1,452%.

ValorousBob
April 25 2013, 12:08:42 AM
The problem with term limits for the US Congress is that it would created a perpetual wave of new Representatives and Senators. The rules and practices of legislation in the US are extremely complicated, so the newer members of Congress often look for people with more experience to help them out. So a constant wave of new people will force things to be less complicated and biased in favor of the people who have been filling a seat for the last 40 years, sounds like a win to me.

Why would new people force it to be less complicated? It'd likely stay complicated and we'd just get even less done. If we got rid of some of the retarded rules (like the filibuster) before we instituted term limits it shouldn't be a problem. But we can't bring in term limits without preparing for what effect that'll have on the system.



The problem with term limits for the US Congress is that it would created a perpetual wave of new Representatives and Senators. The rules and practices of legislation in the US are extremely complicated, so the newer members of Congress often look for people with more experience to help them out. Right now there are other experienced Congressmen to help them, but even now a lot of newer people on Capitol Hill have to rely on lobbyists for help figuring things out. The lobbyists use this build personal relationships and gain influence, which would only get worse if we used to term limits to decimate the ranks of experienced legislators.

I'll disagree on this. The rules and practices are the easy part. It's the connections made with other members that's the hard part. Freshmen Senators and Reps. have to be introduced to other heavy hitters through their own. Older incumbents often work as ring leaders and match makers. Then there are those that want to be professional politicians and move from job to job. So a House member tries to move to a Senate position then moves to a new area and runs there, etc. California is a prime example of the strengths and weaknesses of term limits.

Lobbyists have to be able to sell a water to a fish in an ocean. Old or new, the effect is still the same with the politicians unless the incumbents have become set in their ways and won't even change unless there's a HUGE swing in several polls. The funny part of all of this is that lobbyist vehemently oppose term limits. Deep pockets only works with people that will be there for a while and an incumbent who's in their pocket can work as a judas goat to steer newer politicians to their side saving them effort.

Hmmmm that definitely makes sense. Despite living in California, I hardly pay attention to our state level politics. I'll ask some of my professors what they think about the term limits we have.

F*** My Aunt Rita
April 25 2013, 12:33:49 AM
Hmmmm that definitely makes sense. Despite living in California, I hardly pay attention to our state level politics. I'll ask some of my professors what they think about the term limits we have.

It actually doesn't work as well as keorythe thinks it does. Instead of institution memory and internal policing residing in the governing body it got delegated to the state political party. If you want to have any chance for advancement you have to play by their rules or they'll cut you off from any future campaign funding. Even if you're independently wealthy, cross them and they'll fund a primary challenger to cut your balls off.

What you end up getting is a bunch of junior politicians that have to obey the party line. That would be all well and good but we don't vote for parties, we vote for individuals. At least in the ideal sense.

ValorousBob
May 13 2013, 03:28:14 AM
Hmmmm that definitely makes sense. Despite living in California, I hardly pay attention to our state level politics. I'll ask some of my professors what they think about the term limits we have.

It actually doesn't work as well as keorythe thinks it does. Instead of institution memory and internal policing residing in the governing body it got delegated to the state political party. If you want to have any chance for advancement you have to play by their rules or they'll cut you off from any future campaign funding. Even if you're independently wealthy, cross them and they'll fund a primary challenger to cut your balls off.

What you end up getting is a bunch of junior politicians that have to obey the party line. That would be all well and good but we don't vote for parties, we vote for individuals. At least in the ideal sense.

I have heard some similar things from one of my professors, apparently you have to suck some major Majority Leader dick to get anything you want.

F*** My Aunt Rita
May 13 2013, 11:41:21 PM
I have heard some similar things from one of my professors, apparently you have to suck some major Majority Leader dick to get anything you want.

I completely understand the desire of voters disliking career politicians who are more interested in backing legislation from the entrenched interests rather than their districts interests. And term limits seems at least in a superficial way an easy fix to that problem. It doesn't allow much time to go by for those kind of political relationships to build. And there really wasn't a suitable test case to point towards when trying to predict what term limits would do to the state government. But now that we have term limits and can see its effects, I think it's pretty clear that it doesn't fix the original problem of getting a more accountable government. Not that the system inplace prior to term limits was a bastion of democracy but as I said previously, at least before term limits the government was technically accountable. The difference may be hair splitting to some people, but we vote for individuals and not state political parties.

Recently though one big thing that I think has made our state government a lot more accountable is removing redistricting from the state house/senate and is now determined by a somewhat more objective committee. It made districts more competitive which pissed off both state party leadership and frankly that is something every state should institute. Regardless of how it'll change the political status quo. Making districts less secure to incumbents is always a good thing.

Synapse
May 14 2013, 03:21:41 AM
If you have a whole floor full of new senators/reps then there may be a good chance they will simplify the rules in order to get things done, which is fine by me. Less complexity means less room for politicking and more time spent with bills and voting...

Dorvil Barranis
May 16 2013, 02:18:17 AM
If you have a whole floor full of new senators/reps then there may be a good chance they will simplify the rules in order to get things done, which is fine by me. Less complexity means less room for politicking and more time spent with bills and voting...

Why are new congressmen more likely to want to simplify rules then ones that have been there for a while? Is "complexity" the real issue with nothing getting done on the Federal level? I think the lack of progress is due to hyper-partisan atmosphere we are in.

If I was to put a guess as to why things are so partisan, I'd say it is because Bush was so awful and the Dems having the nerve to elect a black president (i.e. racism), but that is a bit simplistic of course.

Victoria Steckersaurus
May 16 2013, 02:37:48 AM
It can actually be traced back to Gingrinch in 94. he championed the method of demonizing one's opponent, slandering them rather than really worrying about their positions. Call them anti-family, anti-flag, anti-child, anti-capitalism, etc. He literally wrote the book on it, and that was his advice. The trouble is that once you've told your constituents that your opponent is the scum of the earth, they don't really want you to work with them. Additionally, the electorate has started treating politics like a sport - all about winning and losing, and therefore if the other guy is winning, we must be losing. And if he's losing, we must be winning. So we've gotta keep him from winning, and damn the consequences.

So yeah, it's been almost 20 years of this shit, and the government has been becoming more dysfunctional as we go. In the 90s, we had Gingrich shutting down the gov in a fight with Clinton, then we had the democrats doing everything they could to shut Bush down once they were back in congress in 06, and then the republicans returning the favor in 2010, and continuing.

We're pretty much fucked.

F*** My Aunt Rita
May 16 2013, 06:06:58 AM
If you have a whole floor full of new senators/reps then there may be a good chance they will simplify the rules in order to get things done, which is fine by me. Less complexity means less room for politicking and more time spent with bills and voting...


Are you talking about the US congress? Other than the few rules stated in the constitution the majorities in both chambers vote in their own rules every new congress. I'm not sure how term limits would have an affect on that though.