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Rob Garbin's Blog

Excuse Me, I am Running for Congress

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I would like to suggest a way to reform campaign financing. First, I will say that my idea, of course, will need consideration by others before it is a fully fledged proposal, but I would like to lay out the foundations here. The main component of my idea is that a person seeking re-election to the Congress or Senate would have a set amount of money allocated to them by the government for their campaign. The idea being that no more money could then be given to the campaigner from outside sources since the money used in their bid for re-election would be set and strictly monitored. Each candidate would have to give an accounting of the funds used at the end of the election. Another aspect of the program is the creation of a strict no monetary donation, gift, or gratuities policy within the Congress and Senate. Any money, service, or gift taken from any source would be considered a bribe subject to the appropriate penalties.

Second, non-incumbent competitors would be capped to the same amount of money for their campaigns with the same accounting scrutiny. Basically, I am suggesting setting up an even playing field where victory would go to the person best able to harness their resources and promote their candidacy. In addition, since outside forces, such as lobbyists, wealthy individuals, and super-pacs, could still finance advertising for a candidate, I suggest another addition to my system. I suggest creating a law that will require any and all advertising outlets to fully disclose, within the ads, the sources backing any political advertising including names of key contributors. I believe the penalty for breaking this law should be imprisonment for 30 days and community service until the election is completed. This may seem harsh, but because the stakes have become so high, we need to set a strong example. Penalties for intentionally misleading advertisers could also be levied against the advertisers.

Finally, the source of the funds for the incumbent campaigns should come from some form of tax on all American Citizens. The tax should be an even amount for everyone and provisions should be made to make periodic increases for cost of living to cover inflation costs. While this may seem absurd, the amounts need not be as big as some may think. The candidate would only be given enough money to fairly campaign in their district or region, no money would be allocated for national ads, since it is to their constituents they are ultimately accountable to. Also, the amounts would be set even for all incumbents, which will make the pool needed for taxation easier to calculate

I know some of my thoughts may seem outlandish, but think about the situation. The cost to everyday citizens from corporate corrupted politics has been increasing exponentially in the last few decades. A fixed tax that would end the hold of lobbyists on our elected congresspersons and senators would be a small cost to pay for ensuring the security of our country. As for anyone who would say that these laws may step on their right to free speech, I would say that you are still allowed to make your point privately, but when you try to influence the functioning of the government that protects this right, you should have to stand up and say who you are. Also, like Hollywood stars that are given less protection under the free speech amendment, neither should those that finance politics be given as much protection. You are as much a part of the public domain at that point. In the end, citizens need to weigh the costs of the disastrous pro-corporation anti-middle class policies that have driven our country to the brink of bankruptcy against the cost of funding my solution through taxes.

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