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Monday, June 26, 2006

How To Make Me Stop Reading

Posted by on June 26 at 15:31 PM

Dick Kelley has been complaining that we’re not giving him enough coverage in The Stranger. Today, in what I assume is another installment in his campaign for more Stranger attention, he sent me an email that begins this way:

Eli,

The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld Vermont’s right to regulate campaign finance, but struck down its contribution and spending limits as too low because they were mandatory.

This decision has nothing to do with either my refusal to accept contributions above $100 per person per election, or with my promise to introduce an Arizona-type Clean Campaign bill in the January, 2007, session…

“Something important happened today, but it had nothing to do with me” not a great way to start a story pitch, Dick.

(The full email, just in case someone else wants to read all the way through, is in the jump.)

Eli,

The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld Vermont's right to regulate campaign finance, but struck down its contribution and spending limits as too low because they were mandatory.

This decision has nothing to do with either my refusal to accept contributions above $100 per person per election, or with my promise to introduce an Arizona-type Clean Campaign bill in the January, 2007, session. Vermont's limits were all mandatory. I have never proposed mandatory limits on spending or the kind of extremely low contribution limits Vermont legislated.

My proposal, modeled on Arizona and Maine law, is to allow any candidate to opt into a "Clean Campaign". To qualify, he or she would have to collect signatures and $5 contributions from a few hundred voters in the district. Once qualified, the State would fund a modest campaign for the candidate, and the candidate could not raise or spend any more private money. This would be entirely voluntary. If another candidate for the same office were to opt out of the Clean Campaign rules and raise and spend more private money, the State would give the Clean Campaign additional funds to level the playing field. Candidates opting in could also advertise that fact in their campaign materials.

Weakening the link between big contributors' funding of legislative campaigns and our lawmaking is essential to finding the legislative will to deal with our State's problems.

I would be happy to talk with you about this anytime. Thanks.


CommentsRSS icon

Since we're on the topic, isn't it about time for another Darcy Burner article?

Hey Eli, you messed up the link to Dick Kelley's campaign website. Here's the correct link:

Kelley in 2006


Oh, BTW, are you saying that you don't think the idea of Clean Elections, as espoused by Kelley, is worthwhile?

I think I've had my fill of vacant "leaders" with a compelling backstory who look commanding on camera, and are versed in the ways of rousing the attention of a cynical journalist, Eli.

Dick Kelley knows how the machinery works, how to get things done, and actually understands the details. We need some of that right now.

If I want to be entertained, I'll watch Wondershowzen.

Well, I for one am looking forward to hearing them all debate at the 43rd District Democrats Candidates Forum on July 18th at Town Hall (8th and Seneca?) at 7:30 pm, but I'll probably ask questions at the 6 pm meet and greet before when they'll take personal questions one on one.

Good thing it's free, and open to everyone.

Kelley's attempt at do-it-yourself-campaign-finance-reform is really kind of strange.


First of all, Washington State already has arguably the most transparent campaign finance reporting in the country (see assessment by the Campaign Disclosure Project). Every WA voter should take a look at the on-line database at the Public Disclosure Commission. All details of contributions and expenditures are easily available for your perusal. This is your opportunity to keep track of who might be influencing your legislators.


Second, Washington already has a $700 cap on contributions from any single source. This applies to individuals, businesses, PACs, unions, etc. So what is special about a $100 limit instead of $700? Are our legislators so easy to buy that they'll sell out for a mere $700? What about $200? Is that still a 'dangerous' level? If a candidate gets 50 $100 contributions from people belonging to a particular group, will he/she feel 'bought' by that group?


So what, exactly, is Kelley trying to prove?

It's funny how Eli dismisses a candidate based on one paragraph of one e-mail... but Darcy Burner does jack shit to establish herself as a strong candidate (read: fundraising doesn't quite count) over several months, and he's still riding the hood ornament of that bandwagon.

What the heck are you talking about, Gomez???

Darcy has been working her butt off for months to get people -- especially Democratic leaders -- to take a moment to listen to her and to see that she is a strong candidate.

Have you ever heard her speak? There's a reason she's bringing in the bucks. She knows how to deliver a message!

State her platform, Mouse.

Heh. EXACTLY my point.

www.tut.by

www.tut.by

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