In the news, today, is the story that the Depart of Justice dropped all charges against former Senator and Presidential candidate, John Edwards. Edwards has been the focus of a couple of years worth of scandal. Having cheated on his terminally ill wife, and having taken what might have been campaign funds to support his mistress and love child, he was judged not guilty last month of accepting illegal campaign contributions. The jury was hung on five charges.
There is no law against cheating on your mate, but there are laws that limit what you can do with campaign funds. In this case Edwards lawyers apparently sold the jury on the idea that one or more of the donors gave him money for other purposes, like, to take care of his mistress and illegitimate child.
Understand my opinion of John Edwards. I knew from the first time I heard him speak that he was a slime ball. He still is slimy, and always will be slimy.
In this one case I will side with Edwards, greasy slob that he is. I believe there should be no restrictions on political contributions. To do so is to limit freedom of speech in this country. However, I would limit those who could make those contributions to US citizens and registered voters in the political subdivision of interest in the election.
We could have a much better political system if donations to political candidates were limited to those voters who live in the candidates geographical area of representation. If your candidate is running for Representative for the Fourth District, only people who live in that district should be allowed to contribute to the candidates running for that slot.
If a candidate runs for the US Senate, then the residence of all donors must be in that state. The same for Presidential contributions. The contrubutors must be US citizens and registered voters who live in the United States of America. No Chinese money in this system.
I don’t believe there should be any limit on how much people can individually donate. They should be able to donate as much as they wish with the restriction they must live in the geographical area of representation.
To monitor all this we would rely on each candidate to police their opponent. Each candidate would have to post online every donor’s identification, and how much they donated. Records of each contribution should be posted online within twenty-four hours. There would be no restrictions on how the candidates spend the money. If a candidate is caught taking out-of-area money, then they should be disqualified from running for office.
This would give us a simple system that is manageable. Right now, our system is not manageable, and candidates have to spend too much time making sure they don’t step out-of-bounds of legal restrictions where there should be almost no restrictions in the first place.
Putting restrictions on our political donations is limiting our right of free speech. Democracy takes a hit.
I know how some people feel about rich people donating to elections. It has turned out that rich people are not the problem with the system. The problem is with money aggregated from all over, and that means all over the world.
Do you agree with me?