Politics & Policy

Rich Liberal Donors: Stop Us Before We Donate Again

Big-dollar Democratic donors urge Washington to ‘stop the power of money in Congress.’

A group of 60 wealthy donors, including many top Democratic donors, sent a letter to Congress on Friday calling on lawmakers to limit the power rich individuals and corporations can have in elections.

“We who sign this letter raise and give substantial sums for elections,” the letter reads. “In federal and in many state and local elections, and even elections for state courts, extraordinarily wealthy individuals and powerful corporations exercise vastly outsized influence. We urge you to fix today’s broken campaign finance laws.”

#ad#The letter was signed by such Democratic supporters and fundraisers as Naomi Aberly — who bundled $500,000 for President Obama in 2012 — Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist; Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s; David DesJardins, an early Google employee; president of Stride Right footwear Arnold Hiatt; investor Alan Patricof; and Jonathan Soros, the son of George Soros.

As Politico points out, Jonathan Soros ironically runs the super PAC Friends of Democracy, which aims to “stop the power of money in Congress.”

The great influence of wealthy donors leads to many pitfalls, the signatories allege: Lawmakers are too dependent upon special interests, they focus too much on fundraising, and the American people are losing trust in their representatives.

In order to curtail the power of the wealthy, the letter calls for broad reform to the public finance system that includes tax credits, vouchers, and publicly funded matching funds for small donations. Public financing must be “adequately funded to allow candidates to rely on small donations and public funds and run a financially competitive campaign,” they say.

Representative John Sarbanes (D., Md.) introduced the Government by the People Act on Wednesday that would, if passed, implement a measure of public financing seemingly agreeable to the letter-writers. The act would create a “Freedom from Influence Fund” to match contributions of up to $150 at a six-to-one ratio and would provide a $25 tax credit for small contributions. Candidates who vow to only take small donations would receive $9 of public funds for every $1 in private donations.

Republicans in Congress have not expressed much interest in pushing the bill. But Sarbanes is hopeful: “I think we can build something that will be bipartisan over time,” he said. “It may not pass in this Congress — I’m not that naive. But when the window presents, we’ll have a very strong coalition and strong momentum behind this. I think it can be successful.”

— Alec Torres is a William F. Buckley Fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More