Saturday, July 08, 2006

Support For: Cash Ain't "Speech"

While I've always been quite willing, when necessary and the occasion calls for it, to speak out as the lone dissenter, like everyone else I find it reassuring when my instincts seem to be shared by others. And so it has been with the Des Moines Register's Letters this morning (July 8) under the heading "Campaign Contributions Are Not Free Speech." All were consistent with my earlier (July 5) op ed on the Register's pages, "Line Blurs Between Campaign Contributions, Bribes." That column, and the letters from Bob Jewett, Diane Krell and Rob Robinson are all available at http://www.nicholasjohnson.org/politics/general/njdr0705.html.

. . . and speaking of campaign contributions, I won't mention names, but there's a "reception" for a possible Democratic Party presidential candidate designed to help a local Iowa City candidate for which the local candidate has announced that "to get in" one must pay $100. My guess is the presidential candidate would not only have had an opportunity to meet four times as many political operatives, but the local candidate would also have ended up with more money, if the "contribution" had been "suggested" rather than demanded, and if the suggested amount had been $25 rather than $100. The message -- to the citizenry and special interests alike -- is pretty clear: "We're going to Washington. You want to talk to me, to plead your case? You have to pay to play. Can't pay? I'm not interested in your issues anyway."

For a follow up, see "'A Bit More': Campaign Contributions," July 9, 2006. Photos and videos accompanying stories in the Des Moines Register and Daily Iowan following the event would seem to validate the concerns expressed here prior to the event.

1 comment:

John Neff said...

I recall a such an event in 2004 where it was said in advance that you had to pay a minimum of $50 to enter but that rule was scrapped and anyone could enter. Most of us made our normal contribution.

I thought who ever was responsible for the original rule was not very familiar with Johnson County Democrats.