February 22, 2012

Disclosure, not limits

The Sun's Jon Ralston calls for campaign finance reform to focus on disclosure rather than unconstitutional attempts to limit election money:

As McCain-Feingold proved and Citizens United cemented, you cannot constitutionally limit the amount of money in politics, so stop bleating about it. That’s not even the seminal problem in campaigns. It’s not the amount of money; it’s the amount of undisclosed money, or at least the amount not disclosed in a timely way. ...

I have decided that the best reform that could have the greatest, salutary impact on the political process is to allow unlimited spending, but — and this is no small but — the contributions must be immediately disclosed on the Internet.

What does immediately mean, you ask? That’s not so important, but no later than 72 hours. In most cases, 24 hours seems reasonable, especially for major races.

This puts Ralston on the same page as Justice Kennedy, who had this to say about campaign disclosure in the Citizens United opinion:

"With the advent of the Internet, prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and supporters."