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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Because Everyone Trusts Chris Christie To Do the Right Thing with His Political Power

Posted by Paul Constant on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 9:44 AM

I can't quite believe that we've reached a point as a nation where politicians are openly calling for the removal of campaign finance reform. But Scott Conroy puts it right up in the top of his story:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday called for the abolishment of current federal and statewide campaign finance rules, and instead supported allowing unlimited donations to individual candidates with a public notification required within 48 hours.

“If somebody, you know, wants to write me a $100,000 check for my campaign, great,” Christie said of the system he is proposing. “Forty-eight hours later, everybody who has access to the Internet’s going to know that Mr. Smith gave me $100,000. And if all of a sudden I start talking in a way after it happened that’s favorable to Mr. Smith’s business, then you’re going to know that my price is $100,000.”

No. Look. If you want to, you can easily avoid this kind of internet transparency. It just gives the appearance of transparency without actually changing anything. The thing that Christie's not admitting is that people with that kind of money are very good about moving money around in obfuscating ways. In his libertarian/technocratic hypothetical dream world, there's no way to be sure that Christie isn't trading money for favors. Christie's basically asking the American public to trust him. And the fact is, the American people just don't trust him.

A simple truth is being buried with all this talk about transparency: Campaign finance reform isn't just about identifying where the money in politics is coming from. Campaign finance reform should also be about limiting the amount of money involved in politics. We're all humans. Money influences all of us. It influences our decisions and it can buy access that other people simply can't afford. We should absolutely be limiting the amount of money that political campaigns can take in. Political campaigns should be about the sharing of ideas in public forums, not about who can afford the most advertisements.

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