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Campaign Finance Reform and Legislative Responsibility

If there is any group institutionally incapable of legislating campaign finance reform it is the US Congress. Each and every individual member proclaims that they are not corrupt but the system must be changed to prevent corruption. The melange of rules and regulations they wish to impose on us in the name of reform are clear examples of how Washington thinks. In order to prevent interest groups as diverse as the Sierra Club and the Club for Growth from expressing a political opinion, the law would prevent these groups from using privately raised funds to buy air time and newspaper space to criticize politicians within some number of days before an election. The sickest part of this restriction is that nearly all of the campaign finance reformers readily admit that it is likely unconstitutional. But they need to place it in the bill to get support from some politicians. In other words, "although we are required by oath to support and defend the Constitution, we are willing to propose a law that we all know violates the First Amendment Restrictions on political speech because it is the only way we can get our bill passed."

Enron has become the current hobby horse of the anti free speech crowd that styles themselves as reformers. One means to highlight this corruption, and remember nobody who took Enron money will admit it influenced their decisions but they are returning the money anyway, but it did not influence their votes. They have relied on the media to report the startling "fact" that Enron contributed millions of dollars to various politicians and parties. But as George Will has pointed out, corporations have been prohibited from giving money to politicians since 1907.

Instead the media has dishonestly represented the actual facts in the pursuit of an agenda, campaign finance reform, that is in their own interest. That is to control the debate through reporters, news readers and editorial pages. Corporations may give money to political parties. Individuals may give money to individual candidates subject to certain limits. Political action committees may give money to individual candidates, subject to certain limits. But when the reporting is done the headline is not: Enron gives $1 million to Republican Party and Enron executives give $2 million to President Bush. It becomes Enron gives $3 million to President Bush.

Can we really trust media outlets with a vested interest in campaign finance reform if they can’t even present the facts honestly?

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