Our campaign finance system is corrupt.
Money is also often a factor not only in elections, but also in what motivates our elected officials and how they spend their time. Also, the loopholes to hide money and avoid detection are like a broken dam that swallows up anyone in a smooth stream… you and me. This is a threat to our democracy.
As the nation embarks on another frenzy of political fundraising and spending, we must end this arms race. According to Open Secrets, federal spending for the 2020 election totaled $14.4 billion. That's double what it was four years ago, and almost five times what it was twenty years ago. Open Secrets reports that "soft" money spent by SuperPACs and "dark" money groups that don't disclose their donors accounted for about $3.3 billion of that total.
And just wait until 2024. In the 2022 midterm elections, excluding presidential races, federal and state races totaled $16.7 billion, a new midterm record, according to Open Secrets.
Winning a Senate seat in a swing state can now cost nearly half a billion dollars. More than $491 million was spent on the 2022 Georgia Senate race. More than $418 million was spent in Pennsylvania.
And all these expenses were controlled by a small part of our citizens. About 75% of the money in federal tenders came from the elite class of donors: 0.52% of Americans, according to Open Secrets. In other words, it is undemocratic.
PACs and super PACs are a growing electoral nexus. And what they give is in proportion to what they receive. Financial institutions and healthcare PACs are major contributors, and in both cases 95% of their donations go to operating organizations. While most polls show that about 20% of Americans support and respect our Congress, should we be surprised that every member of the House and Senate won in the last election?
More and more "games" are controlled by "dark money" players who use super PACs to avoid detection. Individuals and foreign governments can and do use the same dark money channels and methods that billionaires, global corporations and major alliances use to hide the source of their funding.
Now anyone with enough money can set up and manage campaign spending through various LLCs, "nonprofit welfare agencies" and super PACs with fancy names so that voters or state and federal election officials know where their money is. to know arrived
It has become a national security issue that must be addressed by both sides.
As you understand, money drives the actions of our representatives. Bidders who spend the most almost always win as fundraising pressure mounts. From day one, members of Congress spent half their time (and in many cases more) serving constituents rather than fundraising, building relationships, and researching policy. Citizens temporarily relinquish their roles in private society and then, as described in the Federalist Papers, completely lose opportunities for career growth and prosperity.
Our elected officials work primarily for our benefit, so there is no confusion.
Americans no longer believe that the government is responsible for their interests. They see it as promoting the interests of those who can pay to play. Recent Supreme Court decisions place a direct obligation on us to address this issue through a constitutional amendment. That's why we're part of America's Promise, a group of more than 100,000 professionals, elected officials, business owners, volunteers and advocates working for our freedom to pass a constitutional amendment to limit political spending. :
Americans are united in this idea. A 2018 University of Maryland poll found that 75% of the public, including 66% of Republicans, supported the change. A recent CBS News poll found that 86% of Republicans and Democrats who agree that democracy is under threat cite the influence of money in politics as the main cause of that threat.
Our forefathers in their wisdom laid the groundwork for amending the constitution in such cases and we have done so many times. Shortly after the founding of the nation, we adopted the Bill of Rights. As a result of the Civil War, we passed amendments that outlawed slavery and protected the rights of former slaves. We made changes that included strengthening women's suffrage and civil rights.
With this change, we can decide for ourselves how best to protect our voters, our elections, and our future from the influence of unregulated money from all sources, including foreign governments. We will be able to stop the black game and demand the disclosure of the sources of financing of campaigns and election campaigns. We should at least know who is trying to shoot our politicians and our government.
This is another constitutional moment when Americans recognize that our representative democracy must be preserved and strengthened for civic trust, national unity, and constructive problem solving. It is time to take action to ensure that Americans have the freedom to participate as fairly represented citizens and an honest voice about the power of concentrated wealth.
Read about America's promise to transform our freedom at www.americanpromise.net.
Tom Leppert served as mayor of Dallas from 2007 to 2011. Ann Drumm is an organizer with American Promise of North Texas. They wrote this for the Dallas Morning News.
This article, part of the American Average series of opinions, calls for a constitutional amendment to limit campaign spending.
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