Donations to Candidates

   Written by on October 31, 2013 at 4:01 pm

If you cannot vote for the candidate you should not be allowed to donate. What justification can there possibly be for allowing people and companies outside of a voting area to influence an election. Next week I will be going to the polls to vote for a local school board member and state officials. Why are people, companies, political action committees and political parties allowed to use funds to promote a candidate for whom they cannot vote and who will not be representing them? We need a simple rule change on political donations. That is, if you cannot vote for the candidate you cannot donate to assist him or her in an election campaign. Why should I be allowed to influence an election in another town, county or state? Suppose I decided I wanted to change the town council of nearby Drakes Branch. With a small “war chest” donated by people who have never heard of Drakes Branch, have never been to Drakes Branch, don’t care about Drakes Branch and are only interested in being involved in a take over I could easily affect the outcome of the town council elections. I could recruit candidates and outspend the current council. I could bring in professionals to recruit voters and provide transportation to the polls. I could orchestrate a “smear campaign” and malign the characters of the opponents. AND the really scary thing is I could do this with a few thousand dollars. Well, you would say, “Averett that won’t work. Everyone would know about it. They won’t allow themselves to be manipulated like that.” The answer is, that is exactly what is happening in our state and local elections right now. Donors from out of Virginia are sending money to help elect a candidate they or their union or their political party deem most beneficial to their NATIONAL organizations. They, using out of state money, are filling my mailbox, my email inbox, newspapers and other media with appeals for their candidate and slanders regarding the opponents. They would be calling my phone (if I had not cancelled my land line) and are even calling my cell phone. They are paying for signs, posters and advertisements. They are affecting the results of an election that should belong entirely to the citizens of Virginia. The next objection is, “But Averett, it takes money to win an election.” I agree but if all candidates were limited to local donations all would have the same chance. An example of this is horse racing. I love watching a horse race. The triple crown is the premier event of American horse racing. The runners are multi-million dollar animals. On the other hand you can attend a local claiming race where every horse is for sale for $5,000.00 and see a great race. There are photo finishes. There are long shots that win and favorites but most importantly a trainer can’t buy a race by running him below his class. The same applies to high school sports, and band competitions. Schools are grouped by size so the competition remains balanced. What would be the worst result of limiting donors to elections that directly affect them? Newspapers would sell fewer campaign ads. Television and radio would have fewer campaign spots, there would be fewer signs littering the landscape and fewer intrusions into our lives. Now that you mention it, there just isn’t a negative.

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