How to stop bil­lion­aire election buy­outs

Westside Eagle-Observer - - OPINION - By Harold Pease, Ph.D.

Presently, money for elec­tions can come from other coun­tries, states, coun­ties, or dis­tricts other than from where the can­di­date will serve to al­low out­side sources, those of wealth — even bil­lion­aires — to buy in­flu­ence. This of­ten di­min­ishes the power of the cit­i­zens them­selves to choose their own rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

More­over, those hold­ing “safe seats,” as for ex­am­ple, Demo­crat Nancy Pelosi and Repub­li­can Kevin Mc­Carthy, can ei­ther build up gi­gan­tic ar­se­nals to “nuke” a pop­u­lar con­tender or, worse, hand­off their un­needed dona­tions to a like-minded can­di­date in an­other state to fa­vor­ably im­pact elec­tions of­ten ad­verse to the will of its cit­i­zens. Th­ese out­side in­flu­ences have to stop.

More fund­ing al­lows more signs and lit­er­a­ture to be dis­trib­uted and more news­pa­per, ra­dio and tele­vi­sion ads to de­stroy your op­po­nent or get your mes­sage out, re­sult­ing in a higher prob­a­bil­ity of win­ning. The can­di­date with the most money and pub­lic­ity usu­ally wins and the rich, by their fund­ing, se­lect con­tenders long be­fore the peo­ple vote. There­fore, they dom­i­nate the re­sult. In many cases, more money orig­i­nates from out­side a vot­ing district than within. If no can­di­date could re­ceive money or in­flu­ence from out­side his or her district, it would stop much in­flu­ence ped­dling.

Lib­erty Un­der Fire is the lead ad­vo­cate for end­ing out­side in­flu­ences in our na­tion’s elec­tions and thus of­fers the fol­low­ing new amend­ment to the Con­sti­tu­tion. “All election fund­ing, out­side can­di­date’s per­sonal wealth (in­di­vid­u­als or or­ga­ni­za­tions), in all fed­eral elec­tions shall orig­i­nate from el­i­gi­ble vot­ers in the district served by the election and do­nated since the last election for the same of­fice.”

Bil­lion­aires or or­ga­ni­za­tions could still fund causes but not can­di­dates. Propo­si­tions are a part of most elec­tions and can be con­sid­ered with­out at­tach­ment to a can­di­date. This would not stop, nor is it in­tended to stop, the fund­ing or creation of ads for or against a can­di­date, or bal­lot is­sues, funded by per­spec­tive vot­ers within the district.

Un­der this amend­ment, the 1996 Bill Clin­ton cam­paign could not have re­ceived money from China to in­flu­ence the election, nor from any in­di­vid­ual not el­i­gi­ble to vote for pres­i­dent, nor could Clin­ton Foun­da­tion monies be used to in­flu­ence elec­tions be­cause much of that money comes from in­ter­na­tional con­trib­u­tors. Some of us still re­mem­ber the Bill Clin­ton Chi­nese Fundrais­ing Scan­dal involving DNC fi­nance chair­man John Huang and Chi­nese na­tion­al­ist Johnny Chung. The DNC was forced to re­turn more than $2.8 mil­lion in il­le­gal or im­proper dona­tions from for­eign na­tion­als, largely from China, to gain fa­vor in the Clin­ton Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Nei­ther could the Koch broth­ers, Charles and David, who fund many Repub­li­can Party can­di­dates on the right side of the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum, and Ge­orge Soros, or Tom Steyer, who fund Demo­cratic Party can­di­dates on the left, in­flu­ence any fed­eral con­test in which they can­not per­son­ally vote. This amend­ment would limit the bil­lion­aire class to the “pur­chase” of only their own con­gress­man or sen­a­tor — not a large group of them.

Both Soros and Steyer bankrolled far left An­drew Gil­lum’s Florida cam­paign for gover­nor, hop­ing to flip the state from red to blue, an­tic­i­pat­ing that the re­sult­ing elec­toral count in­crease could sway the na­tion for decades. Gil­lum “courted Soros’ or­ga­ni­za­tions and spoke at a num­ber of their gather­ings. When they met at San Fran­cisco [Stey­ers home town], he promised to back Gil­lum’s gu­ber­na­to­rial run.” Steyer “fun­neled about $800,000 into the Get Out the Vote ini­tia­tive prior to the Gil­lum run” (In­gra­ham An­gle, Au­gust 29, 2018). An ac­tiv­ity that was tar­geted to get Gil­lum elected; hence would be de­nied Steyer with the new amend­ment, as with most of the $30 mil­lion he promised to spend on the midterms.

Con­gress­men from “safe” dis­tricts could not “hand­off” their un­needed dona­tions to a like-minded can­di­date in an­other district. Nor could they hold over fund­ing from pre­vi­ous vic­to­ries to “nuke” a fu­ture op­po­nent. Con­tri­bu­tions are a form of vot­ing nor­mally in­tended for this can­di­date only and for this election only and they could only be ac­cu­mu­lated since the last election for that of­fice. Laws presently limit the amount of in­di­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tions, but the “rich” find loop­holes in do­nat­ing, as in the case of Gil­lum.

The “rich” have been in­volved in in­flu­enc­ing elec­tions at least since the 1896 “giants of the In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion” buy­out of Wil­liam McKin­ley for pres­i­dent when they used their money to bury op­po­nent Wil­liam Jen­nings Bryan. This amend­ment would not have stopped that, as all cit­i­zens elect the pres­i­dent — only a rig­or­ous en­force­ment of present law gov­ern­ing in­di­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tions could do that.

Nor would it have stopped J.P. Mor­gan’s 1915 pur­chase of the 25 lead­ing news­pa­pers in the United States, es­tab­lish­ing “Mor­gan ed­i­tors” over each, pre­sum­ably to in­flu­ence pub­lic opin­ion fa­vor­able to his in­ter­ests (Os­car Call­away, Con­gres­sional Record, Fe­bru­ary 9, 1917, Vol. 54, pp. 2947-48.). Nor would it have pre­vented Mor­gan and David Rock­e­feller’s 1921 creation of The Coun­cil on For­eign Re­la­tions or­ga­ni­za­tion to steer the coun­try into “Wall Street” dom­i­nance and global government, which now is self-pro­pel­ling al­though its founders are de­ceased. The CFR has pro­vided much of the lead­er­ship of both ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties and ma­jor news out­lets.

Nor will it to­day stop all of Ge­orge Soros’ 11 ma­jor in­flu­ence groups, some of which spon­sor ac­tiv­i­ties that bor­der on trea­son. Fund­ing An­tifa, Ka­vanaugh “Hear­ing dis­rup­tors,” and those ac­cost­ing Se­nate com­mit­tee mem­bers may have to wait for other so­lu­tions. But the amend­ment will pre­vent most bil­lion­aire election buy­outs. Ex­pect enor­mous bil­lion­aire op­po­si­tion.

Harold W. Pease is a syn­di­cated colum­nist and an ex­pert on the United States Con­sti­tu­tion. He has ded­i­cated his ca­reer to study­ing the writ­ings of the Found­ing Fa­thers and ap­ply­ing that knowl­edge to cur­rent events. He taught his­tory and po­lit­i­cal sci­ence from this per­spec­tive for more than 30 years at Taft Col­lege. To read more of his weekly ar­ti­cles, please visit Lib­er­tyUn­

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