Letters to the Editor

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ELECTIONS: Public campaign financing is imperative

Letter by Martin Nyberg, Tacoma on April 10, 2012 at 11:16 am with 27 Comments »
April 10, 2012 12:46 pm

We applaud The News Tribune’s editorial warning that the 2010 Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court now threatens to hijack even judicial campaigns – along with this year’s elections – with super PAC spending.

We need public financing of campaigns at every level, including judicial campaigns at state levels where judges are elected. To roll back judicial decisions such as Citizens United that have authorized and empowered super PACs and the hijacking of our political process by great wealth, we need an aroused citizenry and a constitutional amendment. It may seem a daunting task to recapture democracy for ordinary citizen-voters, but the stakes are high and the nation as a whole is not well-served by plutocracy.

For over a decade, Washington Public Campaigns (WPC) has been working on just these issues. We’re urging Washington legislators and candidates – as well as city councils and local organizations everywhere – to call on the Congress to start the constitutional amendment process. This 28th Amendment must make it clear that corporations are not people, money is not speech, and public funding of campaigns (to prevent buying of election results by great wealth) is specifically authorized in the Constitution.

The 2012 elections are proving the need for fundamental change in how campaigns and elections are funded – and for a reversal of the Citizens United.

[Nyberg is the chair of Washington Public Campaigns - Pierce County Chapter.]

Leave a comment Comments → 27
  1. tommy98466 says:

    You forgot to mention the vast wealth of the Unions in this country that overwhelmingly support democrats. Should they be prevented from spending their money on campaigns? Their political clout and money sway just about every election. I don’t want my hard earned money going to anyone to run a campaign. Get your own money. If you have good ideas people will donate. Fold WPC and go away.

  2. Pecksbadboy says:

    tommy98466, I do not understand you comment other than pointing out that unions fall in the same category as Super PAC’s.

    Washington Public Campaigns is not a union.

  3. Main difference between unions and CPACs = we know to whom the unions donate; we do not know who donates to the CPACs.

  4. Frankenchrist says:

    The Republican War on Women.

  5. cargilekm says:

    Putting all partisan stupidity aside, I agree that we as a nation will never tax ourselves for political campaigns. So we should just make it a part of our state constitution that only registered voters can donate and they have to be able to vote on the campaign they donate to. This means all monies donated have to come from the district or state in which the vote can be cast. No outside money in political campaigns, or buying of politicians and cheaper campaign seasons. No unions, PAC’s or foreign money either. CAN’T VOTE, CANT DONATE.

  6. Hey Frankenchrist – I didn’t know McKenna was a Mormon. I sure do learn a lot by reading the Trib.

  7. Frankenchrist says:

    What is Frothy Santorum’s position on public financing? Missionary position, no doubt, with the government ensuring no-one does anything kinky.

  8. Frankenchrist says:

    PACs or no PACs, Romney will be utterly crushed by Obama and the majority of America in November…with utter ease.

    Repukes, sending in another retread RINO in Romney off the losers bench to compete with Obama when he couldn’t come even close to defeating McCain illuminates the desperate state of the GOP (Greedy Old Party.)

    “Real” conservatives are closing on being an endangered species when it comes to national elections, and nobody trusts a RINO, whether Republican or Democrat.

    I’ve got to hand it to the clowns in the GOP. They basically rolled over and dropped dead while Obama is prepping to mow through Romney like a hot knife goes through butter.

    What happened cons? All that s.h.t talk, and absolutely NOTHING to show except putting up another RINO to lose.

    Karma is a mo fo, ain’t it?

    Republican War on Women.

  9. “Their political clout and money sway just about every election.”

    Repeat the lie often enough.

  10. averageJoseph says:

    I think Obama should lead example. He made a pledge to use public funding for his last campaign but we all know noe he lied.

  11. menopaws says:

    We need to get rich PAC’s out of the picture…….It really upsets me when money floods in here from out of state in judicial elections, iniatives, etc…………And, I hated all the truly nasty ads in the Bush/Kerry campaign…………McCain/Obama seemed a bit better, but I think both men put the brakes on the truly nasty……….Outside corporations buying big elections should be frightening to everyone who believes in Democracy…….Big oil (Koch brothers) Wall Street (Goldman Sachs, Citibank, Chase—the list is endless and we haven’t hit the hedge funds yet!)—their power over free elections needs to be contained…..Along with one simple fact—by October, most voters are ready to throw up over the barrage of nasty and ugly stuff coming from all the Super Pac’s………People quit listening and that, too, is dangerous for Democracy…..Democrat, Republican…..(Soros or Koch) it doesn’t matter. We need to rein them in before corporate America owns our government completely……..then, let’s go to work on lobbyists and Congress!!!!!

  12. IMO – Forty’s views would be $ to Rpots GOOD; $ to Dems BAD.

    Cargilekm – I agree that only registered voters should be allowed to contribute, in the amounts currently allowed, and only either directly to the candidate’s reelection committee, or to a party reelection committee. BUT I would like to see this at the federal level as well.

    The next best way would be thru public funding/

    And before the rpots howl – yes both ways would end contributions and spending by unions as well as corportions, pac’s etc.

    Kluwer – maybe not every election, but money and the lack there of sure impacted the GOP primaries.

  13. sumyungboi says:

    In the end, the voter must make up his/her mind when they fill out their ballot. What the letter writer seems to be suggesting is that people are too stupid to hear arguments and then decide. Yet, my wife’s union sends her sample ballots all the time and how she should mark them, but that’s okay. In addition, if this is what people think, then I would suggest that each classroom in public school be appointed a “counter-point” to whatever the teacher is pushing.

  14. MarksonofDarwin says:

    So, if campaigns are run solely on public financing, (read: taxes) then how will we decide which candidate gets what amount? Are there going to be qualifications and a litmus test for each candidate to pass? Most importantly, if the government (read: incumbents) are going to be the final arbiter of their own competition, how do we ensure they’re being fair?

    Government in charge of financing elections….what could possibly go wrong?

    There is no doubt that there is a problem with “buying elections”, but let’s make sure the cure isn’t worse than the disease.

  15. averageJoseph says:

    Main difference between unions and CPACs is people choose to contribute to CPACS.

  16. Union donations have to be approved by majority vote of union members.

  17. Never heard of a corporation getting approval of its workers before making political donations.

  18. lylelaws says:


  19. Main difference between unions and CPACs is people choose to contribute to CPACS.

    That whole bit about anonymous donors giving unrestricted amounts can be ignored….right?

  20. averageJoseph says:

    We are not talking about Buddist Nuns bB.

  21. Harold Simmons, Bob Perry, Philip H. Geier Jr., Foster Friess, Sheldon Adleson, Jerry Perenchio….nope, don’t see any Buddhist nuns in the group…not saying that none of them might not enjoy playing dress-up now and then but I don’t think any of them could keep their vows.

  22. Eat the rich.

  23. aislander says:

    No class warfare at all…

  24. aislander says:

    But, really…just no class.

  25. There is class warfare alright, the right has been waging war on the poor and the middle class since 1980.
    The sad fact is, they are winning.
    Until supply side economics became the conservative ideal and foisted upon the US, we were a prosperous nation, now we have very little middle class left and our poor are growing in numbers so fast we can’t count them.
    Trickle down economics is the worst thing the right has ever done, in a very long list of rotten policies they have forced on the nation.
    Conservatism is whats wrong with this country.

  26. aislander says:

    “…growing in numbers so fast we can’t count them.”

    The OWS people can actually do something useful by combining ALL their fingers and toes so that lefties can finally count. I haven’t seen any other positive product of their assembling.

    Unless you count all the feces and other appetizing stuff…

  27. Unless you count all the feces and other appetizing stuff…

    And people wonder why I keep seeing Freudian significance in their posts….

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