A sacrifice by my own accident? Hmm

A sacrifice by my own accident? Hmm
A sacrifice by my own accident? Hmm

James 2020 Vision

James 2020 Vision
Dammit I'm good enough. Smart enough. Angry enough. Empathetic enough .. .

Monday, July 16, 2012

There Has Never Been a Better Time for Public Campaign Financing

Do you have about $20 per year, so we can operate a fair and clean democracy, across the entire nation, for every election?

I think you probably do.

If you hate Citizens United and have reached a point in your temperament that you are thinking about 3rd parties and term limits and rejoining the United Kingdom (?), you really should think Public-Campaign-Financing as a mechanism as a constitutional amendment of priority, addressing a major causality of a boatload of democratic process issues, that can
save our republic for the future.

Act like you think the Founders did and react properly to the right problems: it's representation, it's become FUBAR.




"All contributions by corporations to any political committee or for any political purpose should be forbidden by law."

- President Teddy Roosevelt, 1905




We have proven beyond a doubt that our current electoral campaign finance system mostly does not work for anyone but the wealthy. This inequity is why United States representative democracy has never truly been in place. If you think that historically what works well for the wealthy works well for you in the long run, then you may not agree with this solution.

During several periods in our political history, public campaign financing was offered by many people as a solution to the corruption and misrepresentation of communities that constantly occurs under our current system of campaign financing.

Instead of the repetition of praise of “the founders,” I wish we could act like them and create new mechanisms that repair and prevent the repetition of known mistakes in history. In respect of them, I think their souls would respect that.




The route to Public Campaign Financing has to be a new Constitutional Amendment because obviously Constitutional amendments are not ruled unconstitutional except by another amendment.

The anger and disappointment over our Supreme Court's decision, in Citizens United versus the United States, is swelling the ranks of democracy activists. It has been recently unifying them toward a goal of a Constitutional Amendment to repeal Citizens' United.  "I say hold-on there!" Citizens United is horrible but lets use this opportunity to both fix Citizens United and correct something long overdue that will reap benefits for democracy well beyond just the repeal of Citizens United. Public Campaign Financing would remove the target for every corporation and super pac benefiting from Citizens United. Many democracies around the world are succeeding using their own form of Public Campaign Financing. During several periods in our recent political history public campaign financing was offered by many people as a solution to the corruption and misrepresentation of communities that constantly occurs under our current system of campaign financing. The call for Public Campaign Financing is so old it is almost traditional American rhetoric. 



I support overturning Citizens United - and its underlying warped philosophy that corporations are people. Use of the wide-spread, and bubbling energy and anger relating to Citizens United, and to all the corrupting influence of money in our democracy, should be exploited, to finally create Public Campaign Financing. This historic amendment would cause Citizens United to become MOOT and introduce full representative democracy where over 100 million non-voting eligible citizens finally become represented. The advantages of PCF are numerous and the arguments against these advantages are very hard to make. The whole proposal for PCF makes so much logical sense it makes an effort to introduce a constitutional amendment to defeat Citizens United look trivial in comparison.

"The greatest moral question which now confronts us is: Shall the trusts and corporations be prevented from contributing money to control or aid in controlling elections?" 
                                  - Defeated Presidential candidate Judge Alton Parker, 1904.

Candidate campaigning has been tainted by the dollars of the few wealthy over the interests of the poorer many since our inception. I don't need to mention examples of the corruption, the resulting absence of representation, the conflicts of our interest created by massive dollar amount campaigns. I won't mention the many examples of decades of fighting against large money donors to get our congress to do something, anything. After those many long, often ideological, fights, when we think we are about to get something with all of our interests in mind, we get watered down half-measures of legislation that are partially representative of us all.





Nearly 50% of our federal representatives, 261 members of Congress, are millionaires. Among us, the numbers of millionaires are 3 - 4%. The first priority on their first day as elected representatives is to start raising money to get re-elected. A US Senator from a rural state will have to raise on average $20,000 per week once elected to prepare for re-election. That Senator will have to ration his time for meetings with those ablest to re-elect him, not time finding solutions to our problems. Our two presidential candidates will spend nearly $1 billion on this election, up hundreds of millions of dollars from the last general election.

How much are we spending on elections? From Ryan Borek, Executive Director, Take A Stand PAC: "In 2010, researchers believe approximately $4 Billion was spent on the midterm election. 2008's Presidential Election cost over $1.7 Billion not including other elections and likely topped over $5 Billion. The off years such as 2009 tend to lag significantly behind at around $2 Billion. The average US Senate race costs around $4-7 Million, with the average US House race costing $2-6 Million. State elections cost significantly less, usually around $500,000. Local elections can cost as little as $5,000 depending mostly on filing fees. It is difficult to ascertain exact costs as the system is not designed to keep track of state or local spending in any central location. You can find the exact spending for any single federal candidate at FEC.gov, however you would need to contact each individual state's election office to find the spending on a state or local candidate."

Per person based on current population and the above estimate of $5 billion per year, a standard General Election would cost approximately $15.87 each. Who would not be willing to pay $16 per year to better ensure real representation for all of us, without conflicts of interest, without corruption of our elected officials?


In the ruling of the Supreme Court in the now famous "Citizens United," corporations were given the status of an individual in the practice of petitioning government their grievances and exercising free-speech. Essentially in the invisible center of every corporation lies a being, a being that pays taxes and wants legislation that favors them, as if they were individuals with unalienable rights like us.

This interpretation of free speech and who or what can participate monetarily in our elections was greatly damaging to representation in that it tipped the scales even more toward more robust representation of those of greatest means. It was not enough that the entire executive board of a corporation is entitled to use free speech and vote their minds as individuals. Now an invisible new being in the middle of the conference table is able to pool its larger amount of resources and out-bark the general populace, or any target population they may, thereby manipulating all of our futures un-representatively.

Enter the only best answer: the 100% public financing of every electoral campaign in the United States of America. Below is educated speculation of what happens after Constitutional Amendment number twenty-eight that mandates this change, has gone into effect:

1. When there is no more purse for the coinage of the lobbyists to be dropped into at our elected representatives offices, they'll have to adapt. The lobbyists for corporations and unions and smaller governments will get real jobs in the private industry, and vanish in one day from Capital Hill, never to be seen again, so long as the 28th Amendment is the law of the land. Citizens United and all other rules as they pertain to corporations or any lobby will matter no more because all campaign material and money must come from the public fund only. Gifts that benefit an election of any politician, such as, but not limited to, travel junkets and paid instructional seminars, by interest groups and the like, to our representatives and candidates will remain illegal.

Some lobbyists find a job in a related field practicing an American tradition: marching  around all day outdoors in front of the capital building carrying protest signs advertising slogans about issues. "No wooden handles allowed guys! Stay within the yellow tape, please!"

2. Do the corporations, the companies, or the unions still have free speech, representation, the ability to give money toward campaigns? Yes, of course! The public fund for electoral campaigns is also contributed to from corporations. Companies, composed of individuals, will pay a flat rate toward the public campaign fund, just like any other citizen who pays the same exact rate. That citizen may own a small house right-next-door to the multi-billion dollar company. If a corporation is a person, and that person is entitled to the free speech act of giving to a political campaign, then under Public Campaign Financing, that person (who happens to work for a company) has given.  He or she paid with taxes ( sales tax perhaps), toward the political campaign fund, just like everybody else under the new 28th Amendment.

This is a new shared representation in free speech ability the nation has never known. The "individualist" corporations' argument will then have to be "we have more money so we want to be able to give more money because we are more important to the nation than the little people!" And perhaps "This is NOT unfair to the great majority of the population!" Opinions that will be hidden from us, and that the public would find distasteful.

3. Equal campaign funding for equal candidates everywhere. Knowing that your competition has not one more dollar than you do, to spend on the campaign, makes the issues and your position on them far more important than ever before in determining the winner. As a representative, you won't know who to support more on any one issue unless you delve into your constituency for real information on the issues. Information you then use without influence in dollars, while keeping in mind that it's your stand on the issues that will get you re-elected.

4. Equal political air-time. The media will have to abide by the rules just like individuals. They can not use outside funding for any political propaganda unless it is from the Public Campaign Fund. And they can not get that money until campaign time. Like Great Britain, we have restricted the number of calendar days before the election, in which television and radio, internet and newspaper advertising can be displayed by anyone in favor of, or in opposition to, a campaign or an issue of political purpose. Perhaps 60 days prior to the election. When the millionaire's public relations manager calls the television network to try to gain advantage in an election, the manager would tell him or her "Sorry but you can't advertise for a political issue or a candidate until September 4th of this year and then you'll have to prove your money comes from the Public Campaign Fund. My hands are tied by the 28th Amendment. If you like, we can interview you at any time, but your opposition gets an interview also."

Is it not time for the frenzied race to the top of Capital Hill lead by the wealthiest to end? How much more evidence needs to pile-up for us all to admit the system as we know it, as it's structured, does not work? The Founders did not imagine our present could become this bad, I'm sure. We are not the few land owner, white, businessmen voters and congressmen the framers did imagine, any longer. In attempting to fix our electoral system few, if any, better solutions exist. Any answer must eliminate the power of the big-money contributors and return our nation to the people.


"But this seems unconstitutional!"

Keep in mind successful Constitutional amendments are not ruled unconstitutional except by another amendment.

More free-speech..

The purpose of the First Amendment is not damaged by Public Campaign Financing. The goal of representative democracy is shared and more fairly distributed, rendering the political speech concept of our free speech more representative and so more powerful than before. Amendment 28 will do, for free speech in America, as much as the creation of the Bill of Rights did in its entirety, of our short history as a nation. 

The Supreme Court knows ..

If public funding of election campaigns is somehow unconstitutional then since 1976 checking a box on your income tax return that gives $1-2 to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, is also unconstitutional. Because that is nothing more than what Public Campaign Financing does, it's our government managing and collecting a fund for election campaigns specifically. Twice our Supreme Court has denied hearing challenges to the Internal Revenue Services insertion of the Presidential Campaign contribution check-box on our tax forms. 

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Only 19% of Americans would be against limiting federal campaign spending amounts: Gallup poll on public campaign financing.


Important to watch!:  
The very immoral Koch Brothers reign of power over us all:


Other PCF videos:

The clarion call out of the windows of our homes should be "It's my money and I want my politician back!"


Thank you. Grace on the United States.

James G. Mason


Please post critical and constructive criticism in the comments section below. I will try to  answer every question.

Please sign the online petition! http://bit.ly/LCjp17 It's not an iron-clad endorsement of this solution to sign the petition. It's purpose is to get the public and our Congress interested and talking. Sign it to help if not only to allow us all to begin the discussion.

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