Thoughts on Campaign Finance Reform

Thursday, October 27th, 2016 @ 6:37PM

You should be aware that any politician on the national stage from either major party who says that we need campaign finance reform, a reversal of Citizens United, or less “dark money” in politics is quite simply telling you what you want to hear and has no, and I mean zero, plans to actually do anything about it.

Both major parties live on Super PAC money and will not do anything to screw up the seemingly endless supply of cash and negative ads.

If I could call the shots:

1) Only living, breathing human beings would be allowed to make campaign contributions.

2) All bundling of contributions would be eliminated. No so-called bundlers, no PACs, no unions… None of that.

3) Personal contribution limits would be established that are reasonable. For purposes of my argument, we’ll stick with what we’ve got now: $1,000 per person per calendar year in MA races and $2,700 per person for Federal primary races and $2,700 per person for Federal general election races. This limit would apply to the candidates as well.

4) Only candidate and ballot question committees could receive campaign contributions.

5) Committees could not borrow money or negotiate payment terms from vendors other than cash on the barrelhead.

6) Only people eligible to vote for a candidate or a ballot question (whether the person is registered to vote or not) could make political contributions. Think about that one. I saw a headline this morning that more than 80% of money supporting candidates in hotly contested U.S. Senate races is coming in from out-of-state. This would end that.

All of this would dramatically reduce the amount of money in elections, necessarily shortening the length of campaigns and requiring candidates to rely more on in-person appearances and a good volunteer-based ground game rather than hundreds of millions of dollars spent on TV ads.

That is all.

And now…

Back to the way it is

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4 Comments to "Thoughts on Campaign Finance Reform" add comment
John and Ann Shea
November 2, 2016 at 6:36 am

Dear Rep. Hunt,
I’m impressed with your thoughts on campaign finance reform. Missouri, Washington, California, and Maryland have fair election measures on their ballots next week. Massachusetts should be proud to have enacted such legislation in 1998. However, Governor Baker is taking advantage of some loopholes, and it needs some attention. How had you planned to vote on the campaign reform legislation recently sidelined by House Speaker Robert DeLeo? What is the future of that legislation?
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
Ann Shea
8 Sea Meadow Drive

November 2, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Ann, the bill(s) never came to us for a vote, so I did not read through it. If you have the bill number, I can peruse it.

Ann Shea
November 17, 2016 at 9:43 pm

Dear Rep. Hunt,
I had difficulty finding the bill number but finally emailed the Globe reporter who covered the story I read, Frank Phillips, Globe Statehouse Bureau Chief. He wrote that the bill number is SD 2546
An Act Enhancing Transparency in Campaign Finance
It is sponsored by Sen. Jamie Eldridge
It passed the Senate but the House sidelined it in June, saying the issue would be taken up by a special task force on ethics and campaign finance that the House Speaker is seeking to create with the Senate and the governor.
I’m wondering now if you’ve heard anything about this special task force, whether you plan to promote it, or if that’s even possible.
Thanks again for your time. I’m working on a project for a course at UMass Dartmouth on campaign finance reform and very much appreciate your attention to this topic.
Ann Shea

November 18, 2016 at 8:36 am

I am aware of the task force and that the house speaker is more interested in putting it to work and than the senate president. I like the idea of reviewing our ethics rules and regulations as well as political finance laws. I will do what I can to urge the formation of this task force.

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