Time to Stem Tide of Special Interest Campaign Cash

Special interest groups 'distort elections': Alan Simpson
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2011 12:44 PM CDT
In this May 4, 2007 file photo, former US Sen. Alan Simpson delivers a key-note address to Log Cabin Republicans at their annual convention in Denver.   (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)
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(Newser) – In 2010, special interest groups and lobbyists in Washington alone gave nearly $300 million to political candidates—"more than the donations of 32 states combined," notes Alan Simpson, writing for Politico. And 2012 is sure to be worse, unless we do something about it—now. Special interest money compromises the US government and is "inextricably linked" to "our nation's fiscal future," writes Simpson, who co-chaired President Obama's deficit commission. By allowing special interest groups to "provide the lion's share of campaign funds," we also allow them to "exercise undue influence in tax and spending matters."

It's time that our government placed the interests of its public ahead of those of special interest groups, which are often "quite apart from the needs of ordinary Americans." In order to restore fiscal responsibility to Congress and "end this conflict of interest once and for all, the American people must demand—and Congress must pass—a system of small donor public funding of elections." Candidates who reject special interest money and limit donations to $100 each would, in return, receive matching public funds. "Our future," Simpson concludes, "really does depend on it."

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