Las Vegas Sun

October 26, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Campaign money could help others

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I don’t know if I’m more appalled by the amount of money Sheldon Adelson contributed to a losing proposition or the statement he made regarding a Jewish husband spending so much money. His wife is philanthropic and hard-working enough to, perhaps, laugh it off, but I can’t.

The money spent on these campaigns collectively is obscene, considering the general economy, the desperation of some out-of-work families and the devastation caused by the storms. The $60 billion reported as the total cost of the campaigns could have provided 1 million people with a $60,000-a-year job.

The $60 million reportedly contributed by Adelson alone could have made a significant difference to children, right here in Las Vegas, who go to bed hungry every night.

Now that the election is over, perhaps those Citizens United, if they really care about this country, will find a way to create some jobs themselves rather than trying to influence the powerful to create greater profits for their own coffers.

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  1. I'd like to see a fact check on that $60B number.

    I know there was a lot of money spent on this election, but I haven't heard anything close to that number. I've been hearing about $3B total between both candidates and the super-PACs.

  2. We could stop all this arguing over how much is spent and by whom if we instituted PUBLIC FINANCING of campaigns and outlawed spending by PACS, UNIONS, and other organizations and individuals. All the money from all the entities and individuals corrupts the political and governing process.

    Progressives don't want to outlaw Union contributions because they help push the Progressive agenda. Conservatives don't want to outlaw wealthy contributors because they help push the Conservative agenda.

    If you're just a regular good old American you should want PUBLIC FINANCING so your representative would actually be free to vote for what he or she thought best rather than how his or her leadership told them to vote based on money and lobbying.

    Michael

  3. Adelson doesn't tell others how and why to spend their money, why should you and they tell him?

    CarmineD

  4. Does the amount really matter? What matters is the indecency of buying power for self-aggrandizement to the detriment of social justice.

    So long as we are already dreaming, let us dream bigger: Anyone seeking public office should spend his or her own money to finance his or her campaign.

    While we're at it, let us also limit their power in deciding how much they get in salary and benefits, including retirement and 'incidentals.' All other jobs, private or public, follow certain wage and salary administration policies that are sensible. Why are they exempt?

    When you have the power to decide how much money you can get, very, very, very few people have the mettle to resist the temptation of both.

    Turn off the alarm clock.

  5. What has the Citizens United decision gotten us? An exponential increase in misinformation and lies from anonymous wealthy donors. Fortunately, after mid-September it was all pretty much white noise.

  6. Forget the Constitution, according to ASad Teacher and impose draconian rules on those you disagree with. Freedom of speech? So outdated. Economic freedom? No way for some according to Agustin. Where did this women get her degree from? Has she no understanding of just how America works and has for more than 200 years? And she actually has a place in a classroom? What's she teach? Maoism? Stalinism? Certainly not the U.S. Constitution!

  7. Long before all this Citizens United crap, political candidates as Ronald Reagan, raised campaign monies with only 4 fund-raisers, while today's presidential candidates attended OVER 200! That is not only appauling, but shows how dysfunctional the current system and that little change by Citizen's United to the US Constitution has turned candidates into political puppets.

    Commenter Michael Casler is absolutely right about the need to have PUBLIC FINANCING of all candidates to erode the corruption that Americans must contend with each election. Our Lawmakers are out campaigning/fund-raising instead of doing the work they were elected to do!!!

    This has nothing to do with party affiliation, it has to do with giving power back to the People of the USA, and to support our Lawmakers in their focusing on running the country, rather than running for election.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  8. I agree that we need to have public financing and would add that it should be divided equally among all participating parties, or candidates of all participating parties.

    I support limited public service time block, on public service stations, for campaign presentation of valid information based on facts and policies, shared equally between the parties.

    I also agree that the Citizen's United decision needs to be rectified. Personhood should only represent those born by a woman. That leaves corporations, unions, and other businesses and organizations unqualified for personhood.

    Significantly reform lobbying, limiting what they are allowed to do and specifying no direct or indirect, primary or secondary forms of gift and/or financial transaction related to elected officials, there associates, staff, or representatives. They should not be writing laws, or providing templates for politicians to use having any connection to the interests represented by the lobbyists.

    If it isn't illegal now, it should be illegal for anyone to harass or threaten another if they don't vote a certain way. Punish them significantly to stop such actions.

    I also support having a national ID that can be used for voter validation, and for other legal purposes.

  9. boftx...it's about $6 billion including state races and, as a proportion of our GDP or most any measure it is not very much money and it is an investment in participatory democracy. Adelson's money went to TV stations, to writers, to researchers, to telephone and communications, to advertisers and copy writers, to pizza delivery guys just like Romney's and Obama's and all the rest. It circulates through the economy, creates jobs and ends up at WalMart, Target, the gas station and the dry cleaner....oh yeah, some of it ends up sponsoring charity. You wanna save a bedraggled kitten? go to the pound!

  10. Yet another liberal who doesn't get it (or chooses not to): it's Adelson's money, and neither you nor anyone else, including the government (so far, anyway) has the right to tell him how to spend it.

  11. "Well this statement sure would put a stop to rich people controlling an election."

    Really? What happened to Romney?

  12. "Forget the Constitution, according to ASad Teacher and impose draconian rules on those you disagree with. Freedom of speech? So outdated. Economic freedom? No way for some according to Agustin. Where did this women (I AM ONLY ONE WOMAN) get her degree from? Has she no understanding of just how America works and has for more than 200 years? And she actually has a place in a classroom? What's she teach? Maoism? Stalinism? Certainly not the U.S. Constitution!"

    Great comment, isn't it? Did I impose Dracoian rules? Geez.... A person cannot even dream? I wonder if I could teach Maoism or Stanlinism to first graders! That should earn me great marks in my evaluation.

    Again, people who cannot put on a rebuttal, should refrain from commenting if the only comments they can give are personal attacks.

    So juvenile.

    Thank for your understanding.

  13. I am just waiting for a class action suit to be filed to force corporations to pay federal taxes as a person. If it is a person for the purpose of campaign contributions, then by extending the logic, it should be a person for Federal Tax purposes. The only way to avoid that would be to NOT give money to political campaigns.

  14. Tanker1975,

    Your raise an interesting point (though I fear it is a bit of a tangent to the letter's.)

    Personally, I feel the whole concept of "corporate personhood" has been badly abused if not outright bastardized. As I understand it, the original concept was to allow for questions of legal jurisdiction to be easily settled. For some reason, in the 1800s, the nine wise souls took it further and today we have the outrageous proposition that it is legal for one person (a corporation) to own another person (also a corporation.)

    To the best of my knowledge that practice was banned about 150 years, we even fought a war over it.

    I am not overly fond of amendments to the Constitution, if only because I would hate to see a situation like that of California with a few hundred amendments to their State constitution. But in this instance it appears that this will be required to fully qualify and define exactly what rights a corporate entity (for profit or not!) is entitled to, and more importantly, what such an entity is NOT entitled to.

    I can see a reasonable argument that money is a form of free speech, as witnessed to by the ads run by Thomas Peterffy this year. But I have a hard time equating individual free speech like his to corporate advertising, political or not.

  15. boftx says "Personally, I feel the whole concept of "corporate personhood" has been badly abused if not outright bastardized. As I understand it, the original concept was to allow for questions of legal jurisdiction to be easily settled."

    Apparently your understanding is in error. "Corporate personhood" is a legal concept that goes back over 400 years. Take the time to research English Common Law and The East India Tea Company, specifically it's charters of 1600, 1609, and 1650.

    Corporations "charter companies" were considered to have the legal rights and standards of individual persons long before the founding of this country. It was no more needed to write it into the Constitution than it was to write in the rules for evidence in a trial.....both were commonly accepted legal standards of the time.

    The idea that "corporate personhood" dates back to a US Supreme Court decision in the 1800's is patently false. Just because that was the first time the US Supreme Court specifically addressed the issue is as meaningless as trying to claim that the first time the US Supreme Court ruled on a case involving a one legged man was the first time people with missing limbs had legal rights.

    Basic reading skills and access to a decent library will easily show anyone that the legal concept of "corporate personhood" has been around for a much longer time.

  16. wendor,

    The attorney that explained it me put it in terms of jurisdiction. That is, it allowed for a reasonable way to serve papers, or the equivalent back in the day, on a corporation when no one person was responsible.

    I referred to the mid-19th century decision only because up until then, as you pointed, the concept was fairly well understood by common convention.

    Even granting your points, it is not reasonable to say that a corporation is a person in every respect since clearly corporations can not enter a voting booth.

    I submit that if we address that particular difference in a reasonable fashion, doing no more than the bare minimum to establish the principle, then we can then proceed to address campaign finances as well and it will be much easier to do so.