As the saying goes, foxes don’t make the best guards for the chicken coop. That logic may also apply when it comes to politicians regulating money in politics.
Burlington Free Press political reporter Terri Hallenbeck wrote a story last week that concluded with this statement: “It struck me that elected officials are the last people on the planet we really want to have deciding campaign finance laws. By the very fact that they are already in office, many of them are disinclined to change the system that let them get there.”
That article and others have suggested that some state senators might prefer to kill common sense campaign finance reform legislation rather than support increased public disclosure or tighter limits on campaign contributions.
VPIRG has been fighting for decades to get money out of politics. We know it’s not easy to win these battles, but in a place like Vermont, we believe it’s still possible.
We’ve been working closely with key Senate champions and our Attorney General’s office to make sure we have a bill (S.82) that will effectively limit the influence of money in state elections while giving voters much more information about where candidates and big-spending Super PACs are getting their money.
The Senate is expected to vote on this bill as soon as tomorrow. This is their only chance to reestablish common sense limits on contributions and demand more disclosure from secretive millionaires like Lenore Broughton, who spent more than $1 million last year trying to elect or defeat candidates in Vermont. (For more on the secretive Ms. Broughton, click here.)