The Role of Money in Political Campaigns
Letter to the Editor
The role of money in political campaigns
- January 24
Regarding the Jan. 18 editorial “A less-than-super fix,” on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s statement that candidates should be allowed to collect unlimited donations:
Mr. Romney is right on this issue. The 1974 campaign finance legislation was a cure that was worse than the disease. The support of campaigns by identified and diverse millionaires (the Pews, the Mellons, Marshall Field, Stewart Mott) was preferable to that by $2,000 contributions solicited in incessant phone calls by legislators or “bundled” by operatives and financiers.
The old system allowed anyone commanding the confidence of one or two wealthy contributors to effectively compete (such as Eugene McCarthy in 1968); the new one limits candidacies to people already well-known and to self-financed megalomaniacs.
The Citizens United v. FEC case mitigated some of these consequences, but the contributions it allows foster hypocrisy, anonymity and irresponsibility, The Post’s suggestions for reform, including “tighter rules on coordination” between candidates and super PACs, are unlikely to be enacted and are not preferable to the system prevailing before 1974.
George W. Liebmann, Baltimore
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