Archived Story

True reform needed for campaigns

Published 12:01am Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court seems to think that what’s good for the private geese is not good for the corporate gander, at least not when campaign finance enters the goose playbook.

Just a week after the high court struck down limits in federal law regarding contributions for the richest donors, Monday the court decided to outright ignore a challenge to the long-standing ban on corporate campaign donations.

Few people seem to know how striking down the caps ultimately will affect federal elections. However, in general, the more free-flowing cash is during an election process, the more deals and backroom promises seem to follow.

Monday’s decision not to hear an argument from Iowa Right to Life was interesting. The group sought to have the court confirm corporations have the same constitutional right to free speech as individuals in making campaign contributions.

Not so, apparently.

None of this, however, affects the biggest murky hole of all in the election process. Individuals can still contribute unlimited amounts to an outside group, which can then turn around and offer support for candidates.

The Supreme Court’s latest moves — one action and one non-action — on campaign finance issues are interesting, the country’s system for financing candidates still seems sketchy at best.

So long as the wealthiest individuals and groups can figure out a way to funnel funds into a campaign, they will. As long as that practice continues — as it has for decades — Americans will remain jaded to the electoral process.

We hope true campaign finance reform — in which exact funding transparency exists for all groups and donors — is addressed soon before more apathy takes a hold of the country.