This article in The Columbus Dispatch is full of reasons why Congress needs to pass the Fair Elections Now Act and implement full public financing of elections. Lobbyists are dodging fundraising calls, lawmakers are wary of new regulations on their relationships with lobbyists, and voter advocates all over are crying foul on the access lobbyists can buy with campaign cash. Am I crazy or is there serious common ground here?
Emphasizing that even with travel and gift bans, lobbyists still wield enormous power in the influence-seeking game via their ability to donate to campaigns, the article looks at changing but still troublesome links between Congress and powerful lobbyists from all perspectives and everyone seems to agree the system is ripe for improvement.
"The system we have is a system everyone hates," said the lobbyist who received the Musgrave message. "They hate asking for money, we hate being asked for money and even more being asked to raise money and ask our clients for money. But this is the system we have. I think there will be more trip fundraisers."
Meredith McGehee, policy director for the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington-based nonprofit that champions government ethics and campaign-finance reform, said, "If you don't play the game here ... the likelihood is you will get screwed."
Rather than asking all of Congress, and the thousands and thousands of lobbyists to dance a new two-step around the most recent slate of lobbying regulations to continue to play the game that everybody hates but still has to play, there's a chance to change the game altogether. And that's by getting behind the Fair Elections Now Act.