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Saturday, August 2nd, 2014
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The Justices and the Scramble for Cash


By Lee Hamilton

Fri, May 2nd, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

Many trends in American politics and government today make me worry about the health of our representative democracy. These include the decline of Congress as a powerful, coequal branch of government, the accumulation of power in the presidency, and the impact of money on the overall political process.

Recently, the Supreme Court’s five-member majority declared that it’s unconstitutional to limit the aggregate amount an individual can give to candidates, political parties, and political action committees. Campaign contributions amplify free speech, these justices maintain, and campaign finance laws violate the First Amendment: any limit on the ability of individuals to contribute to candidates is a restraint of free speech. The only legitimate cause for the government to step in is to fight blatant, obvious corruption; it should not act to limit access and influence by well-to-do donors. The result of this decision will almost certainly increase the impact of money on the political system.

The problem is, money doesn’t have to be handed over in an envelope filled with $100 bills to be harmful. The Supreme Court decision seems to be insensitive to what money is doing to the political system.

Big money is here to stay in politics. Those of us who wish it were otherwise have lost that argument — at least for the near term.

But we weren’t mistaken about the impact of free-flowing campaign cash on the system. Politicians need large sums of money to run for office, and they spend a lot of time raising it. They are keenly attuned to generous donors. Inevitably, this gives more political influence to the relative handful of wealthy donors (only a few thousand at best) who choose to “invest” in politics and often, though not invariably, get what they want. The influence of voters without the financial means to command attention is diminished.

Lawmakers, of course, insist that big donors get nothing in response for their contributions except, perhaps, for a little face time. I am skeptical of that claim. Money buys access that people without money don’t get, and access is nothing less than an opportunity to affect legislation. It is a rare politician who can remain entirely uninfluenced by large political contributions to his or her campaign. After all, members of Congress seek assignments to committees that are known to be useful for fundraising, and those wealthy individuals and inter .....
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Homeowners see reduction in school taxes

Fri, May 2nd, 2014
Posted in Peterson Commentary

Homeowners of the Rushford-Peterson School District should find a pleasant surprise when they open their 2014 Property Tax Statements. They will see a reduction in school taxes due to equalization enacted by the legislature last year. A homeowner wit ..... 
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Homeowners see reduction in school taxes

Fri, May 2nd, 2014
Posted in Rushford Village Commentary

Homeowners of the Rushford-Peterson School District should find a pleasant surprise when they open their 2014 Property Tax Statements. They will see a reduction in school taxes due to equalization enacted by the legislature last year. A homeowner wit ..... 
[Read the Rest]

Homeowners see reduction in school taxes

Fri, May 2nd, 2014
Posted in Rushford Commentary

Homeowners of the Rushford-Peterson School District should find a pleasant surprise when they open their 2014 Property Tax Statements. They will see a reduction in school taxes due to equalization enacted by the legislature last year. A homeowner wit ..... 
[Read the Rest]

Unemployment and Nobamacare

By Col. Stan Gudmundson

Fri, Apr 25th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

Democrats have held the White House and the Senate for upwards of five years. After all that time the jobless rate, “defined as a person who does not have a job, but is actively looking for one” is 6.7 percent. On the other hand if the unemploy ..... 
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As a new resident

Fri, Apr 18th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

By LuAnn Wilcox Lanesboro, Minn. As a new resident in Lanesboro, my experience is that it is the friendliest, most inviting, and most welcoming small town I’ve ever been to. This feeling is a bit more muted in the rest of Fillmore County but stil ..... 
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One Moment Please... We have arrived

Fri, Apr 18th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

We have arrived at a point at which we are hopefully saying goodbye to winter and hello to spring, summer and fall -- the three more appreciated seasons of Minnesota. Since December, most of us have seen very little of our neighbors. In every littl ..... 
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To Easter, Spring, and New Beginnings

By Yvonne Nyenhuis

Fri, Apr 18th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

It was Easter Sunday. I was 4 when a furry bundle was thrust into my arms. “Tippy Toe” was snow white with a pink nose, long silky ears lined with pale pink and eyes the color of red wine. My two older sisters and I delighted in watching him munc ..... 
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One Moment Please... Congratulations Abigail Hanson

Fri, Apr 11th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

I would like to be the first to publicly congratulate Abigail Hanson, a senior at Mabel-Canton High School, for being selected as the recipient of the 2014 Journal StudentWriting Project Scholarship. Since 2010, the Fillmore County Journal has contr ..... 
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