"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Friday, September 19th, 2014
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To the Editor,


Fri, Mar 16th, 2001
Posted in

Monday, March 19, 2001Most of you have heard or read the news that campaign contributions during the 2000 federal elections hit $3 billion. That’s enough, according to Money magazine, to buy special interest and corporations subsidies and tax breaks costing each American $1,600 a year.

Though voters have not been successful in moving congress to end this bribery, Maine, Arizona and Vermont have ended it completely for state-wide races; and Maine and Arizona have also ended it for all legislative races.

A major Minnesota newspaper reported 3-2-01 that in Minnesota “unregulated big bucks channeled through state political parties and their legislative caucuses swelled from $4 million in 1992 to an $18 million tide in 2000.” In 1997 a watch-dog group estimated Minnesota government agencies awarded many large political contributors $1.6 billion in “corporate welfare.” This is well over $500 per taxpayer.

The proposed Fair and Clean Elections bill introduced in the legislature would provide full public financing of all state wide and legislative races at a cost of less than $6 per taxpayer per year!

To qualify for public financing of $30,000, a candidate for the state house would have to collect $5-50 from 150 voters and refuse any more private money. A candidate for the senate would have to solicit $5-50 from 300 voters and would receive $60,000. A candidate for governor would have to find 4,500 voters willing to shell out $5-50 in order to be rewarded with $2.5 million of public money.

If a candidate who refuses public money and raises enough private funds to vastly outspend a candidate voluntarily accepting th public fund limit, or if an independent group targets that candidate with attack ads, the publicly funded candidate will be given more public money above the base in order to remain competitive--up to double the base or original amount.

A survey among Maine candidates who ran “clean” campaigns using public funding found that 99% said they were satisfied with the system and would run “clean” again. Maine saw a 40% increase in the number of contested primaries and an overall increase in the number of women running for office last year. In Arizona 214 people ran for office this past year compared to 135 two years ago. Fewer incumbents were able to run without opposition.

Bills similar to the proposal for Minnesota have been upheld by a state court in Arizona and by a Federal Circuit court in Maine so there seems no good reason for not restoring some democracy and power to all Minnesota voters this legislative session. Call your legislator and the Governor toll free at 1-800-657-3717.

Robert K. Johnson
Harmony, MN
Most of you have heard or read the news that campaign contributions during the 2000 federal elections hit $3 billion. That’s enough, according to Money magazine, to buy special interest and corporations subsidies and tax breaks costing each American $1,600 a year.

Though voters have not been successful in moving congress to end this bribery, Maine, Arizona and Vermont have ended it completely for state-wide races; and Maine and Arizona have also ended it for all legislative races.

A major Minnesota newspaper reported 3-2-01 that in Minnesota “unregulated big bucks channeled through state political parties and their legislative caucuses swelled from $4 million in 1992 to an $18 million tide in 2000.” In 1997 a watch-dog group estimated Minnesota government agencies awarded many large political contributors $1.6 billion in “corporate welfare.” This is well over $500 per taxpayer.

The proposed Fair and Clean Elections bill introduced in the legislature would provide full public financing of all state wide and legislative races at a cost of less than $6 per taxpayer per year!

To qualify for public financing of $30,000, a candidate for the state house would have to collect $5-50 from 150 voters and refuse any more private money. A candidate for the senate would have to solicit $5-50 from 300 voters and would receive $60,000. A candidate for governor would have to find 4,500 voters willing to shell out $5-50 in order to be rewarded with $2.5 million of public money.

If a candidate who refuses public money and raises enough private funds to vastly outspend a candidate voluntarily accepting th public fund limit, or if an independent group targets that candidate with attack ads, the publicly funded candidate will be given more public money above the base in order to remain competitive--up to double the base or original amount.

A survey among Maine candidates who ran “clean” campaigns using public funding found that 99% said they were satisfied with the system and would run “clean” again. Maine saw a 40% increase in the number of contested primaries and an overall increase in the number of women running for office last year. In Arizona 214 people ran for office this past year compared to 135 two years ago. Fewer incumbents were able to run without opposition.

Bills similar to the proposal for Minnesota have been upheld by a state court in Arizona and by a Federal Circuit court in Maine so there seems no good reason for not restoring some democracy and power to all Minnesota voters this legislative session. Call your legislator and the Governor toll free at 1-800-657-3717.

Robert K. Johnson
Harmony, MN

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