Campaign reform
JWRussell USNR

El Paso, TX

#1 Feb 3, 2013
I have stated before that the superpacs and the independent donors who are wealthy need to be reigned in by the government. No person or corporations should have that much influence on any campaign or candidate. I wonder how much money Foster and Hunt actually paid into O'Rourke's house race and how much money they donated to the superpacs that also supported him? If as O'Rourke states that he spends four hours a day helping others out while he is supposed to be working for the people of El Paso, then why is he doing it? Is it quid pro quo? How many people are helping him raise campaign money ahead of the race in 2013?

["Beto O'Rourke \ Guest columnist
Posted: 02/03/2013 12:00:00 AM MST

I have been a member of Congress for less than a month, and the stark reality of special-interest money in politics and the need for major reform is already overwhelmingly apparent.

During orientation for new members, I asked a senior colleague for advice on choosing a committee assignment. The response was quick: Pick a committee that allows you to raise the most money.

This was followed by a presentation from a campaign committee suggesting that new members of Congress spend four hours of their workday in D.C. "dialing for dollars" -- calling potential funders and asking for campaign contributions.

El Pasoans rightly expect my first days in office to be spent studying issues, learning about floor procedures, and connecting with other members to forge the relationships that can lead to compromise and progress.

Instead, the clear expectation is that I spend nearly half of each day actively raising money or attending fundraisers for other congressmen.

I get it. Campaigns cost a lot of money. I need to raise funds, not only for my own campaign, but also to help other reform-minded people get elected.

However, when an elected official is expected to spend four hours each day raising money, at the expense of time spent working on the interests of his district and his country, something is clearly broken.

With the influence of money in our political system so pervasive, it is not surprising that comprehensive pieces of legislation often contain corporate handouts and special-interest provisions. Some people might call this a form of institutionalized corruption. Sadly, this is business as usual in Washington and in many state capitols.

There is no doubt that the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case three years ago further opened the floodgates for special-interest campaign spending.

I fully support passing legislation to overturn the worst aspects of that decision.

But, let us be honest -- turning back the clock to the day before Citizens United would not solve the issue.

What we need is real campaign-finance reform that empowers citizens and grassroots donors and rids our politics of special-interest money.

Recently, I helped to introduce three pieces of legislation -- the Grassroots Democracy Act, the Fair Elections Now Act, and the Empowering Citizens Act. These three bills offer practical solutions to clean up our political system, empower small donors, and adhere to the principle that campaigns should be financed by those we represent.

These bills would provide for the grassroots funding of congressional races, amplify the voice of small donors, and restrict secret corporate money in campaigns and prohibit Super PACs from operating as unofficial arms of campaigns.

I am not naive enough to believe that any of these bills are likely to become law this Congress. Most entrenched incumbents have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

Fortunately, I am part of a large freshman class that ran on not accepting the status quo and pushing the envelope. I am optimistic enough to believe that if we start to have this conversation now, and put good ideas on the table, the American people will respond.

The integrity of our democracy depends on it."]
ProudMexicanDemo crat

El Paso, TX

#2 Feb 3, 2013
Doesn't matter what you say, you're old and will die soon and then there will only be Mexicans left in El Paso. And then we will elect a Proud Mexican as Mayor!

El Paso, TX

#3 Feb 3, 2013
Reality of how things work in Washington has hit him. He will try very hard but the system will remind him of his freshman status. He will have to tread lightly with his efforts. The name escapes me, years ago, a freshman from New York, attempted to do the right thing. This resulted in the leadership going after him and warning him that would be efforts to stop his re-election if he continued. He was so disappointed and angry that he chose to not seek re-election.

While I don't agree with his ideology, I believe he will do a great job . He will be successful in his next term.

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