The Liberty Amendments – Voter Campaign Finance

Back on July 10th, Mark Levin announced his new book Liberty Amendments, released August 13th, discusses a way forward for the millions of U.S. that are fed up with the President and leaders of both parties. Back on July 20th I described why these Amendments are needed, and the method for bringing them to life, in my blog post called, The Liberty Amendments – My Take. I encourage everyone to come up with their own but mine are listed in the post, The Liberty Amendments – My First Five.

Some of the five amendments, posted July 20th, are commonly discussed, some are my tweaks of popular amendments and some are straight up originals – like the Voter Campaign Finance (VCF) amendment, which I described this way:

Limit campaign contributions to those who are registered voters that can vote for the candidate. For example, I live in VA 5th Congressional District – Robert Hurt’s my congressman. If he ran for House, under this Amendment, he could only receive campaign contributions from registered 5th district voters (easily checked against existing voter rolls) – no unions, corporations, out-of-district fat cats, PACs, etc. If you don’t have a legal right to vote in 5th district, you can’t influence the 5th District election.

I came up with this idea about 18 months ago when I began to see more and more evidence how representatives pay more attention to donors than voters and considered alternatives?  Whenever limits on campaign finance are mentioned – the popular reaction is “that would never pass constitutional muster”. As such, I decided I’d keep the idea to myself and use it for a senior thesis or in graduate school – I’m a college student. However, when I heard Mark Levin bring up the Liberty Amendments idea & remind us the “answers are in the Constitution itself”, I knew exactly what he meant – Article V (imagine vocalizing the words “light bulb” in your best Gru voice from Despicable Me). If the problem with VCF is the constitutional issue, then passing a constitutional amendment, instead of an Act, effectively makes the VCF constitutional.

What are the impacts of the VCF Amendment? Well, I’m not an attorney or a political pro, so I’ll stick to the common sense impacts. First of all, our entire political system is based upon the integrity of votes – that each vote should be counted equally and fairly. I simply extend that logic to a meta-view of the influence on legislation. It makes no sense to make sure that each of our votes are counted equally, at the ballot box, only to allow them to be diluted when lawmakers pass laws to please donors over voters. For example, if my 5th District Representative is carefully weighing the wishes of his donors vs. his voters – the votes of the voters have already been diluted. A representative should only be concerned with what their voters want and not anyone or anything else.

Simple, if you don’t have a legal right to vote in 5th district, you shouldn’t be able to influence the 5th District election

Now consider, for a moment, the practical impacts of an amendment like the VCF. For example, if my Representative, Robert Hurt, is thinking about supporting the Senate Gang of 8 Amnesty legislation, why should he care about the opinion of Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas billionaire who supports Senate Amnesty? If Hurt gives Adelson’s donations any weight at all, my vote as his constituent has been effectively diluted. Post-VCF, Hurt would only consider the wishes of his voters, not Adelson – that’s how it should be. That’s just one example. VCF also ends the influence of unions and other out of state influence. In Hurt’s recent election, unions ran ads against him yet there’s no significant union presence in our district – the unions don’t care about that – they just want to change who’s in DC for federal legislation that affects them.

One of the great injustices of the last hundred years of the progressive cancer, has been the steady erosion of the states and the expansion of federal power. A big reason that has occurred is the influence of special interest groups – that are either concentrated in Washington DC or have significant representation there on “K” street. Imagine if all those lobbyists lose their financial influence? The result is a transfer of power from the moneyed interests of “K” Street and Wall Street all the way back to Main Street. In fact, not even Main Street, per se, because even local businesses will not be able to contribute to politicians – they can’t vote. Neither can universities or PACs or NOW or the Sierra Club or anyone else that is not registered to vote in my district.

Here in Virginia, we vote for our Governor in off-election years, so this fall we will choose who will lead this great Commonwealth – at least for four years. It’s an epic, ugly battle between Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican and the current & outstanding Virginia A.G., and Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat and the consummate DC insider who once left his baby-birthing wife to attend a campaign fundraiser. The August 8th headline of the Richmond Times Dispatch, says it all:

Out-of-state funds pouring into Virginia race for governor

Why? Why should people from outside the Commonwealth affect who our governor is? What do those donors expect in return? What if it’s different than what Virginians want – who wins? The Virginia Public Access Project tells us the gory details here, including the fact that McAuliffe raised $1.7 million just in the month of June, much of it from unions and the “DGA” of Democratic Governors Association – but who contributes to that group and if Mr. McAuliffe gets $2 million from the DGA – will he put their interest ahead of Virginia voters? Whatever doubts you might have about donor motivations, the people writing those big checks are very clear – Terry McAuliffe is expected to come through for them after the election.

As I’ve said, under VCF, those kinds of contributions and its effect on our policies would end. McAuliffe could attend the births of his children and politicians would be accountable to voters again – as it should be. Let me restate the simple logic of the VCF:

If you don’t have a legal right to vote in Virginia, you shouldn’t be able to influence the Virginia elections.

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Filed under Campaign Finance, Liberty Amendments, US Constitution, Virginia

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