Friday, January 10, 2014

Sarbanes Grassroots Fundraising - Seriously, Pay Attention to This

I wanted to come back to something I posted about a while back to remind you why it is important and why we should try to get behind it: Congressman John Sarbanes Grassroots Democracy Act.

As Congressman Sarbanes noted at the Columbia Democratic Club Forum on Wednesday, inequality in governance is premised on political inequality.  We have different levels of access and influence based on how much money is invested in the political futures of those in office.  The most basic rational consideration of how big money is affecting politics is to conclude that it is probably bad.  End of formula. 

When I first hear John speak about this project, he explained further maladies related to big money's influence, such as the compulsion to spend every free moment on the phone with donors instead of socializing and developing relationships across the aisle.  Sure, from an "I'm-payin'-em-they-should-be-workin'" mindset, that may not be preferable, but we're not asking these people to make widgets.  They're collaborating to write law.  Laws that require votes to pass.

What I like most about the Congressman's approach to this is that he has already put himself through the mechanism of a public financing system he thinks would work.  Notably, he did not use the federal system.  Rather, he captured his own funds in separate boluses that would only be available if he met certain fundraising goals based on the number of small (less than $100) donations.

I just can't say enough how great of an idea I think this is and how important it is that those of us who believe in good government get behind it.  I have.  Unfortunately, I can't visualize "step 2", i.e., How John Gets It Done.

That's all for today.   Have a great Friday doing what you love!  It's impossible not to.