Monday, August 01, 2005

Disclosure Requirement Bill Nixed

There was a bill making its way through the state legislature that would have required contributors to certain political campaigns to identify themselves. That bill met its demise due to lack of support, suprisingly enough. Part of the reason this bill was introduced, aside from this silly "campaign reform" effort that never seems to end, was the hit campaign against Chris Kerrigan last time he ran for Eureka City Council. Some people, who wouldn't identify themselves, ran a number of hit pieces on TV and snail mail running down Kerrigan.

I'll be the first to admit I find it cowardly when people publish anything, whether it be opinions or political ads, anonymously. The answer to that is simple, though: If someone's running ads against someone, or some thing, and they won't identify themselves, don't vote the way they want you to vote. That is, of course, unless you already have some other reason to vote one way or the other on an issue.

Seems to me that might well be what happened in the Kerrigan/ Bohn race. Most were surprised at the margin of victory Kerrigan acheived over Rex Bohn. Most, myself included, figured that race would be pretty close. I suspect some folks voted for Kerrigan because of the anonymous hit campaign against him and I don't blame those who did. I suspect, though, the biggest reason for the large margin of victory was Bohn's relationship to Renner Petroleum.

Along the same lines, the same thing happened in the recall effort against District Attorney Paul Gallegos: Much was made of paid petitioners from outside the area gathering signatures to put the recall on the ballot. After all was said and done, and those petitioners made their money, the recall effort lost. So much for money in politics. Yet, one local group, whose name escapes me now, wants to make it illegal for corporations outside the area to contribute to local political campaigns.

If you don't like who a candidate or cause's supporters are, don't vote for them. If they don't identify themselves and you have no other issue on which to base your vote, don't vote for them. As for me, I usually make my mind up independent of whatever ads a campaign may run. I suggest others do the same.


At 12:34 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

And what of those too busy watching Fear Factor to inform themselves? Public opinion can be manufactured given the right conditions and enough money. And with enough money, the right conditions can be manufactured. The model that Orwell uses in 1984 has validity. Those on top wish to stay on top, and will do most anything to stay there. Given the stark disparity of wealth, I think full disclosure of money's influence on the political process is good for the public.

At 8:12 AM, Blogger Fred said...

That might well be but I still say, if you don't like non disclosure on a given issue, vote against it, unless you already had your mind made up otherwise.

At 1:54 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

I'm with you there. I also vote against anything I don't clearly understand and agree with. I'd still like to see a requirement of detailed disclosure of all funds.


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