Open Humboldt Forum: Campaign Finance Reform
The most recent subject on the county's new Open Humboldt Forum is campaign finance reform. Should there be limits on how much candidates can raise overall, individual donation limits, or both? There's also a poll you can take regarding what the limits should be.
I've wrote here before that campaign finance reform isn't a big issue with me and is overrated. Truth be told, much of the campaign "reform" measures we see are just one side trying to gain an advantage over the other- the recently declared unconstitutional Measure T being an example.
My comment to the forum yesterday was along the lines of what I've written here before: Individual donation caps put the underdog at an even bigger disadvantage. The underdog starts out with the least support. Limiting his supporters to only donating a certain amount of money assures he remains at the bottom. One donation from a wealthy supporter could get him into the big leagues, at least as far as money goes.
I won't openly oppose overall campaign caps- say, $100K total for a candidate in a given race. That means nothing for the underdog since he likely won't raise anywhere near that much, especially if individual contributions are capped. After I made my comment yesterday, I came up with a compromise between overall campaign limits and individual contributions.
Assuming overall campaign collections end up being capped by ordinance, in the interest of a level playing field maybe we could make it slightly different for individual donations, assuming those get limited, too:
Let's say there's a total cap on $100k per candidate in a three way race. The most popular candidate easily reaches the limit by the first reporting period. The second most popular comes in just under with the underdog only raising half. How about individual contribution limits for those two candidates be suspended at that point to allow them the best chance to catch up with the #1 candidate?
By no means would that mean the two candidates could catch up with #1. They might still remain mired well below, but they have a better chance. If they don't make up the difference, oh well. They just don't have the support.
Seems an even playing field is what most of us really want. Such a plan would work toward that while still giving us "reform". Seems fair enough to me.