Separating the Special Interests From the Money
April 28, 2009
In an “it’s about time” moment on Capitol Hill, several House members proposed legislation barring Members of Congress from receiving campaign donations from people or groups affiliated with the members’ earmark requests.
This stunning and long overdue legislation, named Clean Law for Earmark Accountability Reform (CLEAR) Act, would effectively end the general appearance of impropriety between lobbyists/special interest groups and their campaign donations to Members of Congress who seem all too eager to fulfill their wish lists of earmarks without any regard of the cost to tax payers, secure in the knowledge that they will have their coffers filled for yet another cycle.
The legislation, presented by Reps. Hodes (NH), Giffords (AZ) and Perriello (VA), comes on the tails of an effort by Rep. Flake (AZ) to mandate House investigations of links between contributions and earmarks among members.
The process that has allowed political indebtedness to outside influences has become so tainted that it is difficult, if not impossible, to discern who in Congress is backing projects because they think they’re what’s best versus who is more concerned about receiving huge sums of money in their re-election efforts and willing to do almost anything to hang onto power.
If passed and fully enforced, we expect to see a drop-off in both campaign contributions by large groups and also a drop in earmark requests, as it will become both politically costly and financially fruitless to put forth wasteful earmarks. Taking the money out of politics is a great way to help return the focus of our leaders to the job of running the country and ending the constant campaign that seems to have taken over our political system.
CapitolWatch encourages all of our readers and members to contact their representatives and tell them that you support this legislation and that it’s time for them to get back to doing what they were elected to do – WORK!