Apr 28 2011

“More money is more free speech” – Really?

Posted by Steve Ross in State Politics

Rep. Glen Casada

Sen. Jamie Woodson

Somewhere, Glen Casada is either snickering, or really dumbfounded that anyone would question that statement.

More money is more free speech. That has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve heard from the failed candidate for speaker this year…and considering all he’s said, there’s some pretty stiff competition out there.

It doesn’t take a genius, or even someone with anything more than the logic skills of a 3rd grader to understand just how incorrect this statement is. More money, in political campaigns, is more free speech for people who have more money. People who have less money, are just as screwed and have just as many issues getting their message out there as they ever had.

By raising the limits on corporate and PAC contributions from $5000 to nearly $7100 for candidates to the State House and Senate, and individual contributions from $1000 to only $1400 for the same, the General Assembly is staking its claim with the haves, and telling the have-not’s where to stick it. But that’s not an unusual position for the leaders of this particular session.

While the two increases may be proportional, the net effect is greater influence from groups who don’t vote, and less from voters. This is already a huge problem in the state, and it’s just going to get worse.

This effectively prices some folks who would like to run for office, but may not have the personal wealth to self-fund, out of the running, not that it was that much easier before. Further, by including direct corporate contributions, we’re expanding the sphere of groups that can donate, with little accountability, to a nearly unlimited degree, while doing nothing to expand the ability of a voter to express themselves to the same degree.

This is effectively the privatization of elected officials. Auctioning them off to the highest bidder. Something, many Tennesseans already feel is happening.

KNS on the Bill
SB1915
Bill Text
TCA ยงยง 2-10-102