A Washington Post columnist is understandably disgusted that Congressman Jim Moran is a corrupt thief who swaps earmarks for campaign cash, but she draws the wrong conclusion. The problem is not campaign contributions. That’s just the symptom. The real problem is that government is far too big, and politicians are auctioning off undeserved money to people who don’t deserve it. Restricting the 1st Amendment by making it harder for people to participate in the political process, as the columnist urges, won’t solve the problem because people who think it is okay to receive undeserved money will figure out another route to bribe politicians. The only real solution is to stop the corrupt redistribution that drives the process, which is the point made in the video under the excerpt:
“You don’t have to drink. You just have to pay.” Has there ever been a better summary of how Washington works — and the need for campaign finance reform — than this line from a 2007 e-mail? The context: An executive at Innovative Concepts, a small defense contractor, was balking at going to a wine-tasting fundraiser for Rep. Jim Moran. The Virginia Democrat sits on the House Appropriations subcommittee that controls defense spending — and the executive’s boss made clear that attendance had nothing to do with the quality of the cabernet. Moran raked in almost $92,000 at the event, sponsored by the now-defunct lobbying firm PMA Group. And Innovative Concepts received an $800,000 earmark in the next defense spending bill. …There is nothing necessarily illegal in the Innovative Concepts transaction, which is, of course, the scandal. Washington operates on the tacit understanding that campaign contributions grease the way for access and influence. Both sides in this transaction, lawmaker and donor, perceive, or at least present, themselves as the victim: elected officials as captives of a system that demands incessant fundraising; donors as the target of a none-too-subtle shakedown scheme. …There is a simple way out of this swamp — public financing of congressional campaigns. …The estimated cost is $2 billion to $3 billion per election.