To the editor:
With all due respect to Justice Scalia, the notion that one must reveal to whom they have given money for political purposes goes against the spirit of the founding principles of this country. The requirement that you must stand up and be scrutinized, harassed and intimidated for such contributions is part and parcel of the establishment of a one-party state.
My views on this changed when I heard a presentation some years ago by FEC Chairman Bradley Smith (appointed by President Clinton). He read off names of contributors and the amounts they gave before an audience of some many hundred and asked whether that seemed fair to do. Then he told the story of how many in the Johnson Administration, frustrated by the President’s support for the war in Vietnam, secretly gave money to his opponents in 1968, primarily Eugene McCarthy. It was McCarthy’s success in New Hampshire (he lost but got 42 percent of the vote) that led to Johnson bowing out of the race. The so-called “clean elections” rules we have today would have suppressed those voices, and we would have been the worse for that.
The “problem” of money in politics isn’t money; it’s politics. As the government extends its reach over more and more of the economy anyone with a vested economic interest has a compelling motivation to influence the outcome, either for good (get government to leave you alone) or for bad (get government to support and subsidize you). The real solution is to reduce the size of government, as Rand Paul recently said, “so small [that] you can barely see it.”