Money Laundering

By Craig Dunkerley, Letter to the Editor

In your article “The Power of Dirty Money†[July 14-20], Councilman Wesson argues against public financing of campaigns, asserting that big-money contributors who could no longer give directly to candidates would simply funnel their excess cash into independent expenditures.

Wesson clearly doesn’t understand how Clean Money works. The public financing systems that work (and those proposed, like Proposition 89) have a provision that gives participating candidates additional matching funds (up to a cap) to respond to independent expenditures.

Wesson warns that shrinking the contribution limits to $5 will only cause independent expenditures to balloon even more. Here again, he misunderstands. No one is suggesting the contribution limits be lowered to $5. In Clean Money systems, the $5 contributions in question are just ones a candidate must collect in specified numbers (usually a few hundred) in order to qualify for public funding. Wesson also drags out the oldest and lamest remedy of all: more disclosure. It’s not that it’s a bad idea; it’s just that we’ve already had more than 30 years of such requirements since the Watergate era and we can all see where it’s gotten us. At best, even if it were comprehensive and voters ever bothered to look at it, all disclosure would tell us is which special-interest group bought which candidate, when all we really want to know is that none of them bought any of them . . . which is what Clean Money will do. The system will pay for itself many times over by avoiding expensive boondoggles like those highlighted in the rest of your article. It’s time for pay-to-play politics to end, and Clean Money is the proven way to do it.

Craig Dunkerley

San Jose

See the article on LA Weekly website

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