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Editorial: Indian givers

Thursday, August 2, 2007

When the Missouri Legislature removed limits on campaign contributions at the start of 2007, the bill included other provisions as well, including one that banned fund-raising during legislative sessions. A circuit judge ruled that the ban on contributions when the legislature was in session was wrong, but he left in place the part of the bill removing caps on contributions.

The Missouri Supreme Court agreed that the ban on contributions during legislative sessions was wrong. But it said that without the ban, the intent of the legislature was undone. So the Supreme Court threw out the entire bill and reimposed the same caps on campaign contributions that existed before the bill in question was adopted. It was like tossing the baby out with the bath water.

The Missouri Legislature was right to remove the campaign-contribution limits. The proof is in the fallout from the Supreme Court's decision. We know exactly how much candidates who have benefited from the removal of contribution limits must now return to contributors, because the new law made those large donations a part of required campaign-finance reports accessible to the public.

Under the old system, large contributors gave their checks to political organizations who laundered the money before it reached the intended candidate-recipients, skirting the limits on contributions that were in place for everyone else. As a result, tracking down who was donating large sums of money to individual candidates was hard -- and sometimes impossible.

With the new law, all contributions, large and small, were regularly reported. Anyone who was interested in knowing where a candidate's big bucks were coming from could easily find out.

Now the legislature must again address the campaign-contribution issue. This time, legislators can make their intentions perfectly clear: no limit on campaign contributions plus thorough reporting that makes every political gift as transparent as a newly Windexed window.

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I was shocked to read the headline to this story. In this politically correct day to read this derogative from my childhood was surprising. I am sure the Missourian will be publishing another editorial soon, apologizing for using the phrase.

-- Posted by nephi on Thu, Aug 2, 2007, at 8:11 AM

That apology will happen as soon as Jackson apologizes for naming their city after Andrew Jackson and nicknaming their athletic teams the Indians. Did anyone read about Andrew Jackson's policies on Indians before deciding upon that nickname/mascot? Says alot about Jackson, doesn't it?

Has the Missourian ever done a story about why Jackson chose those two icons to be used together? That would make an interesting story.

-- Posted by The Dictionary on Thu, Aug 2, 2007, at 8:58 AM

I always thought the term "Indian Givers" was born out of the way the Feds continously broke their promises to native Americans.

-- Posted by mobushwhacker on Thu, Aug 2, 2007, at 9:25 AM

I also think it's a bit irresponsible to use this phrase. Would the Missourian run an editorial saying "Jew you down?"

-- Posted by sideshowbob on Thu, Aug 2, 2007, at 1:03 PM

I admire anyone who donates to the political process and agree that they should be acknowledged for their contributions. Of course there is always the possibility that a candidate could feel so much gratitude for a large donation that their loyality becomes corrupted. This rare possibility creates a need for campaign contribution control. We all hope for solutions. How about this. No campaign contributions to individuals and no PAC money. It would work like this. If John Doe, Halibutron, or Computer Bloggers Union 420 want to donate to the political process they donate it to the one and only "United States Campaign Fund" and earmark what percentage they want to go toward what race. Like 40% to Presidential race, 30% to Missouri U.S. Senators race, 20% to Missouri U.S. 8th District Congressional, and 10% to Missouri 159th State Congressional race, etc. etc. The donations are then divided equally between the invidivuals of each race and this will be the ONLY money allowed for campaigning. Each candidate will have enough funds to establish their platform and we the people will get a government by the people, of the people, and for the people and the donators get reconigition for their wonderful contribution to our political process.

note: This suggestion is for general elections with a slight variation for primaries.

-- Posted by TheCamp on Fri, Aug 3, 2007, at 3:10 PM

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