By Steven J. Rubert
It is impossible to conceive of a way in which there is not an appearance of corruption when a representative from Maine receives campaign contributions from a citizen registered to vote in California. That representative is now being supported in an election by a citizen who is not one of his constituents. This is the definition of corruption. Rather than worrying about how much money is being spent in campaigns, shouldn’t we worry about who the candidates are representing after they’ve won the election? Shouldn’t our representatives be elected in campaigns participated in only by their constituents? Isn’t that how elections are supposed to work? It should be no wonder that Congressional approval ratings are at an all-time low. It should be no wonder that we have a broken political system.
Reconciling these concerns with my strong belief in the right to free speech has not been easy. In looking for an alternative which allows citizens to spend their money as they see fit without creating the appearance of corruption, I have found one credible argument: reduce the power of the federal government. After all, who would want to buy a powerless politician? While the capacity of the government to do good things would be reduced, so would the incentive to corrupt its members. With a smaller budget and less regulatory authority, one could reduce corruption in government without limiting the right to free speech.
Another solution could be out there. Currently, there are two apparent options. Should we curtail the constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech to protect the integrity of our government, or curtail the power of our government to reduce the incentives of individuals to corrupt them?
Steven J. Rubert is a San Diegan, firearms enthusiast, and student of economics. He is a board member of Moderate Majority, a local non-profit working to end partisanship.