First and Last

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Well, it would appear we're not the only ones watching the presidential money chase and shaking our heads. Newsday has the practice of bundling in its sights, calling for mandatory disclosure of bundlers first, with a refurbished public financing program to follow. Meanwhile, Anna Quindlen at Newsweek has been talking to John Rauh at Americans for Campaign Reform and looking into Arizona's Clean Elections system and is intrigued by what she sees.

Quindlen calls campaign finance reform "the Ambien of issues" (you got something against a good night's sleep, Anna?) but nevertheless calls out political fundraising for the access-buying, scandal-ridden trap it is. She focuses much of her column on the economics of a Clean Elections system, noting Rauh's "Just $6" campaign, Arizona's funding mechanism, a tax check-off and proceeds from civil penalties, and the associated costs of the current system:


We're already paying for campaign financing in a circuitous and counterproductive fashion, through politicians who are spending a big chunk of the people's time meeting with power brokers who don't necessarily share the people's priorities. Everyone knows the quid pro quo: contributions from a group with a high-hat name like the American Association for Self-Interest, followed by votes for the legislation AASI wants. And sometimes, after an official leaves office, he goes on to become—you guessed it!—a lobbyist for AASI himself.