Strange Bedfellows: The Tea Party and Campaign Finance Reformers?

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The Los Angeles Times editorialized today on how the Tea Party, and their advocates in the new Congress, should support campaign finance reform if they are true to their populist ideals and anti-special interest message.

"There has been a continuing debate about whether the tea party is primarily a populist movement focused on citizen participation or an unofficial subsidiary of the Republican Party. If the first characterization is accurate, tea partyers will support campaign reform. After all, if the goal is participation by informed citizens, why not expose the special interests behind political messages?"

For the full editorial, click here.

It may sound strange, but polling conducted by Lake Research Partners on October 31-November 2, 2010, shows that this odd pairing of reformers and Tea Partiers is not so far-fetched. The polling showed that Tea Party supporters favor, by a margin of 49% to 35%, the Fair Elections Now Act, which would empower small donors and lessen the influence of corporate and special interest money in our elections. Additionally, 63% of Tea Party backers agreed with the following statement:

“The amount of money being spent (in 2010) on political campaign ads by candidates, political parties, and outside groups poses a real threat to the fairness of our elections and the ability of Congress to get results on our most important issues.”

The problem of big money interests dominating our politics won't go away until we address how campaigns are financed and disclose who is behind the huge amounts of outside spending we saw this past election cycle. And support from unlikely places only strengthens the case.

To read more on the polling and get a downloadable PDF of the results, click here.