Re “Sacramento’s sickness,” Editorial, March 28
Banning state lawmakers from raising money during the Legislature’s session is a Band-Aid that would create an uneven playing field, where opponents could raise unlimited funds while an incumbent’s hands were tied. It would also make matters worse by driving special interests to fund independent expenditure committees to work on behalf of legislators who were prohibited from accepting contributions.
It also is unworkable: A legislator who wanted to run for another office would be unable to amass the funds to do so.
And perhaps the worst effect: It would force incumbents into a month of frantic fundraising before ballots are mailed, exactly when they should be attending candidate debates and interacting with voters.
There is only one way to stop lawmakers from begging for contributions: public financing.
The writer is a Democratic political consultant who served most recently as spokesman for Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez.
Thanks to The Times for raising the most important issue behind the recent stories of state senators in trouble with the law.
This is all about money and that gray line between politicians accepting campaign cash and the expected influence that money buys. Jesse M. Unruh, the powerful Assembly speaker during the 1960s, famously said that “money is the mother’s milk of politics.”
It is our government, and if we want politicians to represent the people, we have to keep them from lining up at a trough for money. I hope The Times will keep this important issue before the public as elections near.