Ken Gordon, former Colorado State Senator, sent out an interesting email today:
Dear Friends and Neighbors:
Andrew Romanoff, a candidate for the United States Senate, has decided not to accept corporate interest money in his campaign.
Look at these links:
I make no editorial comment…
but I would like to know what you think.
Please forward this to your list. It is information for potential voters.
I hope you are well. Please write back with comments or questions.
Dear Friends and Neighbors:
In my last email I told you that Andrew Romanoff, who I support for the US Senate, will refuse contributions from corporate interests. I provided links to the Federal Election Commission political action committee (PAC) records of the other major candidates for the seat.
(Links to contribute, or volunteer to the Romanoff campaign)
Most responses to the email recognized that financing campaigns from groups who were intensely interested in having legislation favor them, and were making contributions to buy favorable treatment, creates a conflict for legislators. It makes for--at least--the appearance of impropriety, and increases the cynicism of Americans. (You can see the individual contributions, for Andrew as well, at the FEC website. Click on the state of Colorado.)
A significant minority of the responses, though, felt that a candidate, in order to win, needed to take any money available, regardless of the identity or motives of the contributor.
It is to those people that I am writing now.
Money in politics is not a minor distraction. Whether it is the oil industry writing energy policy with Vice President Cheney, the health insurance companies blocking a robust public option, or the banks stopping financial regulation, money buys influence and outcome.
As long as we finance campaigns from interests that have a financial agenda, the loyalty and actions of Congress will always be--at best--divided between citizens and big contributors.
No one thinks that having special interest groups finance campaigns is “good.” The dispute is between those who think it is unconscionable and must be stopped, and those who think it is unfortunate, but extremely difficult to change, and, in any case, not their job.
It is difficult to change. But it is necessary. Whatever issue is important to you depends on this change-- our health, our jobs and the economy, the preservation of the only environment that we are ever going to have, and whether we sacrifice young soldier’s lives in wars for oil.
Some people wrote back to me in a cynical manner. “You can’t change this,” they said. Well, that is true.
I can’t… but we can.
Let’s get back to Andrew for a second. He is an extremely qualified candidate for Senate. As the House Minority Leader he led the Democrats to their first majority in 30 years. As Speaker he led the effort to pass Referendum C.
Not only is he a highly qualified candidate, but he has made the decision to address the crucial issue--the unconscionable influence of money in politics.
It is up to us whether this works or not. With the quality of Andrew as a candidate we have no excuse to not take the right position on the money issue. I have seen large numbers of idealistic people contribute to and help successful candidates (Barak Obama, for instance) who did not take special interest money.
They weren’t cynical… They were outraged. Outrage can lead to positive change. Cynicism is weak.
This is the response to those who think that a candidate should take every dollar.
It is wrong. We must fix this broken system.
Support for Andrew is a big step towards a solution. Make a contribution, sign up to be a volunteer, or do both.
This is what matters. This is what needs to be addressed. This can work. Andrew’s success will send a message to the whole country. It is a good fight.
It will be a victory for idealism over cynicism.
There are no other adults watching out for us who are going to fix this.
There is just you.
Thanks for your help. Please forward. And if you get this forwarded to you please forward again.
P.S. Representative Lois Court and I have agreed to make a contribution to Andrew’s campaign of ten dollars for every contribution he gets before midnight on Monday. So now would be an especially good time to contribute. Please send something now.