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Monday, September 13, 2004

Missing Soft Money in Utah

As Rebecca Walsh reports in The Salt Lake Tribune, Senate challenger Paul Van Dam isn't happy with the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act's ban on soft money. Van Dam is losing the money race to incumbent Senator Bob Bennett, having raised less than $100,000 to Bennett's $2.1 million. His campaign's financial situation is forcing him to forego television ads, and instead go talk directly to the people:
"It's the difference between talking face-to-face with people or talking
through a camera lens," Van Dam says. "People can decide which way they would
like it to be."

Mr. Van Dam may be right that incumbents have an advantage in raising funds, but that doesn't justify allowing wealthy or corporate donors to jumpstart a challenger's warchest with big money contributions. A candidate's fundraising prowess should be directly commensurate to the number of voters who favor that candidate's position(s). And if that means that some candidates are going to trail in the money race, well, thems the breaks.

If Mr. Van Dam wants to help out the people of Utah instead of his own political aspirations, he should focus on lowering the law's $2000 contribution limits to a level that most Americans can afford.

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