Wednesday, December 01, 2004

For the Love of . . . Mike? Money?

Both. As Maggie Haberman of the New York Daily News reports, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg vetoed a bill that increased the matching public funds for candidates who face wealthy self-financing candidates . . . like Mike.

Bloomberg, who spent $73 million of his own fortune on his successful 2001 bid for mayor, has also proposed some changes to NYC's campaign finance laws. His proposal would sharply limit the amount of money that candidates could receive from people that do business with the city.

Although both of these proposals have some merit, both appear to be done for political purposes. Bloomberg's opponents would get more matching public funds under the vetoed proposal, while Bloomberg's proposal would make it harder for those same opponents to raise money from people who do business with the city, a significant donor base in NYC.

What is clear is that most politicians cannot be trusted when it comes to writing or reforming campaign finance laws. They defend the flow of money into their pockets the way most of us defend the flow of air into our lungs. They see campaign finance as a question of their political survival, not a question of what is best for our society and system of government.

If we want politicians to act in the public's interest when it comes to campaign finance reform, the rest of us need to convince the pols that doing so is a question of their political survival. The way to that is to demand that your elected officials do more to get rid of big money in politics, and if they don't - vote the bums out of office.

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