In 2000, the amount of money spent in political campaigns in the United States may reach three billion dollars. Is that too much? Have our politicians been corrupted by special interests and their money? What can be done to reform our system of campaign finance? Should contribution limits be raised or eliminated? Is immediate public disclosure of contributions the answer? What are the prospects for campaign finance reform in the near future?
Peter Robinson: Welcome to Uncommon Knowledge. I’m Peter Robinson. Our show today: Campaign Finance Reform.
In the old days, financing a campaign was simple. The candidate just met with his major contributors and the contributors gave him moola. Lots of it. We are exaggerating a little bit, of course. But the point is, the contributors were allowed to give as much money to a candidate as they wanted and the candidate was allowed to accept it. In 1974 Congress passed a set of laws that changed all of that.
Contributions to candidates are now limited to $1,000, per contributor, that's called hard money. But of course many people and organizations, including special interest groups such as defense contractors, the gambling industry, organized labor have more money that they would like to spend on politics than they can get to candidates in $1,000 increments. So they give much larger amounts to advocacy groups, political action committees and the political party. That is called soft money.
Now there is general consensus that the system as it stands today, hard money, soft money is a mess. How to reform it? With us today three guests. Bruce Cain is a political scientist at the University of California at Berkeley. Jerry Lubenow is Director of the Citizens Research Foundation and Ron Unz is the author of Voters' Rights 2000, also known as Proposition 25, a campaign finance initiative here in California.
Rally ’Round the Swag, Boys
It is estimated that in the year 2000 set of elections across the country, the amount of money that will be spent on politics in this country will come to between about $1.8 and $3 billion dollars? Is that too much, Bruce?
Bruce Cain: No, absolutely not. I mean I think if you compare that to the advertising budget of many commercial enterprises, it is a pittance.
Peter Robinson: Too much, Jerry?
Jerry Lubenow: I don't think so either, it is about the net worth of a e-com start up.
Peter Robinson: Ron, too much?
Ron Unz: I think it is a very reasonable amount of money, in other words, and it is dwarfed by the amount of free media that is spent on politics nationwide.
Peter Robinson: So nobody at this table finds $3 billion spent on politics in this country during an election cycle offensive in and of itself?
Bruce Cain: No, Peter, I mean we are talking about civic education. We are talking about people getting their messages out at a time when they have to get out in order for voters to vote in an informed way. I don't think that is the problem at all.
Peter Robinson: Ah, but there is a problem. What is the problem that you see?
Bruce Cain: I think the problem, really, the deeper problem has to do with equity. That is, can you have a political system in which the money that people spend influencing others is equalized just as the voters are equalized and because the premise of democracy is equal voices.
Peter Robinson: So your one man, one vote, is a constitutional principle and your problem is that rich people get to offset that principle by having greater access to political speech. They buy more political speech.
Bruce Cain: Yes, that is the basis of the problem but I don't believe that we can solve that problem, given the constitutional structure.
Peter Robinson: So we just live with it.
Bruce Cain: That is my view, is that we have to live with it. We can moderate it in some ways that we can talk about later, but we have to live with it in a fair amount of inequity with respect to campaign finance.
Peter Robinson: Well Bruce, Bruce has just solved the problem but we have another 28 minutes to go so we are going to go on to Jerry. Jerry, what is the problem that you see, is it equity?
Jerry Lubenow: No I don't think the problem is equity. I think that part of the problem we have, going back to what Bruce said is, is that a lot of our attempts to solve the problem in the past have created the problem, problems that we have now. Uh the PACs for example, were, were...
Peter Robinson: A PAC is?
Jerry Lubenow: A PAC is a group that comes together to donate money. It is a...
Peter Robinson: PAC, Political Action Committee, right?
Jerry Lubenow: Right. Now that was a part of an early reform and those are now a large part of the concerns that we have today. People think that they're...they have too much power, too much influence, that they control the elections and I think part of the problem really is that we don't understand what the problem is. There is this perception that there is a lot of corruption out there, that the system is being bought and sold. Research doesn't necessarily show that's the case.
Peter Robinson: Ron, what's the problem?
Ron Unz: I think one of the biggest problems is the allocation of dollars in the current structure. For example, 25 years ago contribution limits were put in place on the federal level at a thousand dollars. They haven't been adjusted for 25 years of inflation so the value has shrunk so dramatically that candidates for federal office or the Presidency have to spend all their time raising money right now. So the only thing they do really effectively is raise money. If the limits were higher, they could spend less time raising money and more time discussing the issues. The amount of time...
Peter Robinson: Jerry says corruption isn't a problem. Not everyone agrees.
The McCain Mutiny
John McCain, the author the McCain/Finegold bill says that the system is corrupt and that money is the source of the corruption. Do you believe, A) that that is true or B) that the American people, substantial part of the population believes that it is true?
Bruce Cain: I don't think it's true, I think that...and I am not sure how much of the public believes it. I think there is a tremendous effort on the part of the media to convince the public that there is a lot of corruption. I think that, that what we...one of the things we need to do is to look at the transactions that take place between our, between people who give money and people who get money. I mean in some cases there may be bribery, there may be people giving money that are trying to get something for the money that they are giving. In some cases it maybe a case of extortion where the people who...the candidates are actually extorting money out of the, out of the giver and in some cases it is simply an alliance. In fact it maybe that in most cases it is a natural alliance between people who have an interest and a candidate who shares that interest.
Peter Robinson: And who gives voice to that interest.
Bruce Cain: Peter, if I can follow up.
Peter Robinson: Yes.
Bruce Cain: I mean I think the political science evidence on this is that it is very hard to find statistical evidence where representatives have changed their position as a result of getting a campaign contribution.
Peter Robinson: You can't prove it.
Bruce Cain: You can't prove it. It is very hard. You can find anecdotal evidence of it here and there and Elizabeth Drew has done that on a national basis.
Peter Robinson: Elizabeth Drew is a journalist.
Bruce Cain: Exactly. What you find is that people who have already said they are pro-guns or pro-life, get pro-gun or pro-life money. They had already made that decision.
This is actually a terribly important point. John McCain talks about corruption, corruption, corruption. Political scientists have actually studied it and you can't find corruption.
Peter Robinson: You can't prove it in that very clean way, that's right.
Ron Unz: I want to...
Peter Robinson: Ron.
Ron Unz: ...I think they are two different sort of issues you raise like, for example, abortion and gun control or the environment, ideological issues like that are not affected heavily by financing.
On the other hand, business and economic issues, issues of trade, issues of regulations, trial lawyers, those are the things very directly affected.
Peter Robinson: But again, people have looked at that, Ron. People have divided these things out and what they find is there is a general discussion about access. There is this perception that you get some access, but again, in terms of showing that a candidate or an incumbent changes his position as a result of getting that money, the evidence is just not there.
Ron Unz: It accords with common sense, it seems plausible, but bright people have studied it and can't find evidence of what we would call a quid pro quo.
Jerry Lubenow: It depends on what sort of eviden...what would constitute evidence. For example, in California and other states there are clearly cases where the state legislature or for, in fact...the...
Peter Robinson: Give us an example. California politics a long time now.
Jerry Lubenow: In California right now, the Indian tribes run gambling casinos in the state. They were totally ignored by the state legislature for years. The politicians totally ignored them and, if anything, took a negative stance toward them. Now that they have started giving millions of dollars to the politicians, suddenly, immediately they are at the beck and call...the politicians are at their beck and call.
Peter Robinson: They are not so much in the beck and call because they have had in California to go to the initiative process to get what they wanted. They couldn't get it out of the legislature.
You can get access, you can get your issue onto the legislature. That doesn't mean you are going to get your position, you are going to get hacked to death in all that.
Jerry Lubenow: The other way around. Once the issue was declared unconstitutional, like we are talking about...
Peter Robinson: The initiative was what? Explain it.
Jerry Lubenow: There was an initiative to legalize the gambling casinos in California. It passed because of the...
Peter Robinson: And the Indian tribes wanted it.
Jerry Lubenow: They wanted it and they spent $70 million to pass it.
Peter Robinson: Seven zero?
Jerry Lubenow: Seven zero million.
Peter Robinson: And the result was?
Jerry Lubenow: It was passed by the voters but declared unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court. Immediately then, afterwards, the state legislature, which also received millions of dollars from the Indian tribes passed similar legislation and had it signed by the Governor, even though they totally ignored the interests of the Indian tribes beforehand. Because suddenly the Indians had shown that they had a lot of money. They spread it out to the politicians and the positions of all these legislatures immediately changed.
Peter Robinson: Let me ask our guests for their campaign finance reforms.
Ron, we'll come to you in a moment. You are the author of a proposition addressed to this very issue of campaign finance reform but Jerry and Bruce, briefly, give me one...this is television...give me one or two how, one or two proposals for fixing the system. What would you do, Jerry?
Jerry Lubenow: Well I think...part of what Ron has done will go some ways to fix the system. I think to increase the allowable donations. I think part of the problem now is...
Peter Robinson: So people get more, okay.
Jerry Lubenow: Well, part of the problem now is, for example, on the federal level. You are limited to a thousand dollars so people complain about the amount of time the campaign spend, spend raising money. That is like breaking someone's leg and complaining because they limp.
Peter Robinson: Right.
Jerry Lubenow: I mean if you raise the...if you raise...
Peter Robinson: What would you raise it to?
Jerry Lubenow: I mean I think that the limits that Ron has set seem reasonable.
Peter Robinson: Two thousand bucks?
Peter Robinson: Three thousand dollars and then index it to inflation? You do that?
Peter Robinson: Okay, you'd go for that?
Jerry Lubenow: Yes. I think that is reasonable.
Peter Robinson: Okay. Let me get to Bruce. Bruce, what do you think of that one?
Bruce Cain: Well I don't like contribution limits because I think contribution limits are easily evaded and, and so you get all the problems that Jerry was talking about which is that people have to work harder to raise the money. But it also forces the money outside the system.
We're seeing that in the San Francisco Mayor's race just now. We are going to have a report pretty soon that $800,000 is going to come from the independent expenditure committees because people don't want to deal with the problem of a contribution limit. So I just don't think contribution limits work as a legal frame work.
Bruce Cain: There are two things I want to do.
Peter Robinson: Okay, go ahead.
Jerry Lubenow: Number one, disclosure. And I like that part of what Ron is doing, the disclosure.
Jerry Lubenow: The disclosure is, is strengthening disclosure, putting more of it on the net. Making it easier for academics, journalists and opposition researchers to see who is giving money to whom.
Peter Robinson: Right.
Jerry Lubenow: That is very important. And then the second thing I can go for is giving money to raise the floor. Don't worry about the ceiling. The first question you asked about was the ceiling. That is, how much money is the limit that we want people to spend. Don't worry about that. Worry about the floor. How much money challenges have in order to have a viable race against an incumbent. So...
Peter Robinson: Go ahead. How would you do that?
Jerry Lubenow: Well you could think of some sort of public financing scheme that helps challengers, either matching money or base grants. Or even immediate credits, I don't have a problem with that. But my problem is...
Peter Robinson: Everybody running for governor of California gets a million dollars and then you can go raise what you want to on top of that.
Jerry Lubenow: Well you have to have some sort of screening...
Peter Robinson: Is that the idea?
Jerry Lubenow: ...because if Bruce Cain were to run for governor and and doesn't have any support, you probably don't want to give a million dollars in tax support to Bruce, even though I would appreciate it. It would be much better, we have to have some system to gauge the basic level of support before we give any kind of public money. But I think those are the two valuable...
Peter Robinson: That is the best you can...that is the best you can do to redress this question of equity?
Jerry Lubenow: Absolutely. That is the best that...
Peter Robinson: That is a pretty puny reform isn't it?
Jerry Lubenow: Well that's life. Politics is, as they say, not been bags. Politics if tough. And what you hope is that the system has enough money come from enough different sides so that voters are not bombarded with the messages of one group or one individual, but rather getting it from many different sides.
Peter, I also think that you would question...
Peter Robinson: Let's find out what Ron Unz is up to with is Voters' Rights 2000 initiative.
Unz is Enough
Ron Unz, this is your moment. Tell us about Proposition 25. Here in California we have a system whereby citizens can get measures before the public by a ballot initiative process. How many signatures did you have to gather?
Ron Unz: We gathered about six or seven hundred thousand signatures...
Peter Robinson: Six or seven hundred thousand.
Ron Unz: ...it was more than 700,000 to put it on the ballot.
Peter Robinson: And what does it do?
Ron Unz: Section one, massively enhanced disclosure. All contributions of a thousand dollars or more will immediately, within 24 hours, be put up on the internet. Everybody can see whose money, whose money is coming from where?
Peter Robinson: Contribution to candidates or to PACs and political parties?
Ron Unz: Any type of contribution.
Peter Robinson: All political entities.
Ron Unz: Political money. In other words, 24 hour disclosure over the internet of all political money in a searchable and sortable format. Also, all advertisements. Radio, TV, print or direct mail will have to be put on the web within 24 hours in a multimedia format. So you can see exactly the TV commercials that all the candidates or campaigns are running.
Right now, one of the problems is market segmentation. In other words, you run one radio ad on Black radio, a very different radio ad in the conservative central valley with two entirely different messages. It is freedom of speech, candidates can say whatever they want in whatever hypocritical way but they go, both go side by side up on the same website.
The same thing with direct mail. Candidates right now send out one advertisement saying I am pro-life. Another advertisement to a different group of voters saying, I am pro-choice. You can still do it but they go up side by side on the same website.
And negative advertising. Candidates send out hit pieces targeted to narrow groups of voters. It still happens, but it actually goes up on the website before voters receive it so that way the other side and the press can police the honesty of what candidates say.
Peter Robinson: Keep going. You have got disclosure of money and ads.
Ron Unz: Section Two we put in campaign contribution limits. Right now there are no limits in California. Candidates right now can get $500,000 or million dollar checks from corporations or special interests or individuals. I think if a candidate is offered a million dollar check from somebody, we are talking about something much closer to bribery than influence gathering. And I think...
Peter Robinson: Make a note, make a note and I'll give you a chance to get back on that.
Ron Unz: ...putting in contribution limits, putting in contribution limits of $3,000 for most candidates, $5,000 for state-wide candidates means that we sort of are threading the needle, but when some limits...and preventing outright bribery, while on the other hand having...
Peter Robinson: How did you come up with $3,000?
Ron Unz: Well basically they were the federal limits adjusted for 25 years of inflation which I, I think California is really the federal election system in microcosm. So I think those are reasonable numbers for district races. And $5,000 for state-wide races allows you to be competitive.
Peter Robinson: Okay.
Ron Unz: We put in place voluntary spending limits so, for example, somebody running for governor in the primary would have a voluntary spending limit of no more than $6 million, which is a very reasonable figure. If they agree to that voluntary spending limit, they get up to a million dollars of free air time, radio or TV time.
Peter Robinson: You...wait a minute, wait a minute. That is property. People own, effectively, air time. You are going to force radio stations and television stations to turn it over.
Ron Unz: You can't do it on the state level. Actually the air time is owned by the people of the co...of the United States on the federal level. But on the state level, the State of California has to pay for that air time so it comes out the general fund.
Peter Robinson: Okay. Alright, alright.
Ron Unz: It is a dollar a year per taxpayer that goes into a fund to buy air time. So candidates would get basically up to a million dollars of free air time in matching fund format...
Peter Robinson: Okay.
Ron Unz: That they could use to get their message out. And that, again provides a critical mass of exposure so candidates can get their message out to some extent. Now, obviously some candidates would raise a lot more money than that. But at least a million dollars gives them a fighting chance.
Peter Robinson: Thank you. Now, disclosure of money and advertising? Good idea?
Bruce Cain: Absolutely. I think this is very positive because...and part of the thing that has been going on is you have these sort of subterranean campaigns that go on all the time and there...a lot of direct mail. Very heavy use of direct mail and no one really knows what is going on.
Peter Robinson: Dick Morris says in his book that the Clinton campaign began advertising and they specifically avoided Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C. so the press wouldn't notice. They blanketed the interior of the country but missed the big media centers. Okay...
Bruce Cain: And the commercials they were actually running in that period would have gone over very badly in other parts of the country. In other words, they were giving an entirely different message to one group of voters as opposed to another group of voters.
Peter Robinson: If Unz had been in charge, they would have been force to put all that stuff up on the web.
Bruce Cain: Everybody would know what they were saying.
Peter Robinson: Okay, so we like that. Campaign contribution limits, $3,000 per candidate.
Bruce Cain: Obviously I think, as I said before, it doesn't solve a problem it simply pushes the contributions elsewhere, makes it harder to...it undermines the disclosure goal because when it goes elsewhere, it is harder to track.
Peter Robinson: Jerry?
Jerry Lubenow: Well I think it is a positive step. It would be at the national level in that it increases the situation, the limits that we have now, which I think is better. But I think there are problems as Bruce says, there is this sort of fund, you have people over here who need money, as much money as they can get. You have people over here who are willing to give it. And if you somehow constrict the, the pathway, it is going to go somewhere else.
Ron Unz: Here's the problem. Most people don't have that much interest in politics. So let's take, for example, the attorney general's race in California. All of the candidates were funded by the gambling casinos. In other words, all the people running against each other were getting money from the same source. So if you had...
Peter Robinson: So the Indian tribes were hedging their bets and giving money to both sides.
Ron Unz: Exactly. In other words, if the same financial source was funding all the candidates running against each other and if the candidate is given a choice of either taking a check for $500,000 and maybe the media saying something negative about the fact that they took a candidate...money from, you know, doubtful special interests, or giving up the $500,000, the $500,000 is worth a lot more than the media hit.
In other words, what happens if they take the money from special interests is there is a one page story in the LA Times and a few other papers, saying why did you take that money and nobody pays any attention to it.
Peter Robinson: This is a surprising argument to hear from Ron Unz, who has devoted the past what, six, seven years of his life to California politics, because what you are saying, in effect, is democracy doesn't work.
Ron Unz: People aren't interested in politics.
Peter Robinson: Given full information, people will be too bored to pay attention.
Ron Unz: Entirely true on most issues and again the issues we are talking about are taking money from special interests.
Jerry Lubenow: Look, what is going to happen in this scenario is that gambling money simply goes outside, forms an independent committee, spends on behalf of the candidate and the candidate still is going to be beholden to the gambling interests. So it doesn't matter. Your contribution limits don't work. Jerry, not only does...
Peter Robinson: Are the limits on contributions in Ron Unz' proposal constitutional?
Abridged Too Far?
Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, says the Constitution of the United States or the right of the people peaceably to assemble. And the Supreme Court has held again and again and again that by and large money donated to political causes repre...is directly tied to freedom of expression and to freedom of assembly. We know that contributions, limits to contributions to candidates...
Ron Unz: Are constitutional.
Peter Robinson: ...are constitutional because the Court, although reluctantly, found that. But you are going to limit contributions to third parties as well, aren't you?
Ron Unz: No, no just candidates.
Peter Robinson: You have not limitations to...
Ron Unz: You can't limit anything but candidates.
Peter Robinson: Okay. Right.
Bruce Cain: But here is the problem. In other words when you are talking about corruption, if you have a donation or a donor, say, who is funding all of the candidates running against each other...
Ron Unz: Then you should thank them because if they are funding everybody all they are doing is engaging in an exercise in philanthropy.
Bruce Cain: But no...but here is the problem. In other words, if you vote, if the argument is being made that the reason they are giving money to a candidate is that they want that candidate to win because they agree with what he is saying, and if all the candidates are fighting each other and if they are funding all the candidates, I think it is a very doubtful argument that they will agree with all the candidates on that point. Clearly the reason they are giving money to all the candidates is they are basically trying to buy influence and access to them.
Ron Unz: Let me just try...
Bruce Cain: Sure.
Ron Unz: Let me just try this. This is my, this is my 100% solution.
Bruce Cain: Sure.
Ron Unz: The 100% solution is simply this. Anybody gets to give any amount of money to anybody he wants to as long as the candidate publishes the amount and the source on the web within 24 hours. Doesn't that just do it?
Bruce Cain: Well that's Ron Unz, part one. The sensible part of Ron Unz.
Ron Unz: Yes, that is what I am saying, that is what I am saying. So our proposal solves that problem. Directly solves that problem.
Peter Robinson: So what we need is a line item veto for Proposition 25. We'll take Section 1, but Section 2...
Bruce Cain: Directly solves our problem. Right. Right.
Peter Robinson: So is that really where...what is where you come down on his proposal.
Jerry Lubenow: Yes, exactly. Ron Unz does too much. If he had stopped at Section 1 of his Prop 25, he would have had a lot of support.
Peter Robinson: Over achieving again, Ron. And you say the same.
Bruce Cain: I think that is true too. I think if you look at all these other things and you can trace them out and see problems with it, I don't see any problem with that, no.
Jerry Lubenow: The issue though, and the reason that sort of disclosure does not work entirely is that most people get most of their political information from television. That is where it comes from. Television in California and many other parts of the state devotes almost no air time to politics. Especially like in the Los Angeles area. As you know from some of those studies, the LA times and the other major papers around the country can have front page stories on the fact that some corrupt special interest gave a million dollars to a candidate. It is a one day story, people read it, they forget it the next week, it doesn't get on TV and nobody finds out.
A million dollars buys a lot more commercial advertisements than the negative side of...
Bruce Cain: But Ron what you are missing is the opposition research component of this. What you are doing is so...in part one, the sensible part of Ron's...
Ron Unz: Sure.
Bruce Cain: ...is that you make available to the opposition researchers and the opposition campaigns who will then put it into their paid media buys and put it into their advertising, so...
Ron Unz: Unless, unless they are getting...
Bruce Cain: So it gets to the voters eventually.
Ron Unz: Unless they are all getting money from the same source. Again, when all the candidates for Attorney General are funded by the gambling casinos, they can't attack each other on those grounds because they are all getting money.
Bruce Cain: I think if they campaign in California where the money source when it is problematic hasn't come out and everybody in the world hasn't known about it... Let me put another...
Peter Robinson: Aren't there some legitimate reasons to have no contribution limits at all?
A Few Good Men
Bruce Cain: Colin Powell considered, four years ago, running for President. As I understand it, one of the reasons he decided not to run for President is that he began making up his mind about it too late to raise the kind of money in thousand dollar increments that he would need. Now it would seem to me that in that circumstance it would...the voters would have at least considered it if Colin Powell had gone to a dozen rich New Yorkers, lined up a dozen men and women behind him, held a press conference and say, "Ladies and gentlemen, I am a candidate for President of the United States and I want you to know that each of the people standing behind me has given my campaign one million dollars as of today." Why not let the...
There are circumstances in which large contributions may be perfectly appropriate and the voters may even applaud them. And circumstances in which they stink to high heaven and although you are an extremely bright guy, highly public spirited, you have got to trust the people to make up their minds about that and not Ron Unz.
Jerry Lubenow: Well I think the problem with that is...
Bruce Cain: That is an good a little peroration, don't you think.
Jerry Lubenow: I mean what if the people...
Bruce Cain: You buy it, right, Jerry?
Jerry Lubenow: Absolutely. People look back now, you know one of the great moments in political history was in '68 when, when Vietnam was going on, Johnson was, was in deep disfavor and you had McCarthy who jumped in the race. He did well in New Hampshire then, then Bobby Kennedy jumped in the race. Both of them did it by raising huge sums of money from a small handful of people...
Bruce Cain: A handful of people, very quickly, very wealthy people.
Jerry Lubenow: And you couldn't do that today.
Bruce Cain: When you are talking about those ideological cases, where somebody writes a million dollar check to Colin Powell or to Gene McCarthy or, for example, George McGovern is another classic case of getting a lot of money from a few people. That is very much the exception. The bulk of the massive contributions comes not from ideological money. It is not based on abortion. It is not based on gun control. It is not based on the environment. It is business interests. It is corporate business interests, fighting each other for control of the government subsidies.
Ron Unz: Under the current system. Under the current system. Have you studied this pre-1974, pre- the current campaign laws. It is my understanding... Now I admit I haven't studied it, certainly not the way Bruce and his graduate students have studied it. But it is my understanding that if you look at presidential races right up through 1974, when the new election regime was set in place, candidate after candidate throughout American history is backed by half a dozen or a dozen people, substantially.
Ron Unz: Actually, before 1974 there wasn't much in the reporting requirements so nobody really knew how much money was coming from what source. In fact a lot of that were suitcases full of cash.
I mean there was a lot of outright political corruption in the old days and again, I mean the government really was selling off the teapot dome, things like that. So certainly disclosure and reporting requirements are important. But besides that, right now, I mean again take the California example.
Last year in California the California gambling casinos and the Nevada gambling casinos spent a hundred million dollars in the State of California, which even in California is a lot of money, fighting for control of organized gambling. They gave millions to the Democrats, millions to the Republicans, they funded all the candidates for Attorney General. And I think when a hundred million dollars is spend in one state over control of an economic enterprise, a very, you know, doubtful economic enterprise. I think that is a system that should be changed.
Peter Robinson: Now let me ask you this. Do you think we are going to get campaign finance reform of the Prop 25 kind on the national levels sometime within the next three, four years?
Bruce Cain: Unfortunately I think that people are going to reach for reform even though we understand why the reforms aren't going to succeed so I think our capacity to pass reform is, is out there even though the evidence that the reforms don't work is also out there.
Peter Robinson: Are we going to get campaign reform on the national level?
Jerry Lubenow: I think it will be a while. I would hope that we at least have sort of broken the scandal-reform link. That what we do is sort of take a breath and look at some of these proposals and look at the long term implications.
Peter Robinson: Has George w. Bush who, even now, as we record this show, the primaries are being fought. George W. Bush may or may not win the Republican presidential nomination, as we tape this show. But he has already begun posting on the internet the names and amounts of all his contributions. Is that a trend?
Ron Unz: I hope so.
Peter Robinson: You hope so. We going to get it on the national level, campaign finance reform?
Jerry Lubenow: It isn't entirely clear. In other words, nothing has passed on the federal level in 25 years so I think it is hard to predict something will happen in the next few years.
Peter Robinson: Ron, Ron, Jerry and Bruce, thank you very much.
The crux of the problem, as we saw, is that the Supreme Court has held money to be very tightly tied to freedom of speech. You have to have money to engage in political speech, buying radio time, television time, print ads and so forth.
No, money...no speech.
I am Peter Robinson, thanks for joining us.