Follow Us:

Oct 2012
Editorial: No on Prop. 32 -- It disrupts checks and balances

If The Reporter Editorial Board had its way, political candidates and causes would be allowed to accept only those donations that came from an individual -- and even then, there would be a limit on how much they could receive.

The board shares Californians' concerns about political money and its corrupting effect on our governing systems.

Yet, despite its claims of reform, Proposition 32 is not a "solution" the board can endorse. It has the effect of shutting down one side of the political influence -- labor -- while leaving the other side -- business -- to continue exerting its leverage. That's more than unfair -- it disrupts the checks and balances our governing system relies on.

Proposition 32 is riddled with disparities. It would forbid money withheld from employee paychecks -- including, or especially, union dues -- from being used for "political purposes." It's important to note that union members who object to their dues being used for political purposes can already opt out. And all union members can elect union leaders who won't spend money that way.

Backers of Proposition 32 claim it's fair because corporations won't be able to withhold employee money for political purposes, either -- even thought that's not how corporations garner their political funds. Had the authors of this proposition wanted to curb political money on both sides, they would have required corporations to get permission from shareholders.

Also, Proposition 32 doesn't eliminate political spending. It just forbids unions or corporations (and, remember, it doesn't apply to businesses that aren't "corporations") from giving to candidates or campaigns.

They are still free to spend as much as they like on independent PACs -- the ones that candidates and campaigns have nothing to do with. The ones that answer to no one.

Think about it. As objectionable as political advertisements put out by candidates or campaigns may be -- and, let's face it, this is where much of the political money goes -- they pale in comparison to the loathsome ads independent PACs are capable of. Candidates and campaigns at least risk offending voters and may pull back an ad because of that. Independent PACs don't have anything to lose.

If Proposition 32 seems familiar, it should. California voters turned down a similar version in 2005. The Reporter Editorial Board didn't support that one, either.

It's too bad truly reform-minded entities can't put together a serious proposal to rein in campaign spending. The Editorial Board would back that. But it can't support propositions designed to still only one voice.

Vote "no" on Proposition 32.



Related News

Police Data Feed