Skip to comments.Ted Cruz: 'Our democratic process is broken and corrupt right now'
Posted on 04/30/2014 10:00:40 PM PDT by SoConPubbie
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, denounced the current electoral rules as "broken and corrupt" because they favor incumbents, as he responded to retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens' argument in favor of a constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to cap campaign donations.
"Our democratic process is broken and corrupt right now because politicians in both parties hold on to incumbency," Cruz said during a Senate hearing Wednesday. "We need to empower the individual citizens."
Stevens made a series of arguments in favor of "reasonable" limits on campaign donations. "All elected officials would lead happier lives and be better able to perform there public responsibilities if they did not have to spend so much time raising money," he told the Senate Rules and Administration Committee before Cruz spoke.
The Texas freshman didn't dispute how limits would affect the happiness quotient for politicians. "Campaign finance reform is all about 'lower the limits, lower the limits, restrict the speech, restrict the speech,' and what happens is the only people who can win elections then are incumbent politicians, because incumbent politicians have armies of lobbyists and entrenched interests that raise the money and fund them, and any challenger that comes across has to raise the money," Cruz said. "And if you don't have an army of thousands upon thousands of bundlers, you cannot effectively challenge an incumbent. And that is not the unintended effect of these laws, that is the intended effect."
If Stevens' rules had been in place in 2012, Cruz would likely have lost badly to Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in his Senate campaign.
"Dewhurst has hauled in more than half a million dollars from business PACs, which is 33 times Cruz's take from business PACs. K Street lobbying firms are siding with Dewhurst, too," as the Washington Examiner's Tim Carney wrote during their campaign. "The PACs of Greenberg Traurig, K&L Gates, McGuire Woods and other lobbying firms have donated to Dewhurst.
"One Dewhurst-supporting lobbyist in attendance told me, however, that the crowd was more 'Texas-heavy' than K Street-dominated," Carney mentioned while reporting on a particular fundraiser -- an observation that makes sense given Dewhurst's broad power over the Texas legislature by virtue of his position as lieutenant governor and president of the Texas Senate.
Cruz, a relatively unknown candidate, relied on grassroots donors from around the country and conservative groups such as the Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund.
Stevens' preferred policy would have cut off such out-of-state funds. "Voters' fundamental right to participate in electing their own political leaders is far more compelling than the right of non-voters, such as corporations and non-residents, to support or oppose candidates for public office," Stevens said.
Cruz isn't the only outsider, insurgent candidate to win a major upset victory by relying on tactics frowned upon by campaign finance hawks.
"Barack Obama rejected public funding for the fall presidential campaign yesterday, a dramatic blow to 1970s good-government reform that has been overwhelmed by an explosion of private money," as the Boston Globe reported in 2008.
"In a video message to his supporters, Obama explained his reversal by asserting that the public-financing system is irreparably broken and he is instead involving the public through his 'grassroots movement' of 1.5 million donors, many of whom give small amounts."
You think it broken and corrupt right now, wait until the Clintons are back in there. Hide your wallet.
wallet’s empty. unless they will take an empty wallet.
Repeat after me. “We are not a democracy.”
So WHEN will someone take the LEAD and begin wielding the terrible swift sword of justice?
What’s this about the “process.” It’s the PEOPLE in Washington who are corrupt.
You can’t have a whole political party devoted to killing babies, and who believe that 57 million dead babies is not enough, and have anything resembling legitimate government.
That should settle any doubts.
“Is that really a quote from Scalia?
If so, he’s not the hero I thought he was.”
I read it as Scalia criticizing those who want to hold on to power — not that he wants suppression of speech — but they do.
Fix campaign finance like this:
1) Only individuals eligible to vote may make campaign contributions, in any amount. Since organizations can’t vote, it seems clear the founders did not intend “organizational interests” to influence campaigns. No contributions from foreign sources, period.
2) Names and amounts donated would be immediately disclosed on campaign websites. I don’t want to hear about privacy here. You can’t, on the one hand, demand the right to make contributions as “political speech” and, on the other, demand to keep such “speech” secret. It can’t be speech if you don’t want it heard. Funds would be held in escrow until the eligibility of the contributor is verified. No more “oops I used your illegal contribution to get my campaign rolling, but I’ll give it back since it was discovered.”
3) Outsize contributions would be acceptable as prima facie evidence of bribery if actions taken by the candidate, once elected, specifically benefit the donor. Officials would be prosecutable. In any case, we would know clearly who was in the pocket of whom. Political officers would be presumed guilty until they make a case for innocence.
4) So called “issue ads” by non-campaign organizations would be subject to the same disclosure requirements. Only voting individuals may contribute, full disclosure of names and amounts.
Read his dissent here
There is no way to control it in monetary terms.
I think the better way is election changes.
1. The current House of Representatives should have many more people than what they do. For a nation of 300 million, the House should have in the neighborhood of 3000 members.
Much smaller congressional districts make KNOWING the people you vote for a much more likely result.
2. Repeal the 17th amendment, and then put Senatorial selection back in the hands of state legislatures.
3. Return the presidential election to the Electoral College, and with the larger House of 3000 members, the battle in each district will be over the ELECTOR that that congressional district chooses. The College will then choose the president with the majority of EC votes. In other words, it will be a republic and not a democracy. We know that majority rule doesn’t work.
4. Amend the constitution to require term limits for all federal legislators, senators, judges, presidents, and the upper two levels of civil type service.
Unfortunately, they have been used against us by evil people to weaken nearly every protection there is. In my opinion, this continual slide to ignominy won't be cured by voting.
Me too. He doesn’t come off as a proponent of it - he is stating the tactics used by Democrats/liberals.
You think so, Ted?
0CommieCare and Amnesty will guarantee our pockets are lined for decades. I love you, man.
OH’s Boehner will do anything to get IL’s Obama to say something nice about him.
Scalia is not endorsing suppression of speech here; he is saying that suppression of free speech works to the advantage of socialists.
You’re correct. Which is why Scalia opposes the finance limits, because he knows that they favour the incumbents. Imagine a war where you have to attack an entrenched enemy and being told that you have to limit yourself to the same number of troops as the enemy. When you are attacking an established opponent you need even more resources to overcome the natural advantages of incumbency.
True enough. And, that makes it all the more remarkable that JFKerry was a financially poor senator until he married up.
I figured something like that caused you to misinterpret. We all do it at times.
That pic....looks very odd.
“You know what?”
“You’re all right.”
“I love you.”
“You’re my best friend.”
Isn’t it true that when his first wife threw him out for cheating, he actually lived in his car for awhile? Wouldn’t be hard for a Senator, since they have a gym, showers, etc.
I heard about the car... or living in his office. I didn’t hear why the first wife tossed him, though. Haha, JF’nK. As loyal personally as he is politically.