Closing Door at the Legislature (Jean Aoki)
State Council Meeting May 18: Great Discussion and Firm Resolve (Grace Furukawa)
At Last, a Maui League (Grace Furukawa)
Importance of Campaign Funding Reform
Environment Committee Planning
Leaguer Josh Cooper Honored
State Environment Committee
Judicial Independence Project (Jean Aoki)
Election Debates on Olelo Stations
Local Chapter News Clips
Saunders Hall Dedicated
Our First Gubernatorial Panel of the Year
The Importance of Campaign Funding Reform
The Campaign Finance Reform committee report offered a summary of the many areas where corruption develops from the current system of campaign financing. Almost all of the politicians who have been indicted have misused their campaign funds, so there the connections are very clear.
Ongoing influence by private contributors leads to their agenda holding sway with elected officials, rather than what voters might want. Some examples include those instances where development proceeds despite community objections, where social services are lost because funds are redirected to special projects, where tax "incentives" are provided for wealthy investors and there is insufficient funding for community projects. The influence of tobacco and tourism ( the difficulty in restricting smoking in restaurants) and of oil (great difficulty in getting legislation to support alternative energy proposals) provide further examples. Indeed, the list goes on and on, and includes virtually every area of concern from health care to the environment to education.
Some suggestions that came from the break-out discussion group at the Council meeting added to what would be the most important reform possible: the public funding of campaigns. All agreed that this is the most powerful tool to genuinely cut the ties between campaign contributions and legislative favors. It is the reform that makes all other reforms possible.
Other suggestions included Public Service Announcements (cartoon characters with quick and entertaining comments that teach and amuse), a locally produced TV show exposing corruption, TV coverage of all legislative hearings (right now a legislator can refuse TV coverage of hearings), and a petition drive to demonstrate public support for the public funding option.
What suggestions do you have?