Never Look A Gift (Clause) Horse In The Mouth

In America, it is impossible to snuff out money from politics. As long as government has the power to dish out favors to politically connected interests, it will continue to attract money, in the form of lobbying and campaign contributions, from those seeking to influence how it doles out its largess.

This November, California voters will have the opportunity to throw a wrench in this vicious cycle by voting for Proposition 32, which would ban corporations and unions from directly contributing to elected officials, bar government contractors from making political donations to state officials who control their contracts, and prohibit automatic deductions of wages from employees for political purposes.

Opponents of Prop 32, comprised largely of labor unions and their allies such as the League of Women Voters, counter in a statement that the measure “does not take money out of politics—because super PACs and independent expenditure committees are exempt from its controls.” Special interests — unions, corporations, and government contractors — would still be able to spend substantial funds on politics, but through indirect means. The bans on direct donations to elected officials simply would change how political spending is done, but would not roll back special interests’ influence on California’s state government.