Paul Spencer – Campaign Finance Reform

Uh paul spencer and uh abel’s not here yet is he okay well let’s hear from paul and then we’ll talk about how we’re going to break out and have some further discussions for a few minutes i’d like to just begin by telling everybody how humbled i am as a newcomer to this uh line of work i am to be with these people over here on this panel i’ve been an activist for

About six months as a government and politics and u.s history instructor it’s become all too clear to me that that old that history does repeat itself is true from my particular vantage point i have seen phases of egregious political social abuses such as slavery racism xenophobia class struggles labor issues and a destructive and jingoistic foreign policy most

Commonly these actions are the few and directed towards their betterment and their enrichment at the expense of the general citizenry usually the actions of this privileged class result in the reduction of the working masses to a simple commodity to be expended anywhere ranging from the sweatshops to the battlefields and at these times when you’ve been striving

Was put up for sale for the highest bidder there have always been those americans who rose up to say that this shall not stand in the late 19th early 20th centuries when a flaccid and impotent government passively oversaw labor abuses in factories who are on farms neglect of orphans the disenfranchisement of sons and daughters of slaves the progressives and

Muckrakers stood up and declared this shall not stand activists such as jane adams w.e.b du bois bill haywood upton sinclair eugene debs and later on people such as cesar chavez all led on the new their way to a new era of activism it is in their footsteps we now have the honor to try as we watch the current presidential primaries unfold we see a political

Arena awash in a sea of dubiously regulated money disguised as speech any one casino mongol mogul excuse me any one casino or model barbaric your corporate entity can deluge the political process with money to swing the outcome of a political contest to their favor while the mostly corporate owned media sits back and analyzes their strategies and the moneyed

Interests instead of spotlighting the ever-shrinking role of that of the needs of the voters that are to be played out in this democratic charade seaman says how obscene how demoralizing it is for me to explain to a 17 year old us government and politics student that this is the system that the adults of the 21st century have brought not since the 19th century as

Robert barrens has such one disregard and contempt for the will of the people prevail it not only prevails but it’s encouraged by the community and self-interest of our elected representatives it prevails because of spineless campaign finance and ethics laws it prevails because it prevails because we have a neutered executive branch unwilling to enforce his own

Laws it prevails because these corruptions are sanctioned by the courts ultimately birthed birthing to the atrocity of the recent citizens united versus the fec and my friends it prevails right here in arkansas currently corporate currently arkansas law does not rise this is our belief does not rise to the level of federal stringency on corporate contributions

Corporations can contribute two thousand dollars to a candidate in arkansas a corporate conglomerate with multiple offshoot limited liability corporations can effectively buy or at least significantly influence a state campaign in addition arkansas legislators need not wait to turn their political connections into cold hard cash by lobbying for entities that

They once ostensibly regulated elected representatives may be whined and dimed by moneyed interest as they objectively evaluate the merits of proposed legislation written by the same interests instead of representing the needs and the rights of the citizens of our camp of arkansas who pay their salaries it goes without saying that a campaign finance reform would

Not be initiated by the legislators dining on duck leg confit seared foie gras and a glass of coke real reform must come from the people in the past arkansas instituted ethic reforms by means of a ballot initiative which is a political vehicle which gives which given enough signatures by registered voters to get on the ballot puts the initiated issue back in

The hands of the people at the ballot box by direct vote this ballot initiative perhaps is the first step in the proverbial thousand-mile journey uh that the america that american democracy needs to travel to get back to a representative of women’s democracy okay um the ballot initiative that i’m here to speak to you about today it proposes to do the following

It will double the current 50 a year tax credit for individual campaign contributions to state and local candidates this would allow more money to be directed towards political campaigns by actual people instead of the majority coming from money interests candidates would then have more incentive to push for policies that help large swaths of people instead of

The money few we would like to see an end to the so-called revolving door this measure would require a cooling off period of five years before legislators can become lobbyists we would also like to see incorporated what is known as the walmart rule walmart employees cannot accept so much as a cup of coffee from potential vendors so walmart can get the best deal

Without the possible possibilities with the globe this simple policy seems particularly appropriate between legislator and lobbyists a sincere lobbyist with a worthwhile effort as these fine people over here have okay should not need rely upon gifts to make the legislature see the merits of their proposal fourthly make arkansas campaign contribution laws for

Corporations conformed to those in the federal government which does not allow for direct contributions arkansas law currently allows a two thousand dollar four-foot contribution we would like to see this zero okay i know you’re really worried about jackson stevens and all the the the wealthy corporate folk of arkansas but they’ll still get their 100 tax credit

Okay finally uh we’d like to introduce a resolution that states that supreme court citizens united versus fbc decision was wrongly decided and rather than being rather than being placed on the books it belongs alongside the infamous decisions such as dred scott and plessy versus ferguson yeah the benefits of this initiative would be significant for all the causes

Already presented to you today in this town hall it would give these individuals excuse me who have strived for years for the causes to promote the common good and intrinsic dignity of living breathing people in our state a level playing field when competing with significantly wealthier interests for legislators attention this would foster a new lobbying climate

That is beneficial for the people as it has been in the past for the corporations and the money deleted we the citizens of arkansas have borne the brunt of many a joking negative stereotype being a yankee i perpetuated many of them okay what a magnificent occasion it would be if our state would lead the way campaign finance reform not only as it pertains to local

Issues but perhaps being used as a springboard for eventual federal reform and the demise of the citizens united nightmare that we live today this ballot initiative has to be conducted in the same manner of a political campaign for that indeed is what it is many individuals concerned with this have already uh donated a great deal of their time and knowledge and

Their expertise at their own peril in many cases to this initiative and if it’s all ready to be submitted to the attorney general and the state ethics commission however as we are all aware political campaigns are typically prohibitively expensive valid initiatives with money backers who typically employ canvassers to collect the signatures to a tune of two

Dollars a signature this initiative will require around 000 signatures costing upwards of 155 000 using and that’s using the fat cat method but theoretically this initiative doesn’t have to cost any money the cost would be our own untiring efforts and uniting arkansas from all corners of the state into common action and then and with that being entirely fitted

To pass a campaign finance reform battle initiative with only cooperative human effort and no money this is obviously a daunting task however i believe that this is a unique time in american history this is our time the age of happy has passed the time for action is now at hand we must forge ahead relentlessly and indefatigably we know the rightness of our cause

And no resource should be overlooked we must also look backwards the great reformers of the past for we are their modern manifestation of hasting this new era of activism towards justice human dignity and yes i hear saying representative democracy who and who in this room and who in our midst will be the new jane adams who will be the new w.e.b the boy who will

Be the new upton sinclair who will be the new fiorello the guardian or the fighting bob olaf elects who will be the new eugene debs or the new mother generals who in this age of citizens united will rise up and say no this shall not stand my students i’m sorry my students often ask me what difference their one vote can make perhaps it is up to as margaret mead

Put it quote a small group of thoughtful committed citizens such as you here today to answer that question for me that thank you you

Transcribed from video
Paul Spencer – Campaign Finance Reform By quasit42