U.S. Senate Mark Udall waxed poetically today about how unfair our presidential campaign finance system is. Apparently, he remains under the impression that before the Citizens United decision, corporations and other big spenders were prevented from participating financially in our presidential campaigns. A time when presidential candidates spent more time courting voters and less time fundraising.
Clearly, Coloradans recognize that seasoned-campaigner Udall isn't this naive. After raising millions of dollars running for office and watching millions more spent on his behalf, Udall's silly faux outrage is laughable at best.
Udall's doomed congressional proposal takes a page from the Democrats' political financial advantage in Colorado. While he hides behind the little guy and the “small donor,” Coloradans realize he's talking about unions.
Common Cause drafted our campaign finance laws to blatantly give unions a huge financial advantage in our elections through small donor committees. These groups may only accept $50 from individuals, but can give 10 times more directly to candidates. For example, political committees may accept $500 every two years from any person or entity, but may only contribute $400 to legislators.
On the other hand, unions dump hundreds of thousands of dollars into small donor committees directly from their membership dues. Since many of these fall below the $20 reporting threshold, contributions are secret. Compared to political committees, small donor committees can give $4,500 directly to legislators.
Udall's bill will match contributions under $200 four-to-one using public financing dollars. So, a union will deposit $100 from one hundred thousand nameless, member deductions into the Democrat president's campaign for a total of $10 million. Under Udall's proposal that $10 million would jump to $40 million of anonymous donations. Think about how many national unions have thousands of members and we're talking huge sums of secret money.
Udall couches it the same way Common Cause duped us saying it “levels the playing field.” But he's again tilting the advantage to the unions. While the media eats up his “campaign finance purity” rouse, someone should ask Udall if he learned this from the tricks used in Colorado?