Did you promote an Article V convention for your state? Were you sold on the safety of such a measure? Were you told that a balanced budget amendment was the focus of this effort?
It’s time to look once again at the people and agendas behind this movement. As we have previously exposed, the various Article V movements work in coalition with each other. From the Convention of States to Occupy, they have been united via Lawrence Lessig’s Call a Convention site. Note that the original coalition page, as well as an article by Michael Farris, defending his participation on it, have since been deleted or reworded. That alone should make you think twice about how honest this entire movement is.
The two favored by conservative backers, such as Glenn Beck and Mark Levin, are the Compact for America and the Convention of States. With their promotion of a balanced budget amendment (BBA), this sounds like an appealing option to many who have jumped on board. But is that really the end goal here? Even if it is for them, is that really the result they can assure you of?
Among the coalition of movements they are working with, a very different outcome is desired by some; the progressive’s golden ring, “campaign finance reform”. A balanced budget is definitely not high on their priority list.
Just last week, Lawrence Lessing, who heads the CallAConvention.org coalition, started a SuperPAC for campaign finance reform called Mayday. It should be no surprise that he chose May 1st, a significant day to many, as the launch date for this new effort.
“In the capitalist countries May Day will be as always a day of struggle for the immediate political demands of the working class, with the slogans of proletarian dictatorship and a Soviet Republic kept not far in the background.”
Along with Lessig, we find Mark McKinnon on the Board of this May One effort. Yes, the same Mark McKinnon that advises the Compact for America “conservative” Article V effort.
Meanwhile, the far Left WolfPAC, a progressive member of the ConCon coalition, explains the Article V route to campaign finance reform on their site (emphasis mine):
Once an Article V. Convention has been called we will continue to put pressure on our Legislators to do exactly what they called the convention to do. There will be so much media attention at this point due to the historic nature of the event that no Legislator would dare propose an amendment that the vast majority of the country does not agree with. Once an Article V convention has proposed amendments, then they would have to be ratified by three-fourths of our state governments (I.e. 38 states) in order to become part of the Constitution. That is why we are confident that an amendment to deal with money in politics in the United States is the only possible amendment that could come from such a convention.
There are two very big problems with this scenario. First of all, many Americans have signed on to this effort, believing that a balanced budget amendment is the planned outcome, based on the “reassuring” essays by those promoting it, such as Michael Farris, Nick Dranias and Mark Meckler. However, the coalition website makes it clear that there are many ideas and possibilities for amendments floating around. The second problem is that, although everyone would like to see true reform that would make elections fair and equitable, the people who have pushed so hard for their brand of “campaign finance reform” are not likely to be the ones who are going to deliver anything fair or equitable. From Capital Research:
The Center for Competitive Politics describes such laws as “welfare for politicians.” As for whether these welfare payments lead to sound policy, consider that Arizona—a red state that adopted this law in 1998—has one of the highest budget deficits in the country, according to the Center.
“Tax-financed campaigns are often lauded as ways to increase competition, promote candidate diversity, and reduce interest group influence,” the Center’s website observes. But “despite the continuous insistence by the ‘reform’ community that this system is beneficial, there really is no credible research to support these claims. In fact, it stands to reason that lawmakers would vote in favor of ‘special interest’ groups more when they participate in tax-financing programs. While at first this seems preposterous, there is a fairly simple reason this might occur. Rather than raising so many small donations to qualify for public funding on their own, candidates often rely on ‘special interest’ groups with ready-made donation lists and ‘bundling’ capabilities to provide the infrastructure necessary for this kind of fundraising. States already mired in debt need to focus on dealing with their budget woes [rather] than adding to them by subsidizing candidates for office.”
According to Discover the Networks, “To qualify for public funding, a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives would have to collect, from donors in his or her state, a minimum of 1,500 small contributions with an aggregate value of at least $50,000. A U.S. Senate candidate, meanwhile, would be required to collect a base of 2,000 small donations, plus 500 additional contributions per each congressional district in his or her state. For example, a candidate running for the U.S. Senate in Maine, where there are two congressional districts, would require 3,000 qualifying contributions before receiving Fair Elections funding.”
Public Campaign abhors big money from corporations or Tea Party groups, but it seems to have no problem with, say, the National Education Association blocking any meaningful education improvements and the environmental lobby inhibiting economic growth. In general, Public Campaign is not so different from other “good government” or “watchdog” groups in Washington, all of which have an agenda but insist they are nonpartisan. What’s interesting about this group is that it detests the evils of money in politics—except for the big money that is underwriting the causes it supports.
PC is indeed an appropriate ally for the tiny group of big donors who have long sought to use campaign finance reform to stealthily achieve their own political agenda.
The Soros backed McCain-Feingold got them far along this road, so it is no wonder why progressives were devastated by its’ overturning. From Discover the Networks:
But Soros’ motive becomes clear when we look at the types of organizations whose fundraising activities were left unaffected by McCain-Feingold. These were “527 committees”―nonprofits named after Section 527 of the IRS code―which, unlike ordinary PACS, were not required to register with the FEC. Run mostly by special-interest groups, these 527s were technically supposed to be independent of, and unaffiliated with, any party or candidate. As such, they were permitted to raise soft money―in amounts unbound by any legal limits―for all manner of political activities other than express advocacy. That is, so long as a 527’s soft money was not being used to pay for ads explicitly urging people to cast their ballots either for or against any particular candidate, the letter of the McCain-Feingold law technically was being followed. Practically speaking, of course, such things as “issue-oriented ads” and “voter-education” ads can easily be tailored to favor one party or candidate over another, while carefully steering clear of “express advocacy.”
Once McCain-Feingold was in place, Soros and his political allies collaborated to set up a network of “527 committees” ready to receive the soft money that individual donors and big labor unions normally would have given directly to the Democratic Party. These 527s could then use that money to fund issue-oriented ads, voter-education initiatives, get-out-the-vote drives, and other “party-building” activities―not only to help elect Democratic candidates in 2004, but more broadly to guide the Democratic Party ever-further leftward and to reject the “closed” society that Bush and the Republicans presumably favored. By helping to push McCain-Feingold through Congress, Soros had effectively cut off the Democrats’ soft-money supply and diverted it to the coffers of an alternative network of beneficiaries―which he personally controlled.10 That network of beneficiaries constituted the so-called “Shadow Party,” which was dominated by Soros. As Byron York observed, “[T]he new campaign finance rules had actually increased the influence of big money in politics. By giving directly to ‘independent’ groups rather than to the party itself, big-ticket donors could influence campaign strategy and tactics more directly than they ever had previously…. And the power was concentrated in very few hands”―most notably Soros’.
At this point, it seems very naive to believe that an Article V convention will stick with the BBA that so many have been led to believe is the real goal and outcome to expect.
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