We’ve all heard the expression “Follow the money.” As we strive to cultivate good government in our community, campaign contributions remain the insidious sources of perceived — and sometimes real — corruption. With the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, political spending is protected under the First Amendment.
This means that corporations and unions can spend unlimited funds on political activities, as long as it is done independent of a party or candidate.
To partly address the concern over hidden money being funneled into campaigns through political committees (PCs) and electioneering communications organizations (ECOs), Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava has proposed an ordinance that deserves county commissioners’ unanimous approval when they meet on Tuesday.
It would simply require candidates to report successful solicitations they made to any PC or ECO. The report would say how much was solicited by the candidate, who contributed the funds, and provide the name of the PC or ECO.
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Government transparency and accountability are fundamental to the public’s faith in the democratic process. And it’s clear that anonymous campaign fundraising can create suspicion that ours is a pay-to-play system, rather than government of, by and for the people.
The County Commission can help foster the trust in government essential to its work by passing this common-sense ordinance.
Katy Sorenson, president and CEO, The Good Government Initiative at
the University of Miami,