Below are excerpts from reader comments from our Public Insight Network members and comments sent to The Miami Herald.
I think that money's influence on politics is a fact that unfortunately is true. The more money you have to spend the better your chances of the public knowing your name. This is not something new. Money influences every part of life.
-- Joan Robbins, Public Insight Network source
Money talks,. Let's even the playing field. Nobody should be able to buy an election, especially with a personal fortune. "Free" speech should be limited to meetings, forums, and televised debates -- not to mud-slinging commercials.
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-- Merry Bodner, Public Insight Network source
If we understand campaign spending as a form of free speech and we understand that the biggest indicator of candidate viability is money, then we are saying that those with more money to give to campaigns has more freedom of speech than those who do not have the money to give.
-- Joseph Phelan, Public Insight Network source
We're living in a plutocracy and not a democracy.
-- anonymous, Public Insight Network source
[Money spent on campaigning] is the single most corruptive influence. Unfortunately our political system has had entrenched within its sacred institutions the lobbyists and largely unrestrained use of funds.
-- Luis de la Cruz, Public Insight Network source
Good men are always found out. Learning about political candidates is easy as turning on your TV or reading a newspaper because our society loves "a good story." If a candidate displays a heart for service, he'll be the standout that I'll vote for.
-- Patty George, Public Insight Network source
Unregulated spending has resulted in the prostitution of our political system. Our candidates sell the representation of the people to the highest bidder. They lie to us to get elected and represent their money masters. Voting is irrelavant when based on lies.
-- Jeffrey Fichtelberg, Public Insight Network source
It is hard to imagine what is worse, candidates accepting money from special interests or watching multi-millionaires buy elections. After seeing what we are getting from both sides, I am starting to think that the first is better because at least these candidates have to work to get support. Ugh.
-- Olga Perez-Cormier, Public Insight Network sourceNo to regulation because it violates the freedom of speech Act, it's important to educate voters of who their voting into office, and Yes to regulation to a certain extent, because candidates at times have a tendency to distort true facts and information in order to appeal to the voters.
-- Nadia Pierre, Public Insight Network source
I feel like no matter which party best reflects my views, either one is for sale to the highest bidder and I will never be heard.
-- Anonymous, Public Insight Network source
Why would someone spend millions of their own dollars on a job that pays a mere fraction of the amount spent. The obvious answer is that it leads to more power, more money and eventually the absolute corruption of the system. I believe that our system should adopt the British laws regarding election.
-- Thomas Hassler, Public Insight Network source
Spending levels should be regulated. Spending levels are not free speech, since they are spending someone's money. Politicians are bought and paid for by special interests. Perhaps self-financed campaigns have some credence. Self-financed campaigners like Greene and Scott may do well. -- Christopher Zoller, Public Insight Network source
Contributions are in fact a form of free expresion for the electorate to support the candidate of their prefernece. If a top spending level were to be establihhed there would still be undue competition between those who could self-finance and those who would have to raise the funds.
-- Arturo J. Guzman, Public Insight Network source