PACs: Just Say No | Buzz Blog

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

PACs: Just Say No

Posted By on May 26, 2010, 4:29 PM

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Two Colorado Democrats swear off PAC donations.---

Political opinions about political action committees can swing widly. As detailed in the City Weekly news story this week, the two candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in Utah 2nd Congressional District are on almost opposite ends of the spectrum.

As has been well-documented, Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, seemingly accepts money from almost any donor and argues that no amount of fiscal kindness will sway his voting decisions. He's not alone in those sentiments, even among Democrats, and whenever the issue of campaign finance reform comes up, those arguments are made by the "full disclosure, no limits" crowd.

Claudia Wright, on the other hand, will only take money from PACs who represent causes or groups she already supports. That sets her up as the moral superior in her supporter's eyes, but it also provides her a shifting line for accepting "good" donations. (For example, she supports Planned Parenthood, but I can find plenty of people in the 2nd District that believe Planned Parenthood is a bigger problem for them than many corporations).

As I point out in the story, one of the biggest challenges would come if she actually won the nomination. At that point, she could start qualifying for money from the Democratic National Committee, which gets plenty of corporate money. In 2008, for example, their largest single donor was Goldman Sachs.

While Wright may be providing plenty of contrast to Matheson by evaluating the PACs, two candidates in Colorado have taken a much stronger stance. Andrew Romanoff, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, has already vowed to accept no money from PACs. Today, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, Stan Garnett, announced he is also forgoing PAC donations.  In a news release, Romanoff said:

“This is how movements take shape ... the threat that pay-to-play politics poses to the very core of our democracy.”

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