This week, Vice
President Gore announced his plan to establish a new government-controlled
endowment that would fund candidates who seek positions in the U.S. House of
Representatives and Senate. It was only a matter of time before those who had
been seeking to restrict free elections would propose a total government
takeover of campaigns. Vice President Gore has done just that.
I have long
advocated sweeping changes that would open up elections here. I have suggested
that federal spending limits be abolished, and that presidential debates be
opened. I have also worked for years to make ballot access easier to attain.
The problem with elections is not that there is too much money involved, but
rather that choices are restricted by government policies crafted by
incumbents who want to be protected from competition.
I believe in
competition, in the economic marketplace, and in the marketplace of ideas
also. For political purposes, the marketplace is an election and that
marketplace ought to be free from federal interference and government
restrictions. Our founding fathers gave no power over political campaigns to
any federal bureaucracy. Indeed, they would have recoiled at the very notion.
But in the current "anything goes" Clinton-Gore administration
there is no barrier against what will be proposed by those who seek to
maintain political power.
Let's face it,
even the liberal national media openly reported that Gore was primarily
trying to defend himself against his own past. That is, he proposed these
so-called reforms as an attempt to make folks forget about his fundraising at
Buddhist Temples and from telephones inside the White House.
In trying to
conjure up what he calls, "a controlling legal authority," Gore has
proposed not campaign finance reforms, but rather campaign restrictions.
Forgetting for the moment that it would take an awful lot of trips to the
Buddhist Temple to raise the $7.1 billion dollars that Gore seeks for this
endowment, let me just address how this money would be spent.
First, we must
realize that a new board would be empowered to govern this endowment. The
board would undoubtedly be populated by political patronage appointees, but
aside from that we should ask where in the U.S. Constitution the federal
government is given authority to provide for such a board. The short answer
is that no such authority exists, and only tinkering with our Constitution at
the expense of the bill of rights can in fact create it. Moreover, this money
would almost certainly be apportioned among certain favored political
parties. Would so-called minor party candidates be funded? Would incumbents
receive more of this taxpayer funding than challengers? Would candidates be
funded in primaries? Who would decide all of these things?
With those kinds
of questions outstanding we can be certain of one thing, whatever the final
details, some candidates would certainly be treated differently than others.
It is an obvious breech of equal protection to suggest that only Democrats
and Republicans would get funded. On the other hand, do we really want our
taxpayer dollars going to fund candidates of, say, the Socialist and
Communist parties? Perhaps the Vice President feels that funding the
Socialist Party is fine with him. Based on his voting record in Congress,
that would not surprise me.
Gore's proposal can only be marked down as a cynical and hypocritical attack
on the very idea of free elections. Rather than trying to protect his own
political backside by attempting to restrict free campaigns, Vice President
Gore should use the authority of his office to impress upon the Attorney
General the need for a full investigation into the laws that were violated in
the 1996 campaign. Instead of proposing new laws and new bureaucracies, the
Vice President and his ilk should simply come into compliance with the
existing laws for which they claim such strong support.
other articles by Ron Paul
Ron Paul of Texas enjoys a national reputation as the premier advocate for
liberty in politics today. Dr. Paul is the leading spokesman in Washington
for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return
to sound monetary policies based on commodity-backed currency. For more
information click on the Project Freedom website.
with the authorization of Dr. Paul.
Dr. Ron Paul