Flurry of action on city campaign finance
DN columnist Jill Porter gives the cynical take that our attempt at campaign finance reform is being overturned at its first test, as though "row-house voters" would ever have close to the influence of big corporations in the absence of limits. The Inquirer adds its editorial voice, saying Don't gut reform, decrying the way that pay-to-play culture has undermined public confidence in their government.
As Zack Stalberg, at the watchdog group Committee of Seventy, noted, Council wants "to blow apart a decent system" where it is "hard to buy and sell influence." And blow it apart long before it has ever had one decent trial.Personally, I hardly think Big Dogs like Fattah and Brady are in any danger of going unnoticed because of a few early Knox ads, but apparently they're either spooked or just greedy.
The yearly donation limits ($5,000 per person and $20,000 per political committee) forced every candidate but Knox to seek support from a cross-section of donors. Not only does that limit the potential for influence peddling, this broader outreach is good for the city's civic life.
Anyway, over at YPP, lots of action. Poster Gaetano lays out the case for why this is important, not least as a precedent for the relative value we place on principles versus convenience. Meanwhile, Dan U-A is asking all Councilfolk to step up and oppose this bill, and even giving them free space in which to state their views. Meanwhile, he's collecting a list of Council members and candidates who are on record opposing Kenney's bill (also some back-and-forth with Kenney in the comments there), as well as enumerating the bill's cosponsors, and a heap of coming Council candidates spell out their opposition in separate posts:
- Wilson Goode, Jr. (at-large incumbent), says he'll vote no
- Maria Quinones Sanchez (7th District, challenger) joins the opposition (and calls on her opponent to vote against the bill)
- Vern Anastasio (1st District, challenger) uses the example of megacorp Comcast to demonstrate the broad range of problems that can arise from uncapped donations (at Council as well as mayoral levels).
- Matt McClure (4th District, challenger)
- Irv Ackelsberg (8th District, challenger)
Note: edited late in the day to include the list of co-sponsors and a couple of added posts by opponents.