Return to Opinion


Full disclosure for Harley Davidson and Judge Roy Bean

By John Miller

(Sunday, June 28) Okay, I admit I've been covering sports too long and probably have forgotten what some of my dear history and economics teachers taught me down through the years about politics, but I'm just a little confused.

This past week, financial disclosure statements from May's primary election were due in the Secretary of State's office.

A quick review of these reports indicates that many candidates spent more on campaigning than what the job pays.

Now, I don't know about you, but this bothers me.

I mean, if politicians are willing to work for less than what got them elected, you have to question their intelligence. I mean this is almost Jeff Foxworthy must-be-a-redneck material:

Yup, Mary Lou, I just got elected constable and it pays $25,000 a year. Course, it only cost me $30,000 to get elected ...

Well, you get the picture.

Of course, if you look at the fine print, you'll quickly learn most of our candidates are no dummies. They weren't spending their own money, only that of contributors.

Now that makes a difference. Give me $30,000 and tell me my only choice is to spend it to get elected, and I'd be writing checks faster than you can say George Washington.

But, something tells me when George and the boys fought, bled and froze their hind ends off to win this country's freedom, they really didn't want the political process controlled by the highest bidder.

The idea of major corporations, lobbyists and political action committees controlling our electoral process isn't new and it isn't likely to change.

Especially not as long as campaign finance reform hinges not on you and me, but on the politicians.

But, here's my idea.

We'll let the politicians raise all the money they want. I mean if they want to make a few bucks shooting dice with the boys down at the pool hall, all well and good.

But, they can only raise money for a three-month period before the election. For this November's general election, we'll let them raise money from now until Oct. 1.

After that, everybody's hands go back into their own pockets.

Then, from Oct. 1 to election day, politicians can spend the money anyway they want, but there must be full disclosure on every ad, every poster, every bumper sticker and every piece of campaign literature they pass out.

If John Doe takes money from the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers and the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association, then he has to let all the people know that he's "John Doe, candidate of the AFL-CIO, etc."

Now, granted, for some, that's going to mean full page ads and such, but being in the newspaper business, I don't have a problem with that.

And, those extra large posters are going to really trash up the roadsides for a while, not to mention kill a few million trees to print them.

But, I know I'll rest a lot better knowing that Sheriff Harley Davidson is the candidate of choice of the Hell's Angels. And that Judge Roy Bean received a lot of cash from the Acme Rope Company before I cast my next ballot.