Wednesday, May 10, 2006


K Street West Part 2: The basic data

Act 203, as the Star-Bulletin has noted this week in an editorial and an article, limits campaign contributions that corporations can give to so little that legislators will have to pay attention to us voters again:
"The total amount a corporation or other entity can give is $1,000 in the primary and then another $1,000 in the general election," Wong told the Star-Bulletin's Richard Borreca.
True, before the law became effective, corporations stoked up their funds with "old money" which can legally still be spent, so the effect will be delayed a couple of years while this largess is dribbled out to lawmakers.

As they do so, data is being collected. It takes time to sort through the databases to find who is getting paid off by whom, but just to let legislators know that they are being watched, a letter, with attached data, was delivered to all legislators on May 4. The data is quite raw, but if they look at it, they don't have to read between the lines at all. It's dumbed down. They know they are being watched.

It's something like firing a shot across the bow of the ship of state. A warning shot to let them know that we the people plan to keep our government sailing on an even keel. It mustn't be drawn off course by the siren call of corporate donations.

These huge payoffs are no less than corporate bribes. We see the effects each session. Between the money handed out and the corporate interns infesting legislative offices, it's always surprised me that in fact some very good legislation manages to squeeze through.

But just imagine that corporate influence could be reduced or eliminated (as for example if we had Voter Owned Elections) and Hawaii is truly governed for the first time by its own people.

Isn't that a worthy objective? There are now citizens groups working to achieve it here in Hawaii. Join up with one of them and let your representatives know that you vote, and that they work for you, not for the giant corporations whose campaign money will soon dribble away.


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