A better solution would involve a complete deregulation of campaign finance coupled with much stricter reporting requirements. If Jim Nutter or Rex Sinquefield want to write fat checks, that is their right. And partisans, bloggers and special interests should be able to know of it immediately and act accordingly. This better fits the political skepticism that has characterized the American citizen since before we were a country.
Any other approach is reactive, makes compliance an expensive insiders' game and lacks credibility because it tells voters that the legislature can act ethically even if individual legislators cannot.
As for those legislators with a "personal value system," they should step forward and tell us who among them are the bad guys. Anything less makes them complicit in unethical behavior, and proves that this drive toward more and more ethics regulation is political theatre.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Patrick Tuohey at the Missouri Record has some compelling thoughts on ethics reform: