Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Danica Solution To Campaign Transparency

I think BrainSnacks blogger and friend Karl Albrecht is on to something with his PBI below (partly baked idea)DanicaPatrickR_450x300 suggesting that politicians be required to wear patches like race car drivers to reveal the sources of funding from special interests.

PBI #1. Who owns our politicians?

Voters and taxpayers often lament that elected officials are bought by special interest groups, who expect political favors in return for their campaign contributions. Usually, the politicians and their contributors avoid publicizing their relationships, so it's very difficult to know who's sponsoring a particular office holder.

While it might not be easy to prevent political officials from selling their services, there's an easy way to know who has sold what to whom.

Let's take a page from the sports industry, particularly auto racing. The race car drivers, their cars, and their pit crews all display logo patches that advertise their sponsors. It's worth a lot of money to have your company logo on the winner's jacket when the TV cameras roll.

The obvious application to politics: let's require that every elected office holder, at every level - even up to presidents and prime ministers - wear a logo jacket while on duty, with patches denoting the corporations and special interest groups that have put them into office. The bigger the contribution, the bigger the patch.

While we're at it, let's include lobbyists as well. Anyone entering or leaving the office of a member of Congress or Parliament - and let's not forget the Defense Department - would have to wear the patches of the special interests they're lobbying for.

But let's not stop there. Each contributor would have to pay for the advertising space on the jackets. In addition to the campaign contributions, they would pay advertising fees, which would go into the public treasury. The money could be used to pay lobbyists to push the interests of all those people and groups who can't afford to hire them.

Would this work?

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