GOLD: Author Ray La Raja Goes After “D.C. Leprechauns”

by kris bishop on March 17, 2009

from Ray La Raja, author of Small Change

Laraja
“The economic downturn will not deter powerful interest groups from contributing big money to those good ole’ D.C…let’s call them “leprechauns.” D.C. leprechauns.

Indeed, political money is even more important during a period of policy ferment as groups attempt to influence new laws like we’re seeing these days.  Small Change suggests that election reform is unlikely to change because the Democratic Party stands to benefit from its majority status under the campaign finance laws, and shows how soft money will continue to flow into leprechaun campaigns even though the campaign finance system recently banned party soft money under the McCain-Feingold Act.  It explains what this means for partisan politics and how elections will be affected in the future.

For instance, despite the hoopla about the surge of small donors on the Internet, uh…D.C. leprechauns…will continue to rely heavily on an exclusive group of elite donors whose lobbyists and PACs dominate Washington politics. These highly ideological donors to either party will also fuel inflammatory partisanship on Capitol Hill, and attempt to set the political agenda by spending millions of dollars to advertise their favorite issues—basically, they’re all after their own “lucky charms,” independent of the issues at hand.  As incumbent leprechauns become more reliant on these groups, legitimate challengers will fall farther behind in money chase.  Meanwhile, it is unlikely before 2012 that Congress will restore the public funding pots-of-gold program for elections that has all but been emptied…

Small Change provides a colorful history of campaign finance reform during the past century and is a valuable tool for mapping where we go from here—a necessary rainbow, if you will.  It shows how scores of leprechauns have been able to get around anti-corruption laws to secure money for their campaigns and help them win elections; how campaign finance reforms barred a positive role for political parties and gave more influence to lucky-charm-hunting interest groups.  Political reformers remain stuck in an outdated paradigm that tries to squeeze money out of the political system but with results that make the situation much worse—this book provides an alternative understanding of the role of money in politics and offers recommendations to improve the US campaign finance system (if we’re lucky).”

Small change Small Change: Money, Political Parties, and Campaign Finance Reform

  Author: Raymond J. La Raja

  Paper ISBN: 9780472050284

  More Info: http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=293864

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