Shunning Corporate Cash: Smoke Signal or Just Smoke?
That’s the view of Rep. John Sarbanes, a Maryland Democrat who has gone PAC-free for seven years and is the lead sponsor of a bill (HR 20) to expand taxpayer matching funds. He says the increase in the pledges shows that the public is forcing action on the issue.... Members of Congress who are well known, with nationwide networks of donors, will have no trouble raising money without corporate PACs. And most challengers to incumbents couldn’t hope to attract significant corporate PAC support anyway.... But rank-and-file members, in both parties, rely on corporate PAC money and will need a new cash flow.... “If you’re going to expect members of Congress to move away from PACs and special interests, given the costs of campaigns these days, you’ve got to offer them somewhere else to go or it’s really unfair,” Sarbanes says. “That’s why my crusade is all about creating a system of small donors and matching public financing for congressional races.”