Limited Taxation & Government
Post Office Box 408    Peabody, Massachusetts   01960     (617) 248-0022
E-Mail:       Web-page:

CLT&G Update
Tuesday, September 22, 1998

You've gotta love it!

"Campaign finance reform" always has been nothing more than a futile exercise at squeezing a balloon: squeeze it in the middle, and it expands to the area of least resistance, at both ends.

The only way to regulate political money is to remove the incentive for contributors to provide it!

A first good step on the federal level would be to gut the IRS Code so favoritism is removed; Most of the big contributions come from those with a financial gain to be had in manipulating the code in their favor or against their competitors. Then move on to regulations that favor some at the expense of others. Can the state be any different?

Just look at what government puts in the way and you'll see that money can get it moved. That's the incumbents' fundraising game plan.

Really, how much of the billions spent each year on political contributions do you suppose is given because somebody simply likes the candidate, or agrees with his or her positions? Why do you suppose so much money comes from outside any district that a candidate hopes to represent? Why is it that "campaign finance reform" never seems to limit the unions?

And why can't all campaign contributions be immediately posted on the internet, so the world can see just who is funding whom for how much, before a single vote is cast?

So leave it to the Libertarians, "The Party Of Principle," to shine a light on the feel-good foolishness of "campaign finance reform" -- especially "voluntary" reform -- and the attempts to limit free political speech!

Remember this in November when it's time to vote for or against more of the same on Question 2, the "Fair Elections" ballot question.

Chip Ford --

The Boston Globe
Tuesday, September 22, 1998
Metro | Region


Libertarians, making a point, blow campaign spending caps
By Frank Phillips and Tina Cassidy

In a mischievous move by a party that scorns limits on freedoms, the Libertarian Party yesterday made a mockery of the state's 1994 campaign finance law by declaring that its candidates may spend up to $19.5 billion in all but one of the statewide races.

The party has essentially blown up the spending limits for the 1998 gubernatorial and other campaigns. This is the first election cycle affected by the much-touted campaign finance reform law, which aims to reduce the influence of special interests by offering candidates incentives to abide by spending limits.

By not agreeing to the caps, the Libertarians have cleared the way for unlimited spending sprees in some of the races for statewide offices. The Libertarians have candidates in all but the attorney general race, where Republican Brad Bailey and Democrat Thomas F. Reilly have agreed to a $650,000 spending limit.

The Libertarians' action is allowed under the law, which sets caps while letting candidates decline adherence to them. But Joshua Friedes, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, said the Libertarians' announcement "undermines" the reforms and could have a major impact on several key elections, including the treasurer, auditor, and secretary of state races.

"I do think it could undermine other races in which both the Democratic and the Republican nominee had agreed to abide by spending limits," Friedes said. He also urged all the candidates to abide by the caps set forth before the Libertarians one-upped them.

"That would be an incredible showing of good faith and intentions of the public's desire for real campaign reform," Friedes said.

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Dean Cook, who has raised the meager sum of $2,916 as of Aug. 31, acknowledged the action will make it more difficult for his party to compete against the Democrats and Republicans in a virtual spending free-for-all. But he said the party wanted to make a point that the law should not specify spending limits at all.

"Sometimes it isn't easy doing what's right," Cook said. He said they chose $19.5 billion, the current level of state spending, because it is as "ridiculous" a number as the state budget.

Meanwhile, the other candidates who were grappling over what limits to agree to were caught flat-footed by the development. None knew of the Libertarians' proposal because the process was secret until the Office of Campaign and Political Finance revealed the candidates' plans by a 5 p.m. deadline yesterday.

In fact, had it not been for the Libertarians, the spending limit in the governor's race would have been $5 million, the next-highest amount set by Acting Governor Paul Cellucci, once a strong advocate of campaign spending limits.

The declarations by the candidates for governor and other statewide offices are required by the reform law, which Cellucci strongly backed four years ago.

Under the law, candidates who initially agree to a specified spending cap in each race are eligible for public funding, but do not have to abide by the cap unless all the other hopefuls in that race do too. If they don't, the actual cap is set by the candidate who declares the highest limit.

[ . . . ]

Associated Press
By Jean McMillan

BOSTON (AP) - Acting Gov. Paul Cellucci has rejected campaign spending limits and said his campaign would spend upwards of $5 million to win the general election.

"We don't know what we'll spend," said Cellucci campaign spokesman Andy Antrobus. "It gives us the flexibility to spend what we need to compete with the Democrats and the large amounts of soft money the Democrats will spend on this race."

Cellucci's campaign with Jane Swift -- the governor and lieutenant governor nominees must run as one team - reported its maximum expected expenditures to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance in time to meet a Monday deadline.

Antrobus said the campaign currently has roughly $1.7 million on hand.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Scott Harshbarger had agreed to a cap of $1.5 million, which entitled him to $750,000 in public financing. He and running mate Warren Tolman are now free to spend as much as their opponents.

But rather than $5 million declared by Cellucci, that number is $19.5 billion, the figure submitted by the Libertarian party for the governor/lieutenant governor, secretary and auditor races.

Dean Cook, the Libertarian Party's candidate for governor, said he is opposed to the political finance laws because they restrict free speech.

Asked why they chose to put down a number matching the state's budget, Cook said, "If you're going to pick a ridiculous number, look at the budget -- it's a ridiculous number."

Denis Kennedy of the Office of Campaign and Political Finance said the office has to accept the highest number offered by a candidate, but acknowledged the billion-dollar figure means several candidates now have no realistic spending limit.

[ . . . ]

NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to:

Return to Updates page