- The Washington Times - Friday, January 22, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Our citizens wonder aloud why their voices are blatantly ignored by elected officials as soulless corporate entities, political action committees and the very rich outbid the people for the right to have their voices heard and grievances addressed. The first resolution we must keep in this new year is to act decisively to remedy the corruption of our political process both here in Virginia and nationally.

James Madison may be credited with writing the First Amendment, but he would not have characterized campaign finance reform as limiting the free speech of our citizens. As we now have it in Virginia, corporations, political action committees (PACs) and people who do not even reside in a particular district can all give money to candidates.

If we want the voices of the people in each district to be heard again by elected officials, we must take the following steps:

c Restrict contributions to come only from people whose primary residence is within the district. This simple yet dramatic revision would amplify the voices of the people who reside in the respective districts and restore the representative relationship between our elected officials and the people who reside in their areas of representation.

c Eliminate PAC contributions.

c Eliminate corporate contributions. Corporations are profit-making entities whose bylaws mandate that they expend money only with the expectation of a return on that investment. Corporations, in spite of their public-relations propaganda, exist only to make money and are not citizens. Only people are citizens.

c Cap the amount of contributions to the federal limit for an individual contribution.

Write to your delegate and senator and tell him or her that campaign finance reform will dramatically reduce corruption and enhance the ability of the individual citizen to be heard. If they do not support reform, work for a candidate in the next election who pledges to enact campaign finance reforms as enumerated above.

J. TYLER BALLANCE

Glen Allen, Va.

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