To the Editor:
I attended a political club meeting last night. I purchased tickets for a fundraiser — a dinner — to be held in a few weeks. I was asked to please provide user names, addresses and phone numbers on the back of tickets. I assumed it was simply a handy way to gain names for future contact. I was wrong.
During the course of the meeting I learned why this was necessary when another attendee spoke about experience gained as a past candidate for office. A goodly sum of money had been donated during a fund raiser. All money had been raised from individual attendees’ donations, a cake auction, and other enjoyable contests. These funds, relatively small from private friends and like-thinking persons, were necessary to pay the expenses of the campaign and were required to be reported. Not easily. Not simply. Not in lump sum. Each donation had to be reported individually, person by person. It took the candidate, who naturally did not have a staff, many after-work hours over four days time to fill out the required forms to report each donation.
Most candidates for local government do not have an office or staff to care for the nitty-gritty required by election laws that are designed to keep campaign spending honest. Indeed, they’re lucky to have willing family members or a few personal friends to help.
Similar rules apply to all politically connected organizations, clubs and political party offices. Funds need to be accounted for. Who they’re from, and how they’re spent. Keeping our campaigns and elections honest! Remember that word, “honest!”
This is incredibly labor-intensive as we compare these relatively minuscule donations to the huge donations and spending of dark money from nefarious political action groups. Particularly evidenced are enormous fund amounts funneled and tracked from state to state in order to promote their desired candidates for office, intentionally skewing the balance of power, with obvious purpose to influence these candidates’ future votes in state and national offices.
We all want honesty in our elections, but honestly, is this honest? Look at the other unnecessary recently enacted requirements for future N.C. elections, hindering the peoples’ right to vote but all purported to be in the name of honesty! Really?
We the voting public, no matter our political party, can’t tolerate this hypocrisy? Think about it. It’s our voting rights at stake. Who, or what, is running you and me? Do you tolerate or even support this? We invent, impose and keep some rules of honesty, but discard others? Large coalitions of corporate big money are OK, but we peasants (you know, we the people) are to be tabulated?
Where’s the oversight? Where are the regulations? Where oh where is this endlessly touted honesty?