Politicians have been jumping on the bandwagon to create new laws in the wake of Attorney General Kane’s “scandalous” handling of a government corruption case, but do their attempts for reform go far enough?
As it stands, corporate and union campaign contributions are prohibited to candidate committees, but there is no limit on the amount of individual contributions to candidates, nor from state party committees to candidates or from political action committees to candidate committees.
Senator Lisa Baker (R – Dallas) and Senator Lloyd Smucker (R – Lancaster) have proposed legislation similar to Senator Leach’s proposal, banning “gifts” from lobbyists, principals, consultants, or anyone with the intent of influencing the political process to state officials.
In a press release, Senator Smucker says, “Banning cash gifts to legislators is long overdue. As recent events have unfortunately demonstrated, Pennsylvania continues to be behind the curve nationally in regard to strong ethics rules and laws. We must, and we can, do better.”
Under the definition of “cash gifts”, US and foreign currency would be included, as well as money orders, checks, gift cards and certificates, and prepaid debit and credit cards. Gifts between spouses, a close family member, or amid a personal relationship that has no political connotation, remain the exception to their proposed rule.
With the knowledge that the legislative process is tedious, Baker and Smucker have asked that a Senate rule be adopted setting the same standards for members of legislative staff, but this proposal only serves to make public the legalized bribery that funds political campaigns. In a society filled with political apathy, it lets politicians off easy; they know the majority of voters do not pay attention to campaign finance reports.
Who will be the first to step forward for real campaign finance reform?