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WWL>Topics>>4-7-14 11:10am Garland: on campaign finance reform

4-7-14 11:10am Garland: on campaign finance reform

Apr 7, 2014|

Garland talks about the Supreme Court's removal of limits on campaign contributions with Bradley Smith of the Center for Competitive Politics and Dr. Ryan Teten, assistant professor of political science at ULL.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

This -- or weren't thinking about the Supreme Court today in the overall limit on political donations in this country. They struggle and some -- political contributions. And so -- this the latest in the string of decisions rolling back campaign -- and regulations. Permit me a little bit obligated to a -- -- called the experts and were like in the -- Smith with the chairman of the center for competitive politics. Visit and taking a -- and arm chair of law and West Virginia University proposed were welcomed the sure -- call. Taking -- pleasure to be here. How -- this sewn -- and -- them breathing get route 2600 dollars to primary election general election. Six of 4002 national party's 20000 state party's 101000 political action -- I couldn't news. Is is -- three point six million or is that those figures would bored bored and we doing. You're not alone in fact been resting during oral argument on this case back last fall Justice Scalia from the bench that. I can be configured the slot. And that's what the problems that campaign finance -- become so exceedingly complexion regulated than average citizens to understand. In this case. They're basically a couple of limits you can get 2600 ballots to candidate per election. Right should be -- 5202. Candidate he's got a primary elections well over two years like. And then there were limits to twelve for Hamachi give to party and -- to a national political party little over 30000 hours. But in addition to this. The original call aggregate limits to limit how much money toll could give to candidates and how much when he told you could get to all political parties. So if you want to contribute to an actual legal contribution to the national party choice. And to the state party NDP to your local county party you would run up against the aggregate pack. What you wanted to contribute to several congressional candidates you could run up against this so for example the -- to -- on corruption. Wanted to contribute money to about 25 or thirty candidates he couldn't do CP the legal maximum in nineteen and its. He was shut down any other candidate in theory would be corrupted by taking money. So the court struck those aggregate limits down and I think it's you know -- common sense the idea is if you you know the first nine congressmen are corrupt attempt to. If the national party committee and corrupted by getting illegal donation and the state parties and corrupted by getting illegal donation. The local parties could be corrupted by getting any illegal donations and that's kind of the effect of the aggregate tax. Good decision in my view in in in somewhat simplifying the law in that respect and one that I think makes it. -- toll that this was over simple -- Used to be maximum. 0123200. Now there's a combined maximum now a three point six million. Is that. No I I think that's correct I mean the combined for the first 323000. You've got to by combining what was the maximum you could -- to all parties and the maximum you could give to all candidates right. There wasn't technically single limit of 123000. Now -- the three point six million figure come from. Well this comes from -- call monster under the -- stories -- -- that promoted by opponents of the McCutcheon ruling and by the states. Their theory is that. A candidate or candidates can stand up what are called joint fundraising committees and it's. For example the Republican candidates and we -- it could get together and make -- that we're gonna have one big joint fund raiser and people he could write a check. Further legal amount which you can give to all of us right. One check and that will be the apps that we skipped a legal contributions if you like it less than that would give it up. Proportionately OK so it's -- simplified way of raising funds and makes it easier for people to raise funds. -- -- -- -- -- -- Argue that when you could have all 435. Candidates in the party it's getting kind of super joint fundraising committee and they could and it's all fifty states and state party and the national parties and to -- one huge check to get three some million dollars right. The problem says it is a couple things one is. First practically it doesn't have. Happened for example stands now there has never to my knowledge than a single joint fundraising committee. That is trying to put together even enough candidates to get the maximum. Under the old aggregate limits. Joint fundraising committees are fairly complex to operate the candidates have to re probably going to divide the money -- the legal maximum each and yet. It's not like one guy gets it in -- -- out it has to be determined. In advance. And -- says -- not a realistic scenario -- donors don't want to get -- 435. Candidates for party and so. So that's not very possible scenario in my mind that that's true that has has kind of come up. The other thing to remember about that of course is that still means that candidates only yet the legal maximum. Or party only gets what has otherwise been determined to be in the maximum congress is not like you can write three point six million dollar check. And that now goes to Republican National Committee the Republican national committee of the Democratic National Committee. Still is limited to taking 30000. 600 dollars. A lot of people -- the latest -- thirty it's something a lot of money and certainly that most of us can't contribute much. But we should remember that for most of American history. There have been no limits at all what individuals could give. Up until 1970 for the -- and so we elected you know Franklin Roosevelt and Truman and Eisenhower and Kennedy all the the system in which there were no limits. And even when limits were first put on in 1974. If you were to adjust those poor inflation. They would be about twice as much today actually Morton. Probably about three and half before transports today. Yes yes they currently are. So you know I think that what we see is an effort by people to to kind of suggests this is currently some great words in American actions. And I just don't think common sense knowledge of how the joint fundraising committees were. What I look at history suggests that's going to be the case. Our little Integra -- we're coming right back. Talking about a Supreme Court ruling last week and ended overall limits on political donations. What do you think comments questions to -- 0187. A good idea bad idea. -- -- The finger at about a Supreme Court ruling last week basically. Ended overall limits on political donations we have proposed from Bradley Smith to of this. Chairman of the cellar for a competitive politics and business thing -- open a branch Guerrero of -- at West Virginia University. Professor tell you these numbers are wrong reading them out of below Wall Street Journal. The decision gives do you bill ability. 5200. Dollars each to a candidate in every house and senate brings plus. One point two million to the party is is that correct. Yeah in theory that's correct and sensitive to etiquette and donor who actually wanted to get. 5200 hours to all 435. Candidates. And wanted to get the legal maximum to every party in the state every state in a party in every national committee you could hit those amounts. There's no wonder about who above these figures 265200. To put a book for the Supreme Court in the first place. Well those are figures that are written into the law by statute. Part of the reason -- get some odd numbers they're like 2600. Is because some years ago. In 2003. The -- congress passed legislation indexing the limits. And they get indexes around to the nearest nearest hundred dollars each year yourself. For the last decade or so the numbers have gone up but inflation but if I put out earlier remember that thirty years before that they were never adjusted for inflation. Some of the year there among north to abuse earns record whose. Were in the process of dismantling the whole campaign and and regulation in future cases. What you think. Well certainly the court -- -- their large parts of it as we know Indian Citizens United said that that corporations have the right to participate in spending money. And they can spend independently candidates they cannot contribute to candidates. And now of course they've they've knocked out the aggregate limit on how much an individual can contribute. As to whether word mystery in the entire thing as separate out until 1974. They were never limits on what an individual could get any candidate war in the aggregate. So we have much more regulation there we have much more disclosure regulations and we've ever had in the past. The regulations of the Federal Election Commission still take up literally hundreds of pages of that fine print that appears in the federal register. So we are. A long way from an unregulated system. If you're a person who you know feels like regulations period necessary maybe there's some comfort your person thinks deregulation in this area has not been helpful. There's -- sense -- there's it's still a long way ago. So who were too -- about this time magazine and wrote. Now there is nothing to stop President Obama from asking donors to give. Have million dollars or even a million bucks to attend Saddam -- -- -- -- -- distributed among dozens of Democrat party. Committees in -- that it is that true. Well again that's true but only Jamaica it's huge number of assumptions. That are probably not going to happen. You know I guess what played out even under the current aggregate limits. You didn't find over the former aggregate limits you can find. The kind of joint fundraising committees where that person liberation 123000. Dollars at a time right. So there's no reason to think that suddenly they're going to raise 500000. But even if there. Happens if there's necessarily a bad thing if you presume that the president is going to want to spend a lot of time raising money to help this party anyway. You might as well make its simplest possible and to do it. And remember that 500000 doesn't go to the president campaign if he could run for reelection doesn't that any one member doesn't -- any you know one part of the political parties. It has to be divvied up in a predetermined allotment with in the legal limits. 2600 -- candidate or 30002. Federal party committee at last state local parties. It would have to be divvied up to all of those different groups. So again one trolls out these numbers it's not that they are not possible -- that they are highly implausible. And instead they might occur. It's not at all clear that that's a bad thing it might be advancing -- you know opposes. You know what since it put on much stricter regulatory regime throughout the please note that. All ready governor and -- super pac an unlimited amount it may be better to have that donors giving to candidates and political parties. And that in that case against him not to just any one candidate -- political parties going to be far far less than those kind of numbers that are being truck. And again at a road -- -- is I'm not true what true what I read here and -- is. Yeah do you of all the stories we hear about law be missed having. -- do. Power in Washington. The amount to. Politicians that that went. And -- -- lobbying the very firm that they are regulated. Did the very thought of the possibility. Of somebody given a million books -- have million bucks. For sit down dinner do they do with these massive donations -- just saying and doing it for the good of the party. Or don't they expect something. In return. That they on this shows pretty clearly that most donors give simply because they're socially motivated. That is seen their friends are giving an incident again. Would they give primarily in that you already agree with them. But thank you very strongly gone on this notion that the extent we're really concerned about the influence of law in Washington lobbying is really where the action is. You know I I. Implicit before that and it's from 2002005. I was commissioner and chairman of the Federal Election Commission. And I used to say often that we had a lot of cases some of which violated the law on some of withstand some of which were close call. But virtually none of them had anything to do with sort of corruption or attempting to you know improperly -- members votes. That action really happens on the lobbying. And big corporations. Spend about 100 times -- about ten times much money on lobbying and they do on all campaign contributions of all sorts. So maybe you know people really concerned about Washington that's -- the attention needs to be focus more when it comes to campaign spending. We want a system that allows lots of freedom for folks to jump in and and try to change the system we don't want to give those in power the ability to limit. The ability of citizens wealthy citizens -- average citizens pooling their resources to criticize those officeholders and and seek change. And one thing we do see I think incorrectly in the data. Is that higher spending tends to work against incumbent officeholder so incumbent officeholders like to -- Down the spending they like to limit how much people -- yet. They don't like some stranger coming and spending a lot of money against them. And we need good food system that allows for four. That kind of change and that kind of bad. This this is -- confusing segment may listening to to breed among experts Sunday. And and one of them said global it leaders -- UF CC two to exercise is what the ball already you give money. You're gonna have your donation. Again by the end your name in your business -- whatever identified also. But I pulled some quotes hopeless and -- here's chairman of the Republican National Committee says now. More money is gonna upload candidates and committees that or required to disclose their donors. And Edwards says -- transparency. And here's another one. What's happened is that the groups they can raise the most disclosed the least. Well which one is it. Well again the law and so -- -- necessary in Honolulu and unfortunately you know I don't think that it clarify it for your listeners really clear even in limited time but. I would say that's different types of organizations have different reporting requirements. Every contribution to candidate or political parties extra hundred dollars from -- right is disclose it publicly available on the Internet. And solve their expenditures so that is. Serve the maximum level of disclosure. Super -- disposal of their donors and other -- do you but there are certain types of organizations basically. Nonprofit organizations like playmaker -- -- NAACP -- the National Rifle Association this year up. That do a little bit of political activity. But not a lot or not it's not the majority of what they do and those groups have more limited disclosure obligations. They get typically have to. Disclosed that they ran the -- but not necessarily who gave them money to pay it. In the end this is very important because people just don't realize -- At the amount spent in American politics about 350 million. Comes from organizations and groups that don't have to disclose all of their donors public. -- felt like a lot but we realize that's actually you know cost a lot of money campaign we spent far less on campaigning that we do a potato chips every year right. If you think about the total amount spent on campaigning. Is about four -- four and a -- Half percent. At the money spent on political campaigns is not itemized by donor so these really very little undisclosed money and I think that's too bad that red Herring issue. But it's confusing precisely. Because there's different sets of rules for all types of different groups. And so when you talk about disclosure in -- talk about I think -- like talking about a dog and one person describing Saint Bernard another person's describing that you law. Professor. And so acute is but I think I -- amid proof. Capturing a little bit more refute that time so much a great. Erica right we'll talk to a no protesters at the you well well. Political science group as you figure that's confusing and more important that they is yours do you really care. But -- Supreme Court ruling. Concerning. Campaign contributions. To -- zero. When it's told in the country it's exits eighty and zero heats up. With -- -- makes it sound simple to bring court and move the world and on political donations in America. And you get into it in the news he could be contributions can be 2600. For our. Six under general -- 64800. Per national party committees. But the sleep party. 8000 but the political action committee. And in the Kaplan did the donor Cooper and you welcome boss and the reports. In. 5200 dollar -- -- candidate and every house and celebrates. Its one point two million dollars to the party shortly. Person can developed by. You're in the number of of course Stan and -- -- run -- -- to make sure you understand. And people call me. Alone and confused. By this government -- the -- welcome to the system proposed for political sciences -- Each committee. I just means a lot more money entering the electoral system in in very large numbers. In the end is this a bad thing I had talks on the experts would say. Or. Before. Fairly recent Supreme Court rulings. Which is -- but it restrictions at all for a very long time during Roosevelt not only of the times that. Government was making major changes what are your talk. Well I mean he got. Kind of put an asterisk beside that Syria you know as -- time period where we had. No limitations on what they called soft money and soft money is just an unlimited amounts that were funneled to. The party and other organizations for. You know party building purposes what have you but it was basically sent to the candidates there was -- way around it even during that time period. And then with the McCain Feingold campaign finance reform act in 2002. They eliminated soft money. And tried to set these limits will that outcry was you know giving money is free speech and you can't necessarily limit that. -- to the Supreme Court has recently ruled you know what corporations being able to give them limited funds and in effect individuals being able to get unlimited funds. That this book and open it up for as much free speech that you want but we've seen the cost of elections kind of increase exponentially. Over the last ten or twenty years so it's. Or that is concerning. Do Justice Kennedy institute going by in the quote suited to. Chief justices Roberts. Meets the mischief just sues you or talk to lawmakers scrambling to collect enough cash to secure community chairmanships. Or the plum assignment. The boards out in 2003. Upholding the ban on soft money contributions to political parties the court noted. That such unlimited checks pose no threat to both actual rupture in an Arab road in mission report that I would point out. Eroding public confidence in the electoral process. Do you think. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy is rooted in the -- yeah. Eroding public health and well I think what he did and come down -- three or 2% as she grew. I think it is suggestion is that. It's getting further away from the average man being able to run for office are represented his fellow man. I mean when your average. Account in her when he -- campaign in the senate is a record eleven million dollars in the average and houses about one point five million. And that's pretty far away from what the average American -- dale and so without a a Packers super pac our unlimited funding -- a billionaire in the wings liked Soros and Coke Brothers. It doesn't seem like you have the chance to actually get to Washington DC by ourselves I think. That's the major concern is that it it's become more of a rich man's game that was before. Right let me bring in some of -- listeners -- pushing comments Stephen girl with the doctor TP brokers should. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- World with the doctor run into -- I've just been -- -- knows who's cute pro answer. -- excellent congratulations. Thank -- well. Coming right back and rob -- of what we call -- the thing. We're thinking about the leaders in the string of Supreme Court decisions -- back campaign president regulations. This on this drug downed. So -- -- and political contributions. And we we always on the show -- required shouldn't be considered where it shouldn't. Who do you trust. You do you trust that those little autumn in New York not gonna have more influence what we've been we. -- they give tens of thousands or hundreds of millions. We're here is appalled that producer just gave me. So voter by a 21 margin disagreed with the latest week's US Supreme Court ruling last week's spring ruling. And believe the government should control how much -- people can contribute to political campaign. 54%. Of them think that the only problem is this is a branch in some poll and you can Google it. They get accused by a lot of the most posed to -- -- goes to. Who do you drugs even when you're looking for a pole and -- -- should trust. Do drug help us sort all this we have product Roy and T and professor of political science duo well and -- let's go back statements do we get in this time Brooke pushing it. You need to Jack Cutler ran for congress and he won. -- he would not accept more than a hundred dollars from anybody. It would take out he would take it out for white certainly take agriculture music -- but he that you could have on the children. To make peak and it needs to do stuff that I probably shouldn't do. Because you're contributor should be. And and also. You realize how many congressmen and whatever. -- children. Are on their campaign. You know they -- pretty campaign supposedly and they get nice salaries out of out of the campaigned. That that introducing dogs doctor a -- that idea but I always wondered. About how people likes Stephens and try to do the right thing politically and on the -- and above board. But it'll company -- did advertising. All over the world. And we did advertising because it asks. In the more money use it and in the courts the message as something that. But the more -- use in. The more people -- at all. The bigger influence from. So we've and appear like somebody's front Stevens for a and that most of Obama -- elected chair all contributions. Right. Yours yours opinions did if you got a major donor. That that gives advertising on our tour are wrong now -- No that's one of the big problems loses you know you do you have these small limits and during the last campaign. And during 2008 and 2012 Obama prided himself on -- I have you know. Small individual contributions small individual contributions and and -- that he collected a lot her similarly to -- hundred -- 200 but he would go back to over and over again to get to that 600. So in the end it was a big contribution but when you have super -- when you have 520 sevens and Bible NCs. When you have these groups that are out there that scene basically you can contribute unlimited amounts of funds still. It will then go on the warpath against individual candidates you just cannot compete in -- There's no federal agency that -- the truth because if you well. But the truth on -- so that they just don't do it and so. You know upon the super pac -- -- one at the shadow campaigns behind that even. Than I can put out innumerable ads that are completely false. And unfortunately Americans to get as significant portion of their information commands that are on enacted. Completely overturn what might be and act an individual like -- was talking about -- You know is trying to serve the best interest of the people by staying away from large corporate donors. -- here on herta a couple of experts and you wouldn't he be program. -- -- the would -- -- -- transparent. We need to know who these donors. And the guy that was talking about it is used to be you and the FCC commute communications. Committee. Federal Communications. Commission. And he said there's already a law that says donors -- to review the relieved that. Well it's -- -- was reading the last flight here's chairman of the Republican National Committee. He said more money out -- -- candidates and committees that are required. To disclose or donors. Suggesting that it's not just an FCC ruling. It's also required -- more. And here's the other side saying. What's happened now is that the groups who can bridge the most disclosed elites. What is -- when it comes to transparency. Is there is there at all. No there there is -- animus OK there is an area and so I hope I answered that but. It's erratic -- specific checks to the Kennedy heir to a party etc. your name is going to be on the checked. But there are other groups that exist outside of that and that's -- it's in the -- ceased and these are groups that run ads under the same tax code as churches and things. And churches don't give out names of their donors. And so that's part of the whole foundation of church offer. Political organization formed under the aegis. Of which -- Right that the Bible once he's they would be economic stimulus or intro our interest groups. And so there are all these tax -- -- -- problem the policy. That basically say OK well you can give us some limited amounts of funds and will be for you know economic interests well you know I can. Put that under under names like Americans for progress are Americans for a new tomorrow or Americans for whatever. And then I can run ads against candidates and don't have received did it I mean -- is restored from now. The last presidential election basically in 2004 I think where there's a group that was formed that went after Howard Dean. And in the end they found out that the group was funded by John Edwards and Dick Gephardt and all the other Democrats. And they go on after Howard Dean and running up against him because he was the front runner and sure enough the he blew out and they were able to step and had John Kerry. Be the nominee is results so by having match. That -- it keeps you from. Being shown. Then I think that provides a lot of protections like -- unlimited amounts of funds and just kind of go after candidates anonymously -- from the status. Is that stood just another nail in the crossed coffin. Or is that something that that is not believed by conservatives. Because of this ruling by the miserably by live. And I think even Americans know -- and I think that's what their. -- approval rating is so low that they have this view that there's -- special interests are owning congressional candidates could you look at the you know the rise in the cost of of the presidential her Rory senatorial election it's now in the billions. And it just seems like OK the average American really can't even compete. And so this ruling I don't think there's much more to give us competence and on confidence to just suggest that well it's business as usual only more so. I'm won't vocal cords and we've got about thirty seconds. If if I'm a guy -- millions to give -- an -- do this. Three million plus combined and contribution. Brought some right occurred trillion checks of 5200 dollars each. Now I mean you can do that but the more easily that you your way to do it is that would just right eight. I checked. -- Special interest group Arafat a one seat for 300 million dollars and say I want him to go after the candidate and then they start running ads nonstop on the -- -- candidate. Doctor it's always in the eye opener. So much for the time. And writing team for that. As you well. All right come the next thing -- do not global Wednesday.

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