Campaigns for People is running an ad decrying the influence of money on political campaigns.
A grass-roots low-budget effort aimed at reforming how Texas campaigns are financed has begun circulating this week on the Internet and television in four Texas cities, including San Antonio.
Corporations need not send their contributions, said Fred Lewis, the organizer of Campaigns for People.
Lewis pitched in his own money to produce and air a 30-second TV commercial on cable's Comedy Central and "Hardball with Chris Matthews" on MSNBC.
The ad decries "special interests (that) have too great an influence at the Capitol" and urges people to become part of an "electronic action team."
They want residents to notify their legislators that they want campaign laws limiting the amount an individual can contribute to a state race.
Lewis said it's "shameful that between 115 and 120 individuals contributed more than $100,000, three people gave more than $1 million each, and one guy gave $4 million to state campaigns in 2002."
He said those contributions, which are legal, "breed cynicism among the electorate about who is hogging the microphone."
The nonpartisan Campaigns for People combines the TV ad, an e-mail campaign and yard signs to educate and mobilize people to fight for campaign reform, as well as to contribute to the online effort to keep the ad running, Lewis said.
The $20,000 collected to run the ad in Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio "is about enough to air for this week, beyond that, we'll have to rely on contributions" to get further airplay, Lewis said.
He said the Texas Election Commission, which issues non-binding advisories on the state's campaign finance law, "is toothless, gumless and completely ineffective" in regulating how races are financed.
Ethics Commission assistant general counsel Tim Sorrells said the Legislature empowered the agency to impose civil fines when a violation of the election code is found to have occurred.
"We don't enforce the criminal side of it" because lawmakers chose not to mandate that the agency investigate and file criminal charges, he said.
The ad, which began running this past weekend, will end Monday — when U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, hosts a $1,000-a-person fund-raiser in Austin.
Meanwhile, Carlos Guerra talks to Fred Lewis and Craig McDonald about the TRMPAC indictments, and Greg says what needs to be said about the latest outsourced editorial infesting the Chron. To paraphrase Ronnie Earle, being called "partisan" by the Wall Street Journal's op-ed page is like being called ugly by a frog.Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 28, 2004 to Scandalized! | TrackBack