Over the years, wealthy persons and organizations have been interfering with politics to influence the outcome of elections. This then leaves the elected individuals straining to address the interests of their financiers instead of attending to the needs of the citizens. Currently, there’s a huge need to combat the influence of money in politics in order to create a neutral ground that will be fair to all participants.
How to ensure that money does not influence politics
- Encouraging public financing
Instead of relying on huge funding from a few donors, politicians should be made to rely on financing from the general public. A limit should then be set to specify the maximum amount of cash that can be contributed by a single individual. This has been identified as a move that would also bring the candidates closer to the electorate as they seek donations. Understanding their needs will then be easier.
- Enhancing transparency
Officials seeking to be elected should be made to disclose their sources of funding and the details should be made available to the general public. In cases of financing from organizations, further disclosure should be made to inform the electorate of the individuals or entities funding such organizations. Such transparency will help people to determine whether their candidates are being compromised.
Among the proposals that have been made on the issue is to establish an act on disclosure to ensure that candidates are bound by law to provide information on their campaign financiers. Still on disclosure, the electorate should be informed on how the funds will be used during the campaign period.
- Enforcing electoral law
There are laws that have been set by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to regulate contribution and use of finances in campaigns. However, the agency is usually reluctant in enforcing the law and this makes it hard to deal with violations. The situation can therefore be addressed by holding the commissioners responsible for violations that are not addressed.
There are also suggestions to establish an independent agency that will formulate regulations matching the law. These will then be making it easier to determine if someone is in violation of the law.
- Improving voter turnout
A vote is a reliable tool that citizens can use to decide on the kind of leadership that they want. Instead of waiting for a few wealthy persons to force compromised officials on them, people should turnout in numbers and choose leaders who will address their needs effectively. Those using money to influence electoral outcome will then come to realize that they cannot influence the will of the people.
Can there really be politics without money?
Getting money out of politics is almost impossible since there are numerous expenses that are associated with campaigns. Even after crafting the best ideas, you will still need some effective ways of communicating the same to the electorate. This will surely cost you money since you will need to rely on options like holding rallies, advertising, setting up websites and arranging events among others.
Generally, the request is to have more control on campaign financing rather than separating money from politics. Implementing the campaign-finance law has also been hindered by lack of proper interpretation of the law. This is a situation that has affected ruling of relevant cases in the Supreme Court.
How does money influence elected officials?
After being elected into electoral offices, the candidates usually tend to tilt their priorities towards the individuals or organizations that financed their campaigns. This means that the needs of constituents are overlooked at the expense of the financiers. Such individuals also tend to have direct access to the elected officials every time they have their own personal needs. The leaders are then held captive and the situation can even be more demanding for those seeking re-election.