Not necessarily. Seen as a bribe, a campaign ntribution isn’t very efficient. A politician can’t pocket it. Some do, of course, but campaign reform isn’t intended or required to snare an outright crook. The rules are made for the rule-abiding, and a rule-abiding politician can use money from campaign contributions only in efforts to persuade the voters. In other words, not only is campaign spending speech — it is only speech. That’s all the money is good for. And the voters have it within their power to ignore this speech and make all that contribution money worthless.
Actually, this isn’t true – at least, not wholly so. Take Senator Harry Reid, for instance: He’s never held a job other than in the public sector, and yet he’s become a multi-millionaire. That he’s been able to do so is solely because he has been able to take advantage of his political position to line his own pockets via sweetheart deals, insider tips, and other boodle funneled his way outside the campaign donation arena.
Of course, an absolutely necessary component of this delightful situation (for Reid, at least) is that he maintain his position of power and influence, and for that, he needs to keep on getting elected.
As we all know, elections cost money. Big money. So those contributors who fund Reid’s campaigns (and who are also often the same folks who enable his ever-growing personal wealth) are perhaps not bribing him directly, but they are enabling the swelling of his personal pocketbook nonetheless.
And he knows it. So does Kinsley, although he’s not admitting it.
The real solution to money in politics is to make it less attractive for donors to buy legislators, either directly or indirectly. So…couple strict term limits with public financing of elections that include level playing field limits on how much politicians can spend on campaigns. The first would make it less attractive to buy the lawmakers, and the second would remove the special interest money from campaigns. Between the two, we might see some improvement in the situation.