A long, expensive and ironic election process is nearing an end.
Democracy’s most healthy exercise, voting, is the nation’s best example of the freedoms Americans enjoy and cherish.
It also contains some irony in 2012. In Indiana, Hoosiers are required to show a state-issued photo ID to cast a ballot at the polls Tuesday. If they are not already a licensed driver, they can get a photo ID at a Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch. At the BMV, they’ll need a birth certificate, military ID or passport to get that photo ID. Proponents of the photo-ID voting law contend that it protects the integrity of the process.
Hoosiers and millions of other Americans have been inundated with more than 1 million television ads by the presidential campaigns and “super PACS” supporting either President Obama or Republican Mitt Romney this year. Thanks to the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court “Citizens United” decision and other federal court actions that unbridled the campaign finance system, corporations, labor unions, and other special-interest organizations are pouring unlimited contributions to create and fund those super political-action-committees, adding more than half-a-billion dollars to the already eye-popping $800 million spent by both the Obama and Romney campaigns, according to The Associated Press.
Total campaign spending by outside groups exceeds $1 billion, according to the nonprofit Sunshine Foundation, cited by The AP. Nearly $900 million of that $1 billion goes toward attacking the rival candidate.
Unlike Hoosiers trying to exercise their vote, many donors behind the super PACs get to remain largely anonymous under the wide-open finance laws. Federal disclosure rules are often circumvented. As The AP reported, nonprofit “social welfare” groups funnel millions of dollars through the super PACs for “issue ads,” but those nonprofits are governed by tax laws and they do not have to reveal their donors’ names.
So, exactly which group poses the greatest threat to the integrity of the electoral process — an elderly woman who hasn’t held a driver’s license for 20 years, or a shadowy political-action group funded by a yet-undisclosed handful of billionaires?
The lax campaign financing laws essentially give a few wealthy individuals, powerful corporations and labor groups free reign to slap a nondescript name on their blizzard of super PAC television ads, in hopes of convincing voters to back the candidate that will favor the big donors’ objectives. Of course, before those voters cast a ballot for the super PAC candidates, they’ll need to pull out their driver’s license.
Once the dust settles on the election, the 113th Congress needs to address the nation’s campaign finance regulations. Full accountability should not be expected only of average American voters.
Campaign finance regulations need to be addressed
A long, expensive and ironic election process is nearing an end.
Editorial: Warm thoughts on a cool day
As the snow and ice melt and our concentration returns to things other than winter, here is the final installment in a collection of recent developments in our community worthy of praise.
- Readers' Forum: March 12, 2014
RONN MOTT: SAWS
A few days ago we talked to John Anderson of the Greencastle Presbyterian Church. He’s the coordinator for a mission of the church that builds ramps and stairs for those who are physically handicapped in Putnam County.
EDITORIAL: Thinking warm thoughts (Part II of III)
• Renewing a local library commitment
LIZ CIANCONE: We’re not only ones ready for springtime
During the most recent of our numerous descents into polar temperatures, I was astounded to see a dozen or more robins up to their ankles in snow. They were fluffed out to about twice their normal size. I suppose that was an effort to provide a bit of feathered insulation against the cold.
READERS' FORUM: March 11, 2014
• Meat-free path to the fountain of youth
• Faulty point?
EDITORIAL: Warm thoughts on cool days (Part I of III)
• Something good’s brewing
• Y we can’t take it for granted
FLASHPOINT: Where Congress falls short, and where it doesn’t
At a public gathering the other day, someone asked me how I’d sum up my views on Congress. It was a good question because it forced me to step back from worrying about the current politics of Capitol Hill and take a longer view.
READERS' FORUM: March 10, 2014
• Our government’s heart and soul
• A plea for more give and take
MARK BENNETT: New public-access point begins quest to create more spots to experience river
Fairness holds no power over the Wabash River.
EDITORIAL: Ads on the sides of school buses? What have we come to?
Ads on the sides of school buses do not constitute a sign of the apocalypse. Western civilization will survive.
Flashpoint: President should stop Medicare Advantage cuts
Virtually all elected officials — Republicans and Democrats — share the goal of increasing access to affordable health insurance and helping families receive the best coverage to meet their specific needs.
Readers’ Forum: March 9, 2014
Mardi Gras great event for Swope
EPA regs will cause energy bills to soar
Please pray for Ukraine innocents
Sinful thinking on road to hell
Liberty — or licentiousness
People will not always agree
Botched chance at leadership
RONN MOTT: Radio now a long lost love
I fell in love with radio when I was 16, just a few short weeks before my 17th birthday. The man who did the deed and hired me was Adlai Ferguson.
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news
Welcome to girls teams, fans
You can say that again
Reader Poll results
EDITORIAL: What do Sony cutbacks mean?
It is easy to understand why shivers run down local people’s spines whenever rumors hit the streets about Sony DADC’s plant on Terre Haute’s east side. With more than 1,400 people currently employed in Sony’s production and distribution facilities, the community has grown somewhat dependent on the economic stability Sony provides.
- Readers’ Forum: March 7, 2014
RONN MOTT: Knicks
The big noise in the NBA is whether Carmelo Anthony will stay with the New York Knicks or go elsewhere.
If my memory serves, and it doesn’t always, Carmelo left the Denver Nuggets, the team that drafted him, to play in the bright lights of the Big Apple. It was loudly proclaimed at the time that Carmelo wanted to play for a championship team. The Knicks’ ownership bought a bunch of players and spent a whole bunch of money to aid Carmelo in helping the Knicks to get to a championship.
EDITORIAL: More ill will against gays
If you’re a feral cat wandering freely through a trailer park in Indiana, the General Assembly has taken action to make your life better.
Readers’ Forum: March 6, 2014
Utilities do need tighter regulation
Great work by TV sports staff
Editorial: A good place for persistence
The topic of Gov. Mike Pence’s effectiveness as the state’s top governmental leader during this year’s General Assembly will be hashed and rehashed after the session closes down in the next couple of weeks. At best, the first-term governor will get mixed marks.
- Readers’ Forum: March 5, 2014
RONN MOTT: Abraham Lincoln and George Washington
I remember when by edict the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were lumped into a single celebration called “Presidents Day.” I thought it was stupid then, and I still do.
LIZ CIANCONE: Antiques show better than any modern programs
I’m not a big fan of television.
Readers’ Forum: March 4, 2014
Lunatic ravings of the far right
Let IRS take the bullying pledge
EDITORIAL: New attention on sex assaults
Youth sexual assault in Indiana is a troubling issue that has not received the attention it deserves.
KELLY HAWES: It’s time to take politics out of redistricting
A bill to form a bipartisan redistricting commission apparently died in the Indiana Senate last week.
Readers’ Forum: March 3, 2014
Social workers honor profession
FLASHPOINT: Restoring trust, respect in schools rests in fundamentals
A recent Harris poll of 2,250 adults reveals a troubling educational trend.
EDITORIAL: Voters don’t have to stand for entrenched partisanship
Realistic Hoosiers understand members of Congress will typically follow their political party line.
- More Opinion Headlines
- Editorial: Warm thoughts on a cool day