Special to the Tribune-Star
I talked to Dave Crooks a couple of days after the election to congratulate him on a hard-fought campaign. I told him if he was going to run again, he probably should begin now. I was only half kidding but there’s a germ of truth in that. A senator has about three years before he has to begin thinking about the next campaign. A congressman has to be running all the time.
Crooks surprised me and said, “Ronn, I’m never going to do it again.” And I asked him why (after all, he’s a legislator, a successful business man and, as politics go, he’s still a young man). He responded by saying, “You know, Ronn, I spent 90 percent of my time on the phone trying to raise money for the campaign. I really got tired of begging.” The amount of money spent against Mr. Crooks was enormous. In the very last four or five weeks of the campaign, here’s what was spent. Remember, this was toward the end of the campaign. One super PAC spent $125,000, another spent $75,000. I believe it was $150,000 the Bucshon campaign spent, and the very last chunk of money spent was $400,000. That’s almost a million dollars. And there’s no time-pay plan for politicians. It’s all money up front. The avalanche of that spending did Crooks in, and the majority of this money came from not only outside the district the two men were campaigning in, but outside of the State of Indiana.
Crooks is a successful Indiana broadcaster with stations in Washington and Vincennes, and is about to wrap up his fourth broadcast acquisition in Rockville.
While his stations are doing well, they certainly don’t produce the kind of funding that could stop or slow down the onslaught of super PAC money coming from elsewhere. It is time to put a cap on spending. Not because Crooks lost the election, but because more than 6 billion dollars were spent on this most recent national election. I’m not going to list all the things this 6 billion dollars could do for America.
The Supreme Court told us in a decision before this election that a corporation has the same rights as a citizen, which means the corporation, i.e., super PAC, could spend all the money it cares to for a candidate or a multitude of candidates. That’s just pure hogwash. Think about this … a corporation that can spend millions of dollars could equip its people with weapons and have a militia just like Uncle Adolph did in the 1930s in Germany.
There needs to be a cap on the total spending that goes into an election campaign. I’m not going to write the outline for this here and now. Just keep in mind a cap, a limit, needs to be set down by the government on how much spending can be done on a given election. This time, the presidential race was not chosen by the man who could spend the most money. All it did, this time, was fatten up the television stations’ profit picture.
Since the election, I know you have missed these words: “I’m Ronn Mott and I approve this message!”
Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.