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Campaign Donations are Not the Problem


Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted to raise the amount that individuals can donate to federal candidates from $1,000 to $2,000. (The old limit was imposed in the post-Watergate period and has never been increased.) As is usually the case with the members of Congress, they’re not really addressing the root of the problem. First of all, individuals should be free to give any amount of money to anyone they please, including candidates for public office. After all, it is their money, isn’t it? And doesn’t ownership connote control? Would large donations have a corrupting influence on Congressman? Of course, but that’s only because Congress has the power to give welfare and tax goodies to people and to regulate their peaceful activities. All this power creates a situation of, for lack of a better term, legalized bribery — the payment of money to receive government goodies or to receive protection from unjust taxes or regulations. So, is the solution to attack the rights of private property and free speech by limiting the size of campaign contributions? Of course not. The solution is to remove the governmental power to give welfare and tax goodies to the citizenry and the power to regulate their peaceful behavior. Once the power is removed, it won’t matter who gets in office, and people will have the incentive to dispose of their money in more constructive ways.

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    Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.