Many of the recent elections gave us yet further examples about how money from special interests has too much impact in our political world. For example, my state senator, Republican John Moorlach, who has directed public attention to how out-of-control government pension deficits are a major threat to our economic stability, was beaten in his re-election campaign by a relatively unknown Democratic candidate. But that candidate raised about $3 million for his campaign, of which almost $1.5 million came from the prisons guards’ union. Of course, it makes perfect economic sense for that union to “invest” in getting Moorlach out of office so their members can continue to receive large public benefits. But is this really the socially desirable result? Not in my view.

So what can be done about it? Here are my suggestions. Change the laws to allow human beings to donate as much money to political candidates and causes as they wish – as long as the total donations over a fairly small threshold amount are fully and publicly disclosed. Why? Because wealthy people can always find a way to divert their contributions to their chosen causes, so let’s simply be up front about it. In addition if, for example, Bill Gates were to run for office he could donate as much to his campaign as he would want. So why, as a matter of free speech, should he not also be able to donate any desired amount to his favorite candidates or causes as well? Then, since the donations would be fully disclosed, if you concluded that some recipient candidates were “in Bill Gates’ pocket,” you could always vote for their opponents. But, importantly enough, we should not allow any non-human entities to make any donations to any political campaigns whatsoever. None. That means no corporations, PACs, unions or other entities of any kind. Why? Because they are donating the money of their shareholders or members, and that should only be done it there is unanimous consent from those people. (That also means that the 2010 US Supreme Court case of Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission would have to be overruled.) Of course, those entities could always encourage their individual shareholders and members to donate their own money, which would be fine.

But under today’s system, for example, many oil companies contribute to candidates who will vote to open up Alaska for drilling, even though many of their shareholders are avidly against that result. And many teachers’ unions donate huge sums of money to candidates who want to suppress the existence of charter schools, when many of their member teachers love charter schools. These results are corrupting and are not examples of democracy in action. Of course life is complicated and multifaceted, but these changes will accomplish two important and positive goals. First, they will reduce the amount of money contributed by lobbyists for special interests, thus reducing their influence, and, second, they will seriously reduce using some people’s money to support political causes that they don’t agree with – all the while not interfering with people’s “free speech” rights to contribute to candidates and causes of their choice. So those are my thoughts; what are yours?

One Continuing Thought: Happy Thanksgiving! To me this is the Best Day of the Year, because it is not commercialized, and instead is meant to help us all focus upon our families and how truly blessed we all are to live when, where and how we live!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.) Superior Court of Orange County, California 2012 Libertarian Candidate for Vice President

As stated above, feel free to listen to our radio show entitled All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray as we discuss timely issues and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches. The series has concluded, but you can still hear any edition On Demand by going to https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/3883. And, by the way, these 2 Paragraphs columns are now on my website at www.JudgeJImGray.com, Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com. Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty. In addition, my new book with the same title as my radio show is now available at Amazon.com. Please read and discuss it with your friends, and send in a review.