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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Editorials: Three runs at campaign finance reform ...

Above: Lawrence Lessig on why money = mistrust.

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It's a big topic. Three editorials on the important theme:

- Part 1: Amend Constitution

Proposals to amend the Constitution to overturn the Citizens United ruling are competing for attention on the Internet. We like one by Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard law professor. Its virtue is that it focuses on campaign finance and does not take a meat ax to all corporate rights.

Citizens United is the infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision of 2010 that struck down limits on independent spending by corporations on campaign messages. It has turned the presidential election into a bidding war. ...

- Part 2: Apply amendment to states

Gov. Gary Herbert’s political fundraising, which relies heavily on major contributions from energy and real estate companies, is the poster child for why this nation and this state need a constitutional amendment to reform campaign finance. Such an amendment should create public funding for campaigns and limit private contributions so as to eliminate possible corruption through large campaign donations by special interests. ...

- Part 3: Constitutional convention

It’s only happened once. A constitutional convention. But it’s now time for another.

The purpose would be to propose a constitutional amendment to provide public funding for elections to federal offices, to strictly and severely limit private campaign contributions to candidates, and to end the unlimited independent electioneering by corporations and wealthy individuals enabled by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The larger goal is to eliminate the corrupting influence of today’s campaign donors and their lobbyists who call the shots in Washington, D.C.

Something like the draft amendment put forward by Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig would do the job. ...

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