Bill Maurer, an attorney who runs the Washington chapter of the Institute for Justice, has an excellent op-ed today in the News-Tribune of Tacoma, Washington. He details how Washington state’s absurdly-low contribution limits to recall campaign committees are hindering a grassroots effort to remove an elected official accused of wrongdoing.
According to self-proclaimed campaign finance “reformers,” the government-imposed restrictions on political speech and participation that they seek are supposed to improve democracy, give the “little guy” a voice and make politics less corrupt.
But the reality of what they achieve demonstrates something much more troubling: Incumbents are protected from challengers, significant barriers to grass-roots activism are erected, and political insiders rule the field and employ these laws to harass and silence newcomers on the political scene. Rather than promote good government, they are usually a barrier to it.
Indeed, right now Washington’s campaign finance laws are one of the principle obstacles in the effort to recall Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam.