Supreme Court ruling allows sham ads to tarnish elections

Contrary to what The Hill argues in its June 26 editorial “Freer money,” opening the way for corporations and labor unions to evade the law and flood the airways with political advertising masquerading as issue-ads will not bring more sense to elections. The Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow the circumvention of long-standing restrictions on the use of corporate and labor union funds in federal political campaigns through sham issue-advertising will only serve to make elections more disjointed.

Voters overwhelmingly supported campaign finance reform, as did business leaders who tired of the pressure from lawmakers to provide unlimited “soft money” contributions to their campaigns. The McCain-Feingold legislation, which was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2003, brought accountability to election finance by banning soft money and by closing the issue-ad loophole. The law does not prohibit legitimate issue-advertising, but properly regulates advertising meant to influence federal elections. It stipulates that funds from corporate and union treasuries cannot be used to finance broadcast ads that refer to a candidate for federal office and air in the candidate’s jurisdiction within 30 days prior to the primary election and within 60 days of the general election. The law does not prevent these entities from using political action committee (PAC) funds to finance these ads.

Campaign finance reform has had the intended effect of eliminating the corrupting influence of large campaign contributions while invalidating the fears of critics that it would destroy the political parties. The parties and campaigns have thrived by recruiting new small-dollar donors. The increased participation of voters is a benefit to the process.
Unfortunately, the proliferation of negative and misleading advertising that may be unleashed by the Supreme Court decision threatens to alienate voters and distort elections. There is no sense in that.

~From Cecilia Martinez, executive director, The Reform Institute, Alexandria, Va.



COULTER AND EDWARDS

I wasn’t fooled

Either you are incompetent in your reporting/editing skills or you purposely left out crucial information in your article “Edwards camp again turns to cash cow Coulter” (June 27). The quote by Ann Coulter which read, “If I’m going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I’ll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot” was taken out of context. It was a jibe at Bill Maher for saying (quite seriously) that he wished Vice President Cheney were killed in a terrorist attack. You did a good job of fooling the uninformed, but you didn’t fool me. There was a time when news organizations like yours tried to hide their liberal bias but now there is not even a pretense to being objective.

~From Hank Bowie, Whippany, N.J.


Liberal pukes — er, press

It would be nice if you included the context of Ann Coulter’s remarks where she pointed out that when Bill Maher wished seriously that Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack there was no outrage from the liberal pukes — er, press — so it must be safe to make the same wish in a joking manner about the lovely John Edwards. …

~From David J. Kolander, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Lowering the dialogue

I find it grossly inaccurate that your author Klaus Marre in his article might paint the Elizabeth Edwards response to Coulter as anything other than involuntary reaction to something that needs to be addressed.

As Marre’s article noted, the first time this occurred was when Coulter took a shot at John Edwards’s sexuality, calling him a “faggot.” …

It’s a shame it took Elizabeth Edwards to call Ms. Coulter to the carpet … I wholly agree with Mrs. Edwards’s argument that such debasing of the political debate truly lowers the dialogue in our society. It breaks my heart.

~From Maura Satchell, Smyrna, Tenn.



FAIRNESS DOCTRINE

Ad revenue justification

(Regarding article, “GOP preps for talk radio confrontation,” June 27.) It seems that if the government mandated, say, two hours per day, or 10 hours per week, of right- and left-wing head-to-head debate in a publicly sponsored broadcast forum it could be made available to enough private stations/networks with ad revenue shares to recoup the investment.  … It seems the Fairness Doctrine would be met at limited, if any, net outlay to the government, and free enterprise would determine how many private stations/networks would pick up the show.

~From Jeffrey Hiser, Austin, Texas

Durbin’s talk-radio fears

As a resident of Illinois, I am ashamed to even admit that (Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill.) is my senator. Of course he wants a so-called Fairness Doctrine regarding radio shows! His idea of fairness is to shovel out liberal garbage to listeners who are already receiving an avalanche of the same in the printed media and on TV. Why is he so afraid of a few conservative talk radio shows?

~From Peg Fallon, Rockford, Ill.