Maybe I’m being too sanguine, but I kind of wonder if stuff like this is really going to matter as much as it did in the past. Columbian reporter Michael Andersen has this article this morning:
For the second time in four years, would-be casino developer David Barnett is dropping tens of thousands of last-minute dollars to stop Tom Mielke from becoming a Clark County commissioner.
On Wednesday, a Seattle-based company owned by Barnett bought $59,000 in mailers opposing Mielke, state records show.
Last week, the county Republican Party, boosted by a big donation from the local Building Industry Association, dropped $41,800 in a sharp anti-Brokaw mailing and TV campaign.
Mielke’s direct donations include $7,500 from La Center’s four existing casinos, which have long opposed a larger tribal operation nearby.
Things will change somewhat next cycle, as a sidebar to Andersen’s piece points out, if Clark County continues to have over 200,000 registered voters. That would result in the triggering of contribution limits. It won’t do anything about independent expenditures, though, so I guess this sort of thing will likely continue in the future.
Another thing in Andersen’s article: something like half the ballots have already been returned, so the folks who can afford to drop wads of cash at the last minute are seeing a diminished return.
I don’t know of a Constitutional way to deal with independent expenditures, but it sure gets old. Neither the BIAW nor Dave Barnett have the interests of the entire citizenry at heart. It’s just a game to them, if admittedly a game involving the mountains of money they hope to make by influencing public policy. Meanwhile, the regular old Joe (is everyone named Joe?) watches as his community struggles to pay for basic services like parks, roads and public safety. Maybe voting in large numbers will help.