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Campaign reform is a must

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

Until we get the nation pointed in the right direction, what we do on the local level will never get things back on the right track toward correcting the financial mess we currently find ourselves.

Everyone running for the top job in Washington claims to be a leader, including President Obama, who promised major changes after he was elected. True leaders break with tradition and introduce new methods to solve the nation’s problems.

The first major problem I believe this country faces is a money problem. I’m referring to the money problem that is ultimately at the root of many of the other ones we face as a nation, and while it starts with the election of the commander in chief, it also pertains to every elected official ... federal, state and local.

Over this past weekend, presidential candidates released their recent financial reports. At this point in the election maze, it’s all about the money, not votes, as the votes follow the money. While President Obama hopes to raise a billion dollars, he has raised more than $70 million so far. In contrast, the Republican candidates have collectively raised $52.6 million, with Perry at $17 million, Romney at $14 million, Paul at $8.2 million, Bachman at $3.9 million and Cain at $2.8 million.

Raising that much campaign money is at the very root of what ails our political system. First of all, people, companies or “Special Interests Groups” don’t give money away without expecting a return on their investment. What they are bargaining for is access. With access comes influence, and with influence the person we’ve elected to address our problems now has strings attached, giving those interest groups greater pull over the president than we could ever muster with our votes. Secondly, the largest use of those funds raised is for advertising to attack the other candidates.

Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He can be reached at dan@denpubs.com.

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