What is “Organic Campaign Financing“? Is it a new eco-friendly commitment? Organic, in this sense, seems to refer to “homegrown” financing. Scott Spencer, a Democrat candidate for the House of Representatives has adopted Organic Campaign Financing (OCF) as an important part of his platform. Spencer pledges to accept no campaign funds from businesses, individuals that live outside of the state of Delaware, organizations, political action committees, or from political parties.
This means Spencer will only accept campaign donations from individuals eligible to vote in the election.
Spencer lists his reasons on his website for OCF as thefollowing:
“The political influence of campaign financing from special interests has been a key reason government does not represent and serve the best interests of the people.
Disproportionate amounts of campaign financing from special interests dissolves the voice of the people in the political process. Since elections are decided by the individual voters of Delaware, candidates would be more responsive to the people they are elected to serve if they only accepted campaign donations from those citizens.”
Spencer is implying that the corporations donating to political campaigns do not have the best interests of the voter at heart. These corporations may not care about the rights of Delawareans or of the constituents in other states. One wonders why most large corporations would donate to a campaign fund. It may have to do with the platforms candidates stand upon or it may have to do with control regarding future legislation. OCF would mean the rights of the constituent would be protected as opposed to the rights of the corporation or the political action committee.
Currently there are four Republican candidates, one other Democratic candidate, a Libertariancandidate, Constitution candidate, and other unaffiliated candidates running for the same seat as Spencer. Some of these candidates are financial powerhouses having already reported over half a million dollars in campaign funds to date. John Carney, as an example, is the other Democrat candidate. CampaignMoney.com reported Carney as having over $110,000 in campaign contributions from political action committees (PAC), over 50% of those PAC being labor related groups. Interestingly enough, as of 1/25/10, not even 70% of Carney’s campaign contributions were from Delaware.
Although Spencer may have alienated himself by not accepting donations from groups that may contribute to what will be an undoubtedly expensive campaign, he holds firm to the ideals created in OCF. DE2010.com describes him as “a natural civil servant waiting to happen”. Spencer has taken his campaigning to groups such as 9-12 Delaware Patriots and Founders Values, places where the average Democratic candidate and even some Republican candidates are afraid to show their faces. The prospect of speaking to informed voters may be daunting to some, but Spencer has discussed OCF at these places and more.
The question must be asked, is Organic Campaign Financing the standard that voters should expect of their elected officials or is it a pie in the sky dream? In 2010 it was reported that in January of this year there was over 1.5 billion dollars donated to political campaigns. Can someone with the values that Organic Campaign Financing implies compete with numbers like that?