comment on Keesha Gaskins summary
_4.6 average___ On a scale of (0) strong
disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) strong agreement, should public
financing be used to offset the ability of independent groups to make
unlimited campaign contributions on behalf of specific candidates?
_7.6 average___ On a scale of (0) strong
disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) strong agreement, should the
matter of conducting fair and effective precinct caucuses remain
largely an internal matter for the political parties?
Kurt M. Anderson (2) (9)
I am generally reluctant to answer rote-formatted questionnaires but I
note that yours allows for nuanced responses and, more importantly, it
is related to the activities of the League of Women Voters, an
organization with a spotless record of nonpartisanship. It's also
I give the first question approximately a 2. There seems always to be
a way to trump any well-intentioned scheme of public financing (I've
been a statewide campaign treasurer, so I have a pretty good idea of
what the rules are). A better idea may be to require all commercials
and print ads to disclose the cost of the ad placement, the cost of
producing the ad, and the budgeted cost of all use of the ad, right in
I give the second one a 9. The parties do not do a perfect job of
designing and running their caucuses, but these are exercises of the
First Amendment right of assembly, and government should regulate them
with a light touch, if at all.
Per another of my policies, I will post this inquiry and my response
on my web pages.
Dennis Johnson (0) (10)
Lyall Schwarzkopf (2) (2)
Both political parties are leaning far left and far right. They can
not make the changes needed. Therefore the legislature needs to make
the changes for them, but I don't think they have the will to do so.
Carolyn Ring (0) (10)
There is no doubt the amount of money currently spent on campaigns
from local councils to the presidency borders on the obscene. However,
if candidate A can raise $200,000 and Candidate B can not, to give
candidate B $200,000 in public funds is, in my opinion, absurd. I do
concur with the Civic Caucus member who brought up the observation
that both party caucuses tend to be controlled by the extremes of each
party. I remember talking to one former party leader in a county who
complained they used to get over 100 people out to caucuses and now
"they" get about 15. I suggested he get 16 or more then and hi reply
was "I don't even want to associate with "those people." The caucus
system can work and can come up with the best qualified most
elect-able candidates only if there is wide participation and that is
up to party leaders to promote. The fault lies in moderates not
attending the caucuses. You can't fault the people that abide by the
system. You can fault those who complain, but do not attend.
Al Quie (0) (9)
If the issue is party platforms, that is an internal matter. If it has
to do with endorsing candidates, I think the parties ought to act as
nominating committees and should not require a candidate to pledge not
to run in the primary. I am happy that some candidates have challenged
their party and defeated the party endorsed candidates in the primary.
I am leery of the legislature messing around with it.
Donald H. Anderson (10) (8)
Vici Oshiro (5) (10)
Question No. 1: Would want to see a workable plan before making a
commitment. You find a plan and groups will find a way around it.
Question No. 2: Although in the unlikely event we have numbers similar
to 2008, governments might have to do some enabling. Not many places
available for 300 people from one precinct.
Do not prohibit out of district funds. That would mean a candidate's
family (e.g., parents) could not help. Maybe limit out of state funds
- but don't prohibit. Caucus funds and assistance help make some
districts competitive. Restricting funds to district donors would be
an strong advantage for incumbents. With current limits on what each
individual can give, this is a non-issue for me.
If Civic Caucus tackles campaign funding for MN state candidates, I
suggest handbooks from Campaign Finance Board be considered mandatory
homework before deciding to undertake such a study. They're available
online and I think they've developed a good balanced system. And
remember that nearly all of those treasurers who must keep both
candidates and party units in compliance are volunteers.
Ray Schmitz (_) (5)
Question No. 1: Disagreement - unfortunately the independent
advertising issue does not appear to respond to correction, for
example the swift boat issue was not resolved by counter advertising,
so funds may not be the issue.
Question No. 2: Neutral - my understanding is that the state can set
some rules, such as the date, but otherwise they are a decision of the
party as a private entity. If the caucus system were eliminated we
could have a half dozen or more candidates involved in a primary, but
we do anyway don't we? I would much rather see an enforced compression
of the period, 45 days, six weeks, more than enough. But again there
is no constitutional limit on campaigning, free speech and all that.
Alan Miller (8) (10)
Kurt Hansen (10) (0)
The caucus process controlled by a few people does not appear to be a
fair process, certainly not a democratic process. I believe that a
primary, where the general registered voters choose the candidate to
represent a party, is the process of choice, not delegates. A small
number of delegates should not have the power to eliminate other
choices for the general election.
State Rep. Mindy Greiling (10) (9)
Pam Ellison (10) (10)
I really believe we should go further on Campaign Finance issues. I
think that ALL candidates should have based on the level of their
race, should actually be given a lump sum from the government to run
for office, and be allowed in addition to that to have ONLY individual
citizens to give to their campaigns at the current levels that
individuals are allowed to give. I believe that is a limitation of
$2000.00 per individual. If the government would come up with say
giving 1/4 million per candidate in a statewide race, and say
$125,000.00 in a local legislative race, I believe we would begin to
see who REALLY is the better candidate in message, content of their
platform and those that will really work hard to campaign for the
people. We never get the best candidates elected, because they
generally are average, everyday people that cannot begin to leverage
the millions that are spent on mainstream political campaigns with the
level of independent expenditures. The levels that the government
gives is not nearly as important as the government enforcement of
independent expenditures. If we would as a government set a limit of
expenditure for each campaign based on the importance of the level the
candidate is campaigning, we could then get tough on all the
extraneous out of control spending by simply stating that "When
government funds campaigns, NO INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES CAN BE MADE BY
GROUPS OR PARTIES. ALL ADDITIONAL FUNDING CAN ONLY COME FROM
INDIVIDUAL CITIZENS AT THE MAXIMUM OF $2,000.00 per year per
Wayne Jennings (9) (5)
Public financing might serve to shorten and focus campaigns as they
are too long and expensive now.
Evan Rapp (7) (8)
I enjoyed the interview, and Keesha provided a clear view of the LOWV
position. I agree with both ideals, with small caveats. Public
financing can help neutralize the power of outside interests, but with
so many financial burdens on individuals and government, there must be
I believe in the need for a political party to control their own
caucus, but voting is one of our most sacred rights. With so many
people feeling disenfranchised these days,
it is critical to maintain a voting process that helps all citizens
feel as though they are part of the system. Each party needs to rise
up and maintain a standard which ensures
a fair outcome and efficient process.
Jan Hively (8) (8)
I like precinct caucuses. They expand broad-based participation and
encourage leadership for party activities.
Connie Morrison (5) (10)
State Rep. Larry Haws (8) (10)
Chris Brazelton (8) (8)
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this important
discussion. As a member of the LWV I appreciate the thoughtful way
that critical issues of the day are researched, discussed and then
consensus is reached before taking any official positions.
I also am intrigued by your group and the means by which you are
reaching out to the community. I hope to continue receiving these
After looking at your website and reading the bios of the members, I'm
wondering if any of you knew my grandfather,Raymond Julkowski. He was
an attorney, served in the
Minnesota legislature for 20 years from 1935 to 1954. He passed away
before I decided to get involved in politics as a candidate, and I
would love to hear from anyone who
remembers serving with him. He was also a founding member of the bank
that eventually became the Northeast State Bank.
Bill Frenzel (0) (7)
(1) I oppose Taxpayer Financing of Elections for any purpose
whatsoever - Independent groups may have a Constitutional right to
make expenditures, but they have no Constitutional immunity from
disclosure, nor from reasonable limitations on contributions.
(2)_Caucuses were only fair when my group was in control, but Parties
have some rights, too, and can use caucuses pretty much as they wish
for Party business. The best ways to improve the Nomination Process
would seem to be through changes in Primary election dates and the
re-institution of a Prez Pref Primary.
The League of Women Voters of Minnesota has adopted a formal position
in support of Instant Runoff Voting, following their exhaustive study
Richard McGuire (3) (5)
William McGaughey (8) (8)
These are not my campaign issues and I reserve the right to change my
mind with subsequent information. However, I would give an "8" to both
questions. I also favor Instant Runoff Voting.
Joe Mansky (0) (6)
It appears to me that direct public financing of election campaigns
may be a concept whose time has come and gone. Barack Obama has shown
how to raise a substantial amount of money in small donations. Other
candidates will learn from his example. As I have mentioned earlier,
the public role might be better focused on providing low-cost access
to the broadcast media and the mail.
David Broden (0) (8)
1. Public financing should not be a component of the election process
in any way. Effort of specific groups should be controlled if at all
by other means such as restrictions of how special groups may fund a
candidate--one that seems to have some sense of adding balance is that
no one group as a interest group can or its spin off an provide more
than some fixed percent of the total funds received and spent by a
candidate--perhaps special group funding could be limited to 10% of
the funds--this of course assumes some sort of an effective monitoring
process. Good topic for discussion.
2. Certainly the caucus system is a creation of the party but also
established and sort of sanctioned by the state. In that role the
state should help to educate the public and facilitate the access to
the caucus--internal processes must be party disciplined--if the state
changes the role of a caucus by how primaries are conducted then some
sort of a combined system may be worth trying. Let's let the system
Bob Brown (0) (5)
More public financing would just give more money to the media and
overpaid campaign consultants. To me about all that can be done (under
current court rulings) constructively with campaign finance is to
require immediate and full disclosure of all contributions to
candidates, parties, and independent expenditure groups. About 35
years ago I proposed that the way to reform campaign spending would be
to allow individuals to contribute only to the political party or
candidate of their choice and that the parties and candidates could
accept contributions only from individuals. This would strengthen
parties, eliminate independent expenditure groups (which sprung up as
the result of previous reform efforts), and provide more transparency
to the process. Since the courts have decided to equate money with
speech (which totally undermines the equal rights of poor people) I
realize we could get my solution only with a constitutional amendment.
Great write-up! Thanks so much for including me at this meeting. You
are doing very important work, and I remain incredibly impressed by
the way you stay on top of current issues.
Shirley Heaton (5) (5)
Mike Bidwell (0) (8)
Ellen Brown (_) (8)
First point is an interesting idea I had never heard before and
haven't thought through enough to comment on. By the way, the LWV has
strongly endorsed IRV. Gaskins remarks re it are entirely her own (an
in my opinion inappropriately stated when
Paul Hauge (7) (9)
Larry Schluter (0) (9)
We should not be telling the parties how to run their caucuses and
independent groups make sizeable donations to both parties.
Gregg Iverson (5) (7)
David Dillon (8) (10)
Robert A. Freeman (2) (8)
Question No. 1: The inadequacy of the public financing system can be
clearly seen with Obama's decision to eschew it favor of private
donations. Without some limit on contributions (which the Sup Ct has
clearly ruled as a limitation of free speech) public financing can
never replace that. Better to make private contributions completely
Question No. 2: It should be up to the parties how they choose their
candidates - the recent brouhaha caused by massive turnout in MN for
Obama/Clinton was largely a fault of poor organization by the DFL, not
the caucus system itself. Parties should be entitled to choose
whatever system they believe produces the best, most representative
candidates. Does the League of Women Voters have a democratic primary
system for selecting its president or do officers have undue
Racism in Minnesota--This statement by Gaskins (that MN is "racist" in
terms of delivery of social services) is unhelpful and emotive.
Perhaps social service provision could be described as "racist" if
decision-makers were consciously allotting resources on the basis of
racial prejudices but I doubt that it is the case. More likely the
system is flawed. Regardless, statements like these only inflame
emotions and impede finding real public policy solutions.
Charles Lutz (6) (6)
James Sherrill (0) (10)