So yesterday, a bunch of Republican lawmakers came out with a campaign finance reform plan. It was, in many respects, very similar to proposals put forward by Secretary of State Jim Condos and VPIRG.
The plan, unveiled by a group of ten Republican lawmakers and actually sponsored by Rep. Kurt Wright, would require electronic filing of campaign finance reports, more frequent reporting of contributions and expenditures, and a requirement that if a single donor is responsible for more than 50% of a SuperPAC’s funding, that person’s name would have to appear on the organization’s mailers and advertisements. Peter “One Man Band” Hirschfeld (behind the Times Argus paywall):
Republicans’ proposals, however, are almost indistinguishable from those put forward by organizations and officials who lament the proliferation of super PACs.
…Secretary of State Jim Condos said the list of ideas offered by Republicans is nearly identical to the plan he put out shortly after Election Day.
Well, okay then. Everybody’s happy, right?
House Majority Leader Willem Jewett, a Ripton Democrat, struck a dismissive tone Thursday.
…Jewett said the disclosure proposals forwarded by Republicans on Thursday aren’t even “really what we as Democrats think of as campaign-finance reform.”
Asked to list aspects of the Democratic Party’s campaign-finance platform not included in the GOP presentation Thursday, Jewett said they were still under construction.
I don’t know who pissed in Jewett’s cornflakes, but listen. The Republicans are AGREEING with you on significant aspects of the issue. Sure, there are differences, but Wright’s plan is clearly a positive step. The correct response isn’t a dismissive sneer; it’s more along the lines of “We welcome the Republicans’ support for reform proposals very similar to those endorsed by the Governor and Secretary of State, and we look forward to a bipartisan effort to bring much-needed transparency to our campaign finance system.”
I mean, you’ve got a veto-proof majority. You’ve got the corner office. In the next four months, there will be plenty of chances to ignore the Republicans and stomp all over their ideas. But on a rare occasion when there’s some real common ground, why not be just a little bit gracious about it?