Testimony of Jim Rubens for HJR-146
|Good evening Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee.|
While I’ve travelled here from my New Hampshire home, I’ve got some wonderful roots here in Texas. My dad bailed out as a Madison Avenue Mad Man and came here to found UT Austin’s advertising program, which became the top undergrad program in the country.
I have served as a former Republican state senator from New Hampshire; New Hampshire GOP Platform Committee Chair; senior policy advisor and spokesman for former US Senator Gordon Humphrey for Governor; activist and advisor in many GOP campaigns; and Republican candidate for US Senate 2014. I am a serial small-business entrepreneur and investor in New England-based high-tech start-ups.
I’m here in Texas today as a volunteer to disabuse Republicans of any notion that Washington’s corrupt political money system gives us any advantage in advancing conservative principles. Fixing Washington’s corrupt political money system is not just an issue for Democrats.
This system protects business as usual politics and enriches crony capitalists with obscure tax code distortion, pork barrel spending, and regulatory and diplomatic favors.
I can report from direct experience in 2014 that this corrupt money system imposes a money primary in elections before voters even get to make their choice. Candidates and incumbents perceived or proven willing to trade favors with a small number (in the hundreds) of entrenched, big-dollar interests lock up most of the campaign money. This money primary suppresses voter choice among candidates, narrows the range of issues debated, and thereby stifles resolution of major political challenges, harming our nation and souring the public on our beloved Republic.
Whatever your issue or ideology, we must confront Washington’s corrupted, immobilized political system, accountable to a tiny number of favor-seeking big money donors rather than, as things should be, to the American people.
Our Constitution’s framers anticipated a Congress that could become corrupt and unaccountable, unable and unwilling to reform itself. For that reason, the framers included the state-led method of proposing amendments to Constitution in Article V.
HJR-146 does not tell us how we will change Washington’s system of political money corruption. It asks that the states engage in debate about the varied approaches because Congress will not.
Personally, I do not see a need to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. My suggested approach is to remove all limits on direct candidate contributions and combine that with instant online disclosure and the establishment of a $50 per voter tax-credit voucher system for campaign contributions to broaden the base of potential contributors.
Because Congress refuses to address the corrupt political money system, it’s up to the states. Please vote for HJR-146 and add Texas to the Missouri Senate, the New Hampshire House, and the growing number of states already on board and ready to work together to find a solution.