Letter: Campaign finance reform needed

Jim Lee's Sunday opinion column points out how much we need campaign finance reform and a reversal of the Supreme Court's obscene decision in Citizens United vs the Federal Elections Commission.

When billionaires like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson are permitted to dump hundreds of millions of dollars into one candidate's campaign, what do you expect the other one to do? As the column pointed out, money is the lifeblood of political campaigns, so what choice does the President have?

You're right to say the money comes with strings attached. Would you like to bet, if Mitt Romney gets elected, Sheldon Adelson is appointed ambassador to Israel? That might be his price for giving Romney a blank check.

A President Romney would certainly give the Koch brothers the Keystone pipeline they lust for, even if it means that our friends and creditors, the Chinese, get all the oil running through it. Do you think for even one second that wouldn't happen in a Romney administration? The only reason the Kochs give that kind of money is to gain influence. What they want the most is to make more money.

In other words, their campaign contributions are just business expenses, carefully designed to increase their bottom line. And that means lower wages for workers, fewer job safety rules and screw pollution regulations because they would knock a few pennies off their profit margin. It also means the end of our country's search for alternative energy. The Koches wouldn't like the competition.

Because there are fewer Democratic fat cats, Obama has to raise money some other way -- and that happens to be working overtime campaigning. Lee wrote he's convinced that Obama isn't paying full attention to the country's business. So am I, but you should compare the number of vacation days that this President has taken to the many months his predecessor spent in Texas during his incumbency. Then tell us who really goofed off in office. And Bush wasn't burdened by Citizens United either.

For sure, nonstop political campaigns suck up way too much of our elected officials' time, energy and attention. But until sanity is restored to campaign finance laws, the sky's the limit, and it's crazy for any candidate not to raise as much money as he or she can. Don't fault the President for playing the game as dictated to him by billionaires like Koch and Adelson (and Amway's Rich DeVos, Donald Trump, Home Depot's Ken Langone or others). The fault lies not in the stars, but in the system given to us by five ideology-driven right-wing extremists on the Supreme Court.

Sue Edelman