Adventures in Government - Endless Paperwork
My recent adventures have taken a turn for the boring.
That is, they're not particularly interesting to talk about. However, they're important and necessary, so I'll tell you about them anyway.
Running for office requires a lot of paperwork, as you basically have to announce your candidacy to multiple government entities. Most importantly, you have to announce yourself to the Federal Elections Commission, since they'll be making sure my finances are on the up and up.
I can't be mad about this, even if dealing with this take time away from the things I'd rather be doing: campaigning, meeting with groups, researching current issues, and so on. The fact is, reporting to the FEC is important, and I'm glad candidates are required to do it. We want to know how money is influencing politics, and we want to know that all of our candidates are playing by the same rules.
Which is, by the way, the reason the Citizens United case is so frustrating.
I, as a candidate, must report the details of all contributions made to my campaign, with limitations on how much I may receive from individuals and organizations. I am unable to receive any contributions whatsoever from corporations. This is great, since as a candidate there should be a limit on how much people and organizations should influence me. No single person's contribution is going to make or break my campaign; rather my campaign with succeed or fail (financially speaking) only through the concerted support of many people and organizations.
SuperPACs, as allowed by the Citizens United case, do not have these restrictions. SuperPACs can receive unlimited contributions from individuals, organizations, and corporations. So long as they don't donate directly to a candidate, they can spend as much money as they want to support or defeat a candidate in an election. This effectively makes the limitations placed on candidates pointless.
The effects of SuperPACs are quite real. Here in this district, the Congressional Leadership Fund (a Republican SuperPAC) aggressively attacked Democratic candidate Matt Heinz in every possible media. I couldn't watch a video on YouTube without hearing about how "Matt Heinz would be a rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi." A baseless accusation, but one the Heinz campaign wasn't exactly in a position to refute via infinite YouTube ads.
The point being that SuperPACs give the rich too much influence in elections. This needs to change.
Anyway, my paperwork! That's what you want to hear about, right?
In addition to keeping track of all of my receipts and expenditures for the FEC, I'm also connecting with the House Committee on Ethics, who will likewise be making sure I'm managing my campaign and other finances ethically.
I'm also registered with the IRS, since running a campaign committee is basically running a business. At the very least, I need to keep campaign finances separate from my personal finances, which means setting up a campaign bank account using an EIN.
Regardless, I think I'm nearly done dotting my i's and crossing my t's, so soon I should be getting back to the fun parts of running for office! I'll keep you updated.