Super PACs

It’s “déjà vote” in the race for New York’s 46th district state Senate seat.

No—this isn’t an old story from 2012. State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, a Democrat, and former Republican Assemblyman George Amedore are in a rematch for New York’s newest state Senate district, and they’re relitigating some old arguments.

As was two years ago, the focus is again on big money, PACs and George Soros.  Some observers, including the Amedore campaign, believe Tkaczyk's 18-vote squeaker happened because of money.

Proponents of fair elections, particularly in New York, argue that ordinary citizens are denied a real chance at being heard in an election because running for office is expensive and the average citizen is unable contribute substantial sums of money to help fund any given campaign.

Supporters say a fair elections law would restore trust in government by giving prospective candidates for office access to public funding. For example: for each dollar raised, a taxpayer-financed public fund would match that dollar with six dollars.

Jim Bowen / Flickr

Republicans in the Vermont House and Senate are trying to get out in front on the issue of super-PACs, and the influence they're having on political campaigns.

Representatives Kurt Wright of Burlington, Ron Hubert of Milton and Tom Koch of Barre Town were among those speaking at a news conference Thursday where they outlined legislation they said would bring greater transparency to funding for political campaigns.

The ancient Greeks had a word for it: “HYBRIS;”  their term for the sin of “excessive pride or arrogance.”  They believed it resulted from too much prosperity without ethical restraint.  This bred “nemesis” or public indignation that demanded punishment.  Today, we call it “hubris” but it still means the same and begets the same response.