DeVos Prize

cultural critic Jeff Smith weighs in on ArtPrize

Posted in researching by digitalrituals on August 29, 2009



Soft Money Is Good: ‘Hard-Earned American Dollars That Big Brother Has Yet to Find a Way to Control’

Posted in researching by digitalrituals on August 28, 2009

By Betsy DeVos
Roll Call September 6, 1997

It seems that all of official Washington is now consumed by the drive toward campaign reform. The do-gooders are out en masse with a variety of proposals, ranging from the clearly unconstitutional, to the patently absurd, to the very dangerous.

In this era of cynicism and mistrust of all things political, it has become fashionable to decry the system and call for removing all money from politics, particularly this really bad stuff called “soft money.”

What is soft money? The public, being too preoccupied with the ebb and flow of the important things in their lives, doesn’t have any idea what it is. It sounds bad, shadowy, hard to pin down, untraceable, even sinister.

In reality, soft money given to political parties is nothing more than money that is not yet regulated by the federal government. And contrary to what you hear, it is all publicly reported for everyone to see. It is hard-earned American dollars that Big Brother has yet to find a way to control. That is all it is, nothing more.

Much of this money is used in gubernatorial races and state legislative campaigns, where the feds have yet to take over. Some is spent on television ads promoting the ideals of both the Republican and Democratic parties, and some is used in efforts to increase voter turnout.

I know a little something about soft money, as my family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican party. Occasionally a wayward reporter will try to make the charge that we are giving this money to get something in return, or that we must be purchasing influence in some way. (more…)