LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Out-of-state political donations

May 27, 2012


The quarter-million from Mr. DeVos is part of the $13 million raised to date by Walker supporters. It is rumored that at least an additional one, two or several million was contributed — directly or indirectly — by the Koch brothers of Koch Family Foundations and Koch Industries, a multi-national conglomerate head-quartered in Wichita, Kan.

Thus, we have two very rich families — both highly respected for charitable giving, both very active politically — each of whom decided to make a substantial “investment” in a gubernatorial race in a state other than the one in which they reside. Of course, it is legal. The question is, should it be legal?

I think not. Our country has gone to great lengths to prevent citizens of foreign countries from influencing federal elections in the United States. Allowing residents of one state to influence elections in another state should also be prohibited. Is there any doubt that large financial donations influence elections?

The same is true for local elections for county and city offices. Why not legislate that a person may contribute financially only in elections where he or she is eligible to vote?

One can argue that financial contributions are essential in our election process and that those running for office can easily avoid being unduly influenced by large contributions. I believe that such a view is naive. It is likely that many if not most people who make very significant financial contributions to a particular individual expect that their contributions will influence either the election itself or increase access to the person running if that person is successful.

In any event, simply capping both individual and corporate donations at a level that would guarantee little or no influence would make the question moot. Then why not do it?

— Roger Martin, Grand Haven



How about: Because as individual Americans - we may have a strong belief in the issues of a particular campaign or issue - and want to support a particular side or candidate, regardless of where we live. While the national political debate gets most of the press, the real change happens at the state level. As an example, Same-Sex marriage. Those decisions are made on a state by state basis, so to disallow Americans to participate in those discussions, both for and against, you would be denying them the ability to participate. We won't be allowed to vote in Wisconsin, but we should have the right to participate in the discussion with the citizens of Wisconsin. How far would you take it? Would you not allow anyone in a union who lives outside of the state to contribute, or participate? What you suggest is not realistic, it isn't necessary, and it is yet another attempt to "legislate" away our freedoms.


That is no different than when the anti hunting goup Humane Scociety of The United States spent all that money so fear and emotions could trump logic and keep us from having a dove hunting season in Michigan. There is no sound logic what so ever that we shouldn't be able to hunt doves in Michigan like so many other states do. But this big money anti hunting group comes in with their smear campaign to block us from dove hunting.


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