Thursday, April 27, 2006

Why Mr. or Mrs. Smith Won't Go to Washington

In the 1939 Capra film, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, an idealistic Jefferson Smith (played by James Stewart) is sent to the nation's capitol and runs headlong into the corruption and "good 'ol boy network" of the US Senate. He stands tall and fights for what is right.

In present times, voters often decry professional politicians who live and breathe inside the beltway. One often hears the sentiment that more average citizens should run for elective office because they would be more likely to serve the interests of common citizens, not corporations.

As State Treasurer of a small political party, I can well tell you WHY Mr. or Mrs. Smith have no interest at all in going to Washington. The rules one must navigate to put together a campaign committee are ten times worse than anything a taxpayer faces on April 15!! How many average people have the knowledge of a lawyer, an accountant and a marketing guru all wrapped into one brain?

This situation is far worse for political party committees. Not only do we have to deal with our state elections office but we concurrently have to to navigate the rules and procedures of the Federal Election Commission (FEC). It would be one thing if the rules between states and the feds were congruent, but, sadly, they aren't.

And this offers an apt explanation of why I've been blogging only sporadically as of late. I'm having to learn a new set of state rules (having moved to Washington from Oregon) concerning political party activity, while refreshing my knowledge of ever-changing FEC rules and policies.

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