Green Party leader seeks reform in political funding
CAMPAIGN FINANCE: Jim Sykes asks residents to speak up for new laws.
By RICHARD MAUER, Anchorage Daily News, Published: February 2, 2006 (more on the ADN's webpage...)
The leader of Alaska's Green Party said Wednesday the response to the scandals in Washington should go beyond lobbying reform to rewriting the laws on campaign finance.
In a mid-morning news conference in Anchorage, Jim Sykes called on Alaskans to pressure their three-member congressional delegation to strip special-interest money from politics.
Sykes, who rejected out-of-state contributions as a third-party candidate for U.S. Senate in 2004, said Congress should make such a ban a permanent feature of American politics. He also called for public financing of elections, free broadcast time for federal candidates, an end to contributions from PACs and organizations, and sharp restrictions on the use of earmarks in legislation.
"Lobbying is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of money in Washington," Sykes said. "The real money is from the lobbyists and special interests that bankroll campaigns. They have made it so that people in Congress may have a closer relationship with a group of lobbyists than they have with their constituents."
Sykes said his suggestions are similar to those made by citizen groups in Washington and around the country. Earmarks and riders have come under heavy criticism of late.
Both techniques are used to create special programs or funnel money to specific causes, often with minimal scrutiny. They are tools most readily employed by committee chairs or legislators with advanced seniority -- a description that includes two-thirds of Alaska's representation, Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young.
Political advocate pushes for campaign finance reform
Wednesday, February 1, 2006 - by Sean Doogan Anchorage, Alaska -
An Alaska political activist says now is the time to make big changes in Washington, D.C.
Jim Sykes of the Green Party says the Abramoff influence peddling scandal is highlighting the need for campaign finance reform. Sykes, a former candidate for U.S. Senate, says during the 2004 Senate race all of the major candidates received a majority of their campaign funding from Outside donors.
Sykes wants changes made to U.S. code that would require all campaign contributions for federal office to come from within the candidate's home state. But Sykes says his idea will require people to pressure their congressmen.
"The legislators themselves are not interested in making these changes because they got there on the gravy train, and they want to keep the gravy train rolling," said Sykes.
Sykes says he wrote the Alaska delegation in Washington asking them to work on a campaign finance reform bill.