Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Update on Constitutional Convention (Con-con) debate

I posted here my strong disapproval for a Constitutional Convention which is being pushed by some influential and powerful individuals.

One major question and point raised by Chet Zarko was the campaign finance regulations and how delegate elections were affected by them. I quote my summary and Chet's quote (which is in italics)

In the Right Michigan post, I also missed one reason more than any other why it needs to be opposed. Outside Lansing and Oakland Politics blogger Chetly Zarko pointed it out. He said this.

I agree with RM here, with this addition, copied from my response to DL on his item.
The RMGN debacle is evidence of what bad can come from convention.

Special interests will own the delegates, particularly since the Dems are sitting on the reform Marty Knollenberg proposed in Oct. 2007 that I pointed out to him last year. The Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1977 forgot - understandably due to the rareness of conventions - to include delegates in reporting category defintions. And limit definitions.

Democrats - I'm calling Ward Connerly if there's a convention and there no law to say he can't give me one giant donation, which I'd never have to report. And I will run if there is a Con-Con, despite my hatred for it - largely to protect MCRI, but also to protect the initiative process, Headlee, and all that the people have earned in the last 40 years in at least marginally checking government excess.

Republicans - Stryker nightmare.

It's not individual candidates that evade the radar - its the potential for competing blocs of "sponsored" candidates. A Herculean battle would occur.

You think the raw costs of a convention in terms of administrative costs, staff, space, etc. are high. The political costs, and the subtle changes that can only ultimately favor the elite power interests since they are best positioned, are huge.

Fight both the Con RMGN and the Con of the Con-Con.

That is something I missed completely and is why it the word assume makes an ass of "u" and me. I assumed these are covered by the campaign finance laws. Nope. Billionire radical Jon Stryker can dump his billions into these races without anyone knowing. He can also call his sister out of state so she can dump her billions. All the Lansing and DC interests can dump their money, and George Soros himself could dump money in there, without any one of us knowing about that. All those that want to increase our taxes, earmark spending, grab our guns, criminalize certain speech (Colorado just did it), and do whatever they can think of can get their people in there.

If "Hell No" was an option on this constitutional convention, I would vote for it. I'll have to settle for "no." The prospects of what can happen at the constutional convention are about as frightening as facing the business end of a gun.

A friend of mine, who does not wish to be named, sent a letter to Secretary of State's legal team asking the following questions and wanted a declaratory ruling or if that wasn't possible, an advisory opinion known as an "interpretive statement." These were his questions.

Questions Presented For Declaratory Ruling
1.) Is the office of state constitutional delegate a “state elective office” under the Michigan Campaign Finance Act?
2.) Does the Michigan Campaign Finance Act cover candidates for constitutional convention delegate?
3.) What would the applicable contribution limit be to candidates for constitutional convention delegate?
4.) Are monies spent to support or oppose the election of a constitutional convention delegate “expenditures” and “contributions” under the Michigan Campaign Finance Act?

Constitutional convention delegates are not mentioned in the campaign finance law by statute. It was overlooked due to the rarity of conventions. There are outside technicalities that could impact, but we don't know unless the Sec of State or statute handles this.

Unfortunately, there was no declaratory ruling, or even an interpretive statement by the Secretary of State's office. The reason giving on the declaratory ruling was that my friend was not an "interested party." It is similar to the standing issue in court. They considered the request premature as there is no convention.

Here's the problem with that. The primary (if one) for delegate will happen three months after November and the general in the May after that (Elections are only four day a year - February and May are the only possible months). There is no time for a ruling then while everyone has their campaigns and is adjusting to the rules. It's better to know the rules ahead of time since the race for delegate will start immediately. I with the Sec of State issued at least a advisory opinion, if not a ruling.

Maybe someone should form a candidate committee for delegate in early 2010 in anticipation (or immediately if the legislature votes to put it on the ballot) and then ask for a ruling. The treasurer and candidate would then certainly be an interested party.

In the meantime, let's not have to deal with this hypothetical and vote no on any Con-con and it's possible unintended consequences of tax increases, bringing back race preferences, and God knows what else as literally everything would be on the table.

No comments: