SAYS NEITHER GOP NOR DEMOCRATS HAVE THE WILL TO REFORM THE U.S. CAMPAIGN FINANCE SYSTEM
Peter Bearse, Independent candidate for Congress in New Hampshire’s First Congressional District, called today for a Congressional investigation into the fundraising practices of direct mail fundraising firms fleecing American donors out of millions of dollars intended for candidates.
Bearse said the Republican candidates facing off in the September primary to oppose U.S. Rep. Carol Shea Porter cannot be credible opposing the practices divulged in Sunday’s Boston Globe. “John Stephen and Jeb Bradley are not part of the solution to campaign finance reform; they are part of the problem. Both seek to join the club of candidates with million dollar campaigns seeking to buy a pass into the exclusive club that Congress has become -- the best Congress money can buy."
The Globe investigation revealed that BMW Direct, Inc., of Washington, D.C. raised more than $800,000 for former U.S. Senate candidate Ken Chase, a Republican who opposed Senator Ted Kennedy in 2006. Chase received only $80,000 for his campaign, a 10 per cent rate of return.
Former Massachusetts Congressional candidate Chuck Morse fared even worse. BMW Direct raised more than $725,000 in 2006 by sending out fundraising letters critical of U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, but sent Morse only $35,000 for his campaign opposing Frank in the Fourth Congressional District. The rate of return to Morse’s campaign was four per cent.
Bearse today challenged U.S. Rep. Shea Porter to investigate the D.C. direct mail houses. ‘”A fundraising service should not become a license to steal,” Bearse said. When direct mail companies become so brazen in returning just a fraction of revenues represented by checks that donors have sent from all over America, the will of the voter has been denied, and their money has essentially been diverted,” Bearse said. “Congress must investigate.”
Bearse, of Fremont, has run his New Hampshire Congressional campaign on a shoestring, calling for an end to the financial arms race that Congressional campaigns have become. "The U.S. system of funding Congressional campaigns has become so corrupted by big money that the average citizen is now saying, ‘enough is enough.’ ” As a member of the former Business Advisory Council for Campaign Reform/Campaign for America, Bearse noted the foolishness of reform efforts that focus only on money while ignoring people's contributions of time. "If people don't volunteer time, then money necessarily wins." Thus, in his book WE THE PEOPLE, he set forth an alternative to McCain-Feingold via reform that would help rebuild a people-based politics. "It is time for John McCain to stand up and recognize that his brand of campaign finance reform has failed. We need to reform his "reform", Bearse remarked.