Bradley A. Smith, the Chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP), testified today at a hearing of the Illinois Reform Commission. Smith provided expert advice on ideas for improving campaign finance and ethics laws in Illinois.
Smith counseled against passing reactionary legislative measures in response to the scandal involving former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He suggested commission members compare the promises of campaign finance "reformers" with the results of past efforts before enacting any legislation that curbs free speech rights.
"The core assumption of most ‘reformers’ is that the public shares identical perspectives on important public policy issues, and absent the campaign contributions of self-interested groups the government could easily implement measures the general public supports," Smith said in prepared testimony. "This charge is not just wrong, it’s fundamentally anti-democratic. It requires you to believe the United States is a homogenous society, filled with citizens who all share roughly identical ideologies and interests, and that there is no honest disagreement among citizens about what constitutes good public policy."