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October 09, 2012 - Image 6

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6- Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.cam

6- Tuesday, October 9, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Harvard Law professor talks
campaign finance corruption

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Lawrence sig, is that in order to be suc-
cessful in the general election,
essig discusses a candidate must also do well in
the money election.
challenges of Lessig argued that the elec-
torate and government form an
Congress exclusive dependency, though
the government has now also
By BEN ATLAS formed a reliance on funders,
Daily StaffReporter fostering conflicting ideals and
spurring corruption within
his lecture on campus on Congress.
ay, Harvard Law Prof. Since those who contribute
once Lessig argued that to campaigns have such dispro-
h Congress has begun to portionate control over who can
campaign finance corrup- get elected, Congressional can-
t has failed to get to the didates spend 30 to 70 percent
f the problem. of their time fundraising for
the event, sponsored by re-election, according to Les-
rd School of Public Policy sig. This dynamic also allows
he Michigan Campaign for a Congressman's views to be
ce Network, Lessig - best heavily influenced by financial
n forhis views on reducing contributors, and any reform
ght restrictions by gov- that angers funders is highly
nt reform - expanded on unlikely to pass.
plaguing Congress. "(Funders are) driving public
sig began his argument policy not in a way that aims at
ting that in each election public interest but at their pri-
the United States has two vate interest," Lessig said.
ins: the general election Lessig said the people who
he "money" election. All comprise the group will shift
e citizens vote in the for- based on prominent issues com-.
ut in the latter only the ingto the forefront in Congress.
ers" - the 0.05 percent of He said that as a result there is
opulation who contribute a vast discrepancy between
aximum amount to con- congressional policy outcomes
onal campaigns - are eli- and what would best serve the
o vote. majority, concluding that the
catch, according to Les- congressional agenda is driven

not by the needs of the public,
but by issues that will result in
campaign donations.
This dynamic has also led to a
fractured relationship between'
Congress and the public, Les-
sig said. In a poll Lessig con-
ducted for his book, "Republic,
Lost: How Money Corrupts
Congress - and a Plan to Stop
it," he found that 75 percent of
Americans believe that con-
tributions to campaigns have
a visible affect on Congress,
leading to positive results for a
party. He said that core belief
erodes trust in Congress, which
results in less participation in
the system.
Lessig used the rise in child-
hood obesity as an example of
Congress's conflicting depen-
dency. Since 1980, the number
of obese children in the United
States has tripled, resulting in
annual direct care costs of $147
billion.
Lessig noted how the preva-
lence of high fructose corn
syrup has exacerbated the obe-
sity epidemic. Due to tariffs
that protect the domestic sugar
industry, corn, which serves
as a sugar substitute, is heav-
ily subsided by the government
and thus much cheaper, leading
to the rise in high fructose corn
syrup use.
According to Lessig, the rea-

son these economic and nutri-
tional situations persist despite
the harm they have on the public
is campaign finance. Food pro-
cessing company Archer Dan-
iels Midland Company has spent
millions of dollars in campaign
donations to protect the subsidy
on corn and the high price of
sugar, Lessig explained.
Though Lessig said he
believes this conflicting depen-
dency is corrupt, he acknowl-
edged that the behavior is in no
way illegal and thus will be dif-
ficult to reform. Lessig proposed
that the United States create a
voucher system, and suggested
that citizens rebate Federal
Treasury contributions in the
form of a "democracy vouch-
er." If a candidate accepts that
voucher, they will also be able to
accept additional contributions
of $100.
Law student Andrew God-
deeris said he was impressed
by Lessig's lecture and felt it
was "useful to have a deepened
understanding of the issue."
Goddeeris added that he
thought Lessig emphasized the
urgency of the issue, but was
surprised the event was held
in an auditorium with so little
capacity.
"It seems like a more impor-
tant event for our democracy,"
he said. '

CHPCKBOX
From Page 1
to confirm U.S. citizenship
when registering to vote in the
state of Michigan. Dan Korob-
kin, an ACLU staff attorney,
said the checkbox created
major delays during the prima-
ry elections, and the injunction
will help speed up the process
on Election Day.
"When extra steps are added
to the voting process, lines
become longer and the voters
get more and more frustrat-
ed," Korobkin said. "We know
there will be millions more
people trying to cast a ballot
during the general election."
Korobkin added that the
checkbox has been a source of
aggravation among voters in
Michigan.
"We've gotten a tremendous
amount of support and posi-
tive feedback from voters all
over the state who were really
disturbed the Secretary of
State would impose this kind
of voting requirement after it
had already been considered
and vetoed by the governor,"
Korobkin said.
According to a transcript of
the motion for an injunction,
the checkbox could be consid-
ered an infringement on voting
rights.
"Members of the public
... have a strong interest in
exercising the fundamental
political right to vote (and)
that interest is best served by
favoring enfranchisement and
ensuring that qualified vot-
ers' exercise of their right to
vote is successful," the motion
read.
According to a Sept. 8 Gon-
gwer News Service poll, 73
percent of Michigan voters
approve of the measure to
ensure voters on the ballot
application are citizens.
Gisgie Gendreau, a spokes-
woman for Johnson, said that
non-citizen voting is a sub-
stancial problem for voters in
Michigan, noting that an esti-
mated 4,000 ineligible voters

voted in the last election.
"Anytime someone who is
not a qualified voter gets the
ballot, they disenfranchise
people who are qualified vot-
ers because they cancel out
their vote," Gendreau said.
She added that Johnson has
been woking to clean up the
voter rolls and has already
removed 30,000 names of indi-
viduals who no longer reside in
the state of Michigan.
Political Science Prof.
Vincent Hutchings said the
injunction could be highly
influential in determining the
number of voters who show up
for the election.
"I think this may turn out
to be a consequential decision
because it's possible that the
decision that was put in place
would have had the effect of
discouraging some people
from voting," Hutchings said.
Hutchings called the check-
box "a solution in search of
a problem," noting that legal
American citizens not voting
is more of an issue than illegal
immigrants filling out the bal-
lots, making the citizenship
checkbox inefficient.
He added if implemented,
the measure could have result-
ed in an exclusion of voters
with any ties to immigration,
legal or illegal.
"I think one likely conse-
quence of these policies is to
create something of a chilling
effect for voters who have an
immigrant background, or at
least a recent immigrant back-
ground, in order to try and
discourage them from partici-
pating," Hutchings said.
Korobkin said in an ACLU
press release that he hopes
to collaborate with Johnson
in the future to create a more
efficient voting process for
Michigan.
"We are encouraged by the
decision and hope to work with
the Secretary of State on ini-
tiatives that will truly ensure
that voting is convenient and
open to every eligible voter in
our state," Korobkin said in the
release.

6

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RELEASE DATE- Monday, October 8, 2012
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
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RYAN
From Page 1
In a poll conducted between
Sept. 8 and Sept. 11 by EPIC-
MRA - a professional survey
firm - Obama's Michigan lead
among likely voters fell from a
10-point lead to a three-point
lead within the last month.
Along with the emphasis put
on foreign policy, Ryan spent
a large portion of his speech
addressing domestic economic
issues, particularly in compari-
son to the economic policy of
European countries.
"The problem is all of these
ideas, all of this agenda that the
president put in place, more bor-
rowing, more spending, more
regulating, more money print-
ing, more taxing - it does not
create more jobs," Ryan said. "If
you want to see what that story
looks like at the end of the day,
go home again and turn on your
TV and look at Europe. If you
want European results, you copy
European policy, but we don't
want European results."
Ryan also addressed the auto
industry, a topic particularly
salient to Michigan and other
Midwest states, including Wis-
consin, his home state. The
largest General Motors plant in
operation was located in Janes-
ville, Wisc. when it closed in
2009.
"We lost four auto factories
from the area I represent in just
four years," Ryan said. "Trust
me, I come from Detroit west. We
know we need a healthy auto sec-
tor. "
Ryan then explained the
Republican Party's plan is to rec-
reate a successful auto industry.
"The way we do that is we stop
sending all of our decisions to
Washington with a government-
driven economy," Ryan said.
"That's what our manufacturing
agenda is all about: strong manu-
facturing, lowtax rates, good reg-
ulations, and good energy policy."
Ryan also addressed what he
called a sign of the clear failure
in Obama's economic policy, and
America's slipping to other inter-
national powers.
"China just beat us as num-
ber one nation in manufacturing
just two years ago, and we were
on top for 100 years," Ryan said.
"The good news is, if we put the
right people in place and get the

right policies in place, we can
turn this around."
Elaborating on his plans to
salvage the sector, Ryan said the
United States needs trade agree-
ments that put the country on a
"level playing field" with other
nations in order to save our man-
ufacturing industry.
"Let's also not forget that
most people who buy products
are outside of this country,"Ryan
said. "We need to make sure we
have trade agreements that work
for us, so they don't take advan-
tage of us."
In closing, Ryan reiterated his
party's stance and alluded to the
Obama administration's recur-
ring blame on the Bush admin-
istration for current ailments to
the country.
"We're not going to spend the
next four years blaming other
people; we are going to take
responsibility," Ryan said. "We
are not going to try to transform
this country into something it
was never intended to be. We are
not going to replace our founding
principles. We are going to reap-
ply our founding principles."
Other prominent Michigan
political figures also spoke at
the event, including former U.S.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra, who is the
Republican nominee for U.S.
Senate. Hoekstra turned to the
crowd to garner support for his
campaign against Senator Deb-
bie Stabenow.
"30 days," Hoekstra said.
"Dump Debbie."
Hoekstra focused on foreign
affairs, and how he believes
Obama and the Democratic plat-
form have failed in Middle East-
ern affairs.
"When I was in the Middle
East, this is what I saw: an Israel
that was isolated, an Iran that is
12 months away from a nuclear
weapon, an Egypt that is con-
trolled by the Muslim Brother-
hood," Hoekstra said. "This is
not my vision of national secu-
rity. It's not what Israel's looking
for. It's not what America's look-
ing for."
Other speakers included Don
Volaric, the Republican candi-
date for U.S. Representative in
Michigan's 9th district, U.S. Rep.
Candice Miller, Kerry Bentivo-
lio, the.Republican candidate for
U.S. Representative in Michi-
gan's 11th district, and Pastor
Kent Clark of Grace Centers for
Hope.

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