Column by Sam Rasoul
With the help of concerned Virginians, I am able to campaign for Congress, as a Democrat, to represent the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia (www.SAM2008.com). Fourteen members of Congress have said they do not take any money from PACs. And I have decided to join them.
First, let me explain what PAC means: A PAC is defined as a group that raises and spends limited “hard” money contributions for the specific purpose of electing or defeating candidates. Organizations that raise soft money for issue advocacy may also set up a PAC. A PAC can contribute $5,000 to a candidate per election, and up to $15,000 a year to a national political party. PACs may receive up to $5,000 each from individuals, other PACs and party committees per year.
Let me say that giving money to political campaigns may be good. If you make that choice for yourself, rather than a PAC, I very much hope you will decide to contribute to my campaign. So what is the problem?
Well, the problem is that money from PACs has become a pervasive, disruptive and even corrosive force in Washington. Excess is the problem. There are many things in the life of individuals, organizations and communities that are harmless, perhaps even wholesome, in and of themselves. But there is nothing that can not be carried to excess and/or misused.
And that is where we are with PAC contributions today because they are the method used by groups with unwholesome intentions.
Every PAC contribution comes with assurances it is intended for better government. And some of our finest legislators, from both parties, are among the happy recipients. But we now have a long experience of decisions taken in Washington that prove to be absurd and/or probably the result of corruption. Thus, I believe that it will be best if I am free to represent you in Congress after consultation primarily with you, my Sixth District voters.
Of course, there will be input from other sources, but not from those who routinely pay and then want to play.
Sam Rasoul is a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination to run for the Sixth Congressional District seat in the United States Congress in 2008.