In Tweets, Axelrod Agrees with Romney on Blowing Up Political Money Limits

Former Obama adviser David Axelrod.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/newshour/2296901210/sizes/m/in/photostream/">NewsHour</a>/Flickr

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David Axelrod, the long-time adviser to President Barack Obama, turned to Twitter on Wednesday morning to fume about the state of money in politics today. In doing so, Axelrod revealed himself to be of the same mind on how to fix our political system as Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, Newt Gingrich, Republican super-attorney Jim Bopp (who brought the Citizens United case), and many movement conservatives.

Here’s what Axelrod tweeted:

To be clear, what Axelrod is suggesting is a campaign finance system in which donors rich and not-so-rich can give without limit to the candidates they support. All those unlimited donations, though, would be fully disclosed soon after the donation is made. This is the no-limits-full-disclosure brand of reform, and it is straight out of the Republican/conservative playbook.

Consider this statement made by Mitt Romney in December 2011 on the issue of money in politics:

[W]hat we have right now is unlimited political contributions, but they’re not controlled by the campaigns. They’re controlled by unaffiliated or uncoordinated entities, which, in my opinion, is the worst of both worlds. It means that large contributions have a big impact, and it means that the campaign can’t control them, so if we’re going to have big contributors, wouldn’t it be nice to have the campaigns responsible for what those contributors say?

Romney told the Portsmouth Herald editorial board that “the best way” to fix our campaign finance system is “to let people make whatever contributions they want and have it instantly reported and know what conflicts exist so we know where the money is coming from.”

Those who favor more regulation of money in politics—banning super-PACs, say, or greater disclosure of dark-money nonprofits—hate this idea. They think it will corrupt the political process, and there’s plenty of historical evidence to bolster that claim. Which is why it’s surprising to see Axelrod, a dyed-in-the-wool progressive Democrat, essentially endorse the no-limits-full-disclosure approach.

David Donnelly, an advocate for taxpayer-funded public financing of elections and less big money in politics, tweeted back at Axe:

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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