Mark Sanford on Government Reform
Republican SC Governor; previously Representative (SC-1)
Sanford fired back that Colbert Busch later wrote him a $500 campaign-contribution check. "I don't think it must have bothered her that much, given she wrote a $500 check in support of my candidacy," said Sanford, smiling. Sanford also denied Colbert Busch's statements that he did not support the dredging and other economic-development projects, saying he disagreed with the methods of paying for the projects, not the actual projects. "Because I was against (congressional) earmarks before being against earmarks was cool," he said.
"We all need to remember that the rarest of all political commodities is courage--that willingness to take a stand based on something you believe in, regardless of the consequences that will come your way," he said, looking up from his speech to the members of the legislature. "As we all know, there was a price that they paid for the stand that they took, and yet change has begun as the result of the stand they took." Governor Sanford was right. Change had begun. The people were starting to demand it.
We passed campaign finance reform. It had been vetoed twice during the previous administration, and its passage ended the Wild West practice that allowed unlimited and undisclosed amounts to go to a political party or caucus.
Two, put the Governor and Lt. Governor together as a team. To me it makes no sense to have a governor elected by the people, and yet have his Lieutenant Governor, who in our state could be of opposite political persuasion and party.
Finally, can we let the people of South Carolina decide on whether a host of constitutional officers should be appointed rather than elected. We are for instance the only state in the country where the Adjutant General is elected. We are not asking that any of you take a position for or against change in any of these changes, just that you let the people of South Carolina decide.
Q: For PAC contributions?
Q: For Corporate contributions?
Q: For Political Parties?
Q: Do you support requiring full disclosure of campaign finance information?
Q: Do you support imposing spending limits on state level political campaigns?
A: No. I believe we need to bring sunshine to the political process in SC. Soft money donated to parties should be disclosed.
Sanford’s message is clear and consistent: term limits do make a difference. Imagine how different our government would be if the entire House of Representatives were term-limited. The tiny band of self-limited Congressmen did vote differently. The explanation here by Sanford is that the self- limited house members “don’t have to preoccupy themselves with reelection and career. Reelection fever is what leads politicians to exaggerate good news and water down bad news. People want something a lot simpler: they want the truth. A lot of people in Washington seem to miss this.
As part of the Contract with America, one of the first things we did as a Congress was to cut committee staff by a third. I thought it was only fitting to do the same thing with my own office. My naivet‚ stirred up a hornet’s nest. I was asked why I was being so stingy with the money we were given, even though it was “just government money.” We did cut committee staff in 1995. Today, were almost back where we started--with more staffers than we need, costing more than we can afford, to do work that often isn’t necessary.
That we could even bring term limits to the floor for a vote was something of a milestone. Since the first Congress in 1789, more than 140 term limit bills had been introduced. The debate on term limits promised to be rough, and probably unsuccessful. Members were divided into three camps: those, like me, who strongly supported a three-term limit, those who strongly favored a six- term house limit; and those who opposed any and all term limits.
Those of us who had already pledged to limit our own terms could see that the proposal to enact term limits by constitutional amendment was dead in the water. Passage would require a two-thirds majority of both House and Senate
On the issue of PAC money, my general election opponent, Robert Barber, raised the point that he did not want to unilaterally disarm when it comes to fundraising. Over the last five years in Washington, I have heard his argument used by Republicans and Democrats alike. In politics we never seem to like the idea of just leading the way because we think it right or what we believe.
I thought the shutdown was a good thing. It didn’t bother me that certain federal agencies were temporarily closed. I knew that the important ones--like the Social Security Administration, the Defense Department and the FAA, were operating normally. The republic was safe, retirees were getting their checks, and the airplanes were taking off and landing without incident.
Some of us tried to reverse the pay rise. We didn’t have enough votes. One of my campaign promises had been not to take a pay raise until the budget was balanced- because if congress is serious about spending less, we ought to begin with ourselves. Along with a handful of others I would donate the raise to charity, but once again we are losing on something I thought would easily be seen as the wrong thing to do.
Organizational Self-Description: U.S. Term Limits, the nation's oldest and largest term limits advocacy group, announced that 14 new signers of its congressional term limits amendment pledge have been elected to the 114th Congress. The group includes five new senators, eight new House members and one House incumbent who signed the pledge for the first time this cycle. The pledge calls for members to co-sponsor and vote for a constitutional amendment limiting House members to three terms (six years) and Senators to two terms (12 years). The USTL President said, "The American people are fed up with career politicians in Washington and strongly embracing term limits as a remedy. Gallup polling shows that 75% of Americans support term limits."
Opposing legal argument: [ACLU, Nov. 7, 2014]: In U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton (May 22, 1995), the Court ended the movement to enact term limits for Congress on a state-by-state basis. The Court held that the qualifications for Congress established in the Constitution itself could not be amended by the states without a constitutional amendment, and that the notion of congressional term limits violates the "fundamental principle of our representative democracy 'that the people should chose whom they please to govern them.'"
Opposing political argument: [Cato Institute Briefing Paper No. 14, Feb. 18, 1992]: Several considerations may explain political scientists' open hostility to term limitation:
Excerpts from press release on Term Limits Caucus: Two U.S. Term Limits pledge signers, Republican Rep. Rod Blum (IA-1) and Democrat Rep. Beto O`Rourke (TX-16), have announced the formation of a Term Limits Caucus, which will work to build bipartisan support behind a constitutional amendment imposing term limits on Congress. "The root of this problem is that politicians are incentivized by the system to care more about retaining their position than doing what is best for the country," Blum said. "Our founding fathers never intended for public service to be a career, rather, serving in Congress was designed to be a temporary sacrifice made for the public good."
The new working group will marshal pro-term limits members together to pursue common ground. One of its most important duties will be building consensus around the U.S. Term Limits Amendment of three House terms and two Senate terms, to which both Blum and O`Rourke have pledged their exclusive support.
Supporting argument: (Cato Institute): We should limit members to three terms in the House and two terms in the Senate. Let more people serve. Let more people make the laws. And let's get some people who don't want to make Congress a lifelong career. Some say that term limits would deprive us of the skills of experienced lawmakers. Really? It's the experienced legislators who gave us a $17 trillion national debt, and the endless war in Iraq, and the Wall Street bailout.
Supporting argument: (Heritage Foundation): The only serious opponents of term limits are incumbent politicians and the special interests--particularly labor unions--that support them. Special interests oppose term limits because they do not want to lose their valuable investments in incumbent legislators. Many are organized to extract programs, subsidies, and regulations from the federal government--to use the law as a lever to benefit their own constituencies or harm their rivals.
[As part of the Contract with America, within 100 days we pledge to bring to the House Floor the following bills]:
The Common Sense Legal Reforms Act:
“Loser pays” laws, reasonable limits on punitive damages, and reform of product liability laws to stem the endless tide of litigation.
The Citizen Legislature Act:A first-ever vote on term limits to replace career politicians with citizen legislators.
This year’s election offers the chance, after four decades of one-party control, to bring to the House a new majority that will transform the way Congress works. That historic change would be the end of government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public’s money. It can be the beginning of a Congress that respects the values and shares the faith of the American family.
Like Lincoln, our first Republican president, we intend to act “with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right.” To restore accountability to Congress. To end its cycle of scandal and disgrace. To make us all proud again of the way free people govern themselves.
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About Mark Sanford: