The Joe Volpe donation fiasco shows why limits on political campaign contributions are a bad idea.
For one thing they make our politicians act like idiots.
Take Volpe, for example.
He actually wants us to believe that two 11 year olds and a 14 year old each contributed $5,400 to his leadership campaign.
“Apparently,” Volpe told the media with a straight face, “I had seen the kids when I went to their school and gave a talk during the (federal election) campaign. They went back home and said `that’s a guy we want to help, we want to support.’ The parents told them there would be a good time to do that and here is the time.”
And he got back up from Steve MacKinnon, the national Liberal Party director, who also with a straight face declared, “Affluent families often have children who possess that kind of resource” to contribute to political parties.
Sorry guys that doesn’t even pass the giggle test. Do they really think anybody is going to believe that dopey story?
Apparently not because now they are returning some of the donations.
Of course, everybody knows what happened in this case.
Some rich guy is using a legal loophole to get around individual campaign contribution limits ie his wife and kids are making contributions.
And in a way you can’t really blame Volpe for taking the money.
After all, running a leadership campaign takes money – lots of money. But unfortunately, political contribution limits will make it more difficult to raise that money – much more difficult.
Something has got to give.
Right now, politicians and their backers are making use of loopholes but when they get plugged they might resort to less legal means.
And that’s the problem with campaign contribution limits. Rather than making government more honest, they make our political system more corrupt.
Check an article I wrote on this which appeared in the Globe and Mail web site a few weeks ago.
Media Update -- Will be discussing this issue on Charles Adler online at 2:15 PM Eastern time.