CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM | Mike Weissman: Disclosure, disclaimer, scrutiny and enforcement

The fundamental premise of representative government is that, through their elected officials, people have the right for their concerns to be heard and considered in the crafting of laws that impact their lives.

Thus, to hold elected office and with it the ability to influence public policy directly is to be a beneficiary of a public trust. And when one is a beneficiary of a public trust, one must also be a guardian of that public trust.

But in recent years public trust in the ability of representative government to respond to needs like affordable housing, the cost of higher education, and lack of access to healthcare has been at low ebb.

As more money is spent to influence elections with every passing campaign cycle — much of it hard or impossible-to-trace “mystery” money — people begin to wonder whether their concerns are truly being heard.