This article originally provided by The Herald-Dispatch

July 18, 2006

Campaign funds, politics -- watch out

Massey Energy's Don Blankenship made headlines again in recent weeks with his plan to spend millions on a campaign to unseat more than 30 West Virginia legislators.

Although Blankenship hasn't revealed his hit list yet, his Web page highlights the issues as lawsuit reform, repealing the food tax, abortion notification, drunken driving provisions and tougher penalties for sex offenders. Most suspect the targeted legislators will be key Democrats.

Whether you agree with him or not on the issues, Blankenship's approach rubs some of us the wrong way -- we don't like the idea of someone with a lot of money trying to influence elections.

Well, welcome to American politics.

Blankenship, to his credit, is more forthcoming than most rich people hoping to win your vote. He is telling us what he's going to do, and it should soon be clear who he is trying to do it to. Most special interests are a lot sneakier than that.

Hopefully, all of this serves as a wake-up call to voters -- pay attention.

Today, there is more information than ever available about political contributions, and it's critical that voters inform themselves. Whether it's an ad or letter or phone call, the smart voter asks, "Who's paying for this, and why do they want to influence my vote?"

A fat cat's opinion is more powerful than our own only if we allow it to be.


Voter-Owned Elections

Citizens for Clean Elections P.O. Box 6753 Huntington, WV 25773-6753 304-522-0246