Political Spending

To the editors of The Crimson:

Two recent editorials in The Crimson raise a paradox. The first deplored the "pervasive influence of corporate contributions" on the Massachusetts referenda; the second hailed Jimmy Carter's election '"triumph" when "members of major industrial unions supported him nationally by a two to one margin."

The paradox is particularly apparent when one realizes that the AFL-CIO spent over five and one half million dollars in the 1976 campaign to have Jimmy Carter elected president under a law that bars corporate contributions to campaigns yet allows unions virtually unlimited spending through their "political education" committees.

It is clear that the editors of this newspaper are not upset by massive campaign spending by powerful vested interests per se. Indeed, they welcome (and even gloat over) the use of "the raw power of capital to fund massive...advertising campaigns" if that power supports their political persuasions. It seeems instead that the editors are concerned only when campaign spending opposes The Crimson's favorite political positions or candidates.

It would be wrong to read these editorials as evidence that The Crimson is truly committed to the high ideals of open elections. Instead, by calling for Federal suppression of advertising they oppose on purely political grounds, the editors are merely joining the mob of many who would like to use the coercive power of government unconstitutionally to have their own way in politics.


And that is all that Richard Nixon did. --Steven Benner