Open Letter to Columbus City Council

I contribute to various nonprofits, candidates, and PACs (political action committees) here and there. While it may not be much, as I’m classified middle class, I like to feel like I’m giving to a cause or person that I believe in.

My giving is usually in the 2- to 3-digit range, depending on the importance of the organization is to me, and what the cause or need is. Sometimes I get a perk for it, like a sticker of the cause for my laptop or car, or a yard sign to publicly endorse a candidate.

Regarding candidates, I love that in advance to an election, I feel like I’m pre-voting with my financial contribution, saying here is my investment in you. I feel involved, and I feel like I’m being slightly influential in the outcome of this city, state, or country.

This new proposal of over $12,000 limit on gifts for candidates seems odd to me and sends red flags. Who gives 5-digit amounts to a city election? To any election?

The rich.

The Wexners, the Schottensteins, the Epprechts, the Mayfields.

I don’t know the politics of each of these families, but if they give 5-digit amounts, they’re causing an election tsunami, dismissing any ripple of the common person’s gift. And if that person gives another $12,000 in their wife’s name, and their kids’ names, and their–

It doesn’t matter who is in office, or who is running for office, I highly dislike the idea that in a city like Columbus, my gift towards a candidate is not influential. If my $100 is dwarfed by another’s gift that buys most media air time, it’s almost defeating to me.

Why try?

This is obviously a permission slip for the rich to sway elections, and I hope the voting public shows concern about their gifts to their candidate of choice becoming nullified—blue, red, or green.

And I plead with the council to please shoot down this high amount limit. A 3-digit amount might be more in the rational ballpark. Democracy and electoral choice shouldn’t be able to be bought.