Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Campaign Finance Controversy

The latest campaign finance news in the city of Philadelphia seems to underscore the pay to play political landscape that has plagued this city. The key to the campaign dispute is about whether the potential mayoral candidates are willing to abide by the law. Whatever the ambiguities or constitutionality of the current legislation, the potential candidates have a duty to live within the law to the best of their ability. If they choose to question the law they should do so through proper legal channels--They should not, as Mr. Dougherty has allegedly done, simply refuse to obey the law by accepting illegal contributions.

Mr. Dougherty should heed the wisdom set forth in Walker v. City of Birmingham,388 U.S. 307, 320-321 (1967). In this famous civil rights case the court wrote:
[I]n the fair administration of justice no man can be judge in his own case, however exalted his station, however righteous his motives, and irrespective of his race, color, politics, or religion. . . But respect for judicial process is a small price to pay for the civilizing hand of law, which alone can give abiding meaning to constitutional freedom.


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