In CommPRO, Richard Levick explains why a new age of transparent political donations is imminent.
On July 27th in 1974, the House Judiciary Committee recommended that Richard M. Nixon be impeached and removed from office. By January of 1975, there were 93 new members of Congress, including 49 seats in the House and Senate which had flipped Republican to Democrat.
In the mid to late 1960s, when I was in elementary school, I would play with Chase Church, whose house was just a quick shortcut through the woods from our elementary school. Too young to think much of the fact that his father was the United States Senator, Frank Church, I would just hang out at his house after school, say hello to his mom and, on the rare occasion, hear his father’s sonorous voice. A few years later, while in high school, I couldn’t avoid the recognition as Senator Church would become one of the “Watergate Babies” ushering in remarkable transparency reforms – Sunshine laws – that would become part of the national fabric, though increasingly whittled away over the decades.
The Great Experiment – the American system of democratic rule – is only fully appreciated when viewed through the lens of the 18th century. Authority was the exclusive domain of royalty and self-rule was utterly inconceivable. For all its limitations, American democracy largely self-corrects through Hegelian transitions, like a pendulum in a slow moving Grandfather clock that takes years to go from side to side. Watergate led to Sunshine laws. So too – if our democratic process still works – will the current environment lead to reforms. Companies engaged in the political process need to prepare for it now…Read more