No Democracy Without Transparency

On May 17th, Engage Miami will join Represent Miami in pursuit of local campaign finance reform. Miami-Dade Commissioners will hold a final hearing to discuss and vote on an ordinance that would require Commissioners to disclose when they fundraise on behalf of political action committees. The ordinance is spearheaded by District 8 commissioner Daniella Levine Cava and is a vital step toward achieving transparency in local politics.

Despite overwhelming local support for this ordinance, the issue of local campaign finance reforms has been largely avoided by the majority of our elected commissioners. This includes the eleven Commissioners who failed to attend a public workshop for the Ordinance in March, despite the fact that they called for the workshop in the first place to address several perceived (and by all accounts imagined) flaws with the proposed law.

Far from a sweeping reform, the ordinance merely proposes that Commissioners be transparent with their constituents about which political action committees they raise money on behalf of. The ordinance proposes that whenever Commissioners fundraise for PACs, they would have to fill out a disclosure form stating their involvement with the PAC.

This ordinance is very similar to regulations already implemented at the state level that require state politicians to disclose their PAC fundraising activities. This ordinance applies the same principle to local county and municipal politicians.

There are no good reasons why Miami Dade commissioners should not be held to the same standards as state politicians serving in Tallahassee. We need our officials to pass this ordinance because democracy depends on transparency. When people cast their votes, they are trusting officials with their voice. Officials cannot honor that trust without disclosing to the public the groups with which they are financially intertwined.

In a time when trust in government is embarrassingly low, and the call to “get money out of politics!” reaches a fever pitch, Miami-Dade’s Commissioners should take the necessary steps to show voters that they care about restoring the public’s trust in government. This Ordinance is one such step.

We hope to see you on May 17th at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center on 111 NE 1st Street. The meeting starts at 9:30am and ends at 12:30pm. If you can’t make it, you can still tweet your commissioners regarding the ordinance at the following twitter accounts:

@barbarajordan1 @jeanmonestime @audreyedmonson @BrunoABarreiro @RebecaSosaMiami @XavierLSuarez1 @DLCava  @JuanCZapata  @CommishDiaz @CommBovo.

 

Written by: Estefany Lopez