Monday, May 08, 2006

Anonymous donations

Here's an interesting idea from law prof., Ian Ayres, to cure the buying a seat in the House of Lords syndrome.

"Tony Blair's leadership has been threatened this spring by allegations that "secret political payments were rewarded with seats in the house of Lords." The traditional response is to simply require disclosure, but in a recent oped in the Financial Times, Bruce Ackerman and I argue that mandating anonymous contributions is a more powerful means of insulating the political sphere from uneven distribution of wealth in our economy."

From Ian's FT op ed (excuse the formatting):

"Whenever a secret deal
comes to light, the
necessary reform seems
self-evident – force
politicians to report all gifts to
the public as rapidly as the
internet will allow. But this
rests on the premise that
politicians should continue to
know who is giving them
We reject this conventional wisdom. We think that each
political party should open a
“blind trust” with the election
authorities into which all
private donors must deposit
their money. Politicians will
no longer be able to
determine who has given
how much. As a
consequence, it will be impossible for them to know who to reward with a peerage or,
even worse, to gratify big donors with special - interest legislation."

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