A Solution to Citizens United

04/10/2014 03:22 pm ET | Updated Jun 10, 2014
  • Hoyt Hilsman Author, journalist and former Congressional candidate

In the wake of Citizens United decision, and the more recent McCutcheon case, there has been lots of discussion about campaign finance reform and the impact of money on American politics. But there is a very simple solution to this controversy that is staring us right in the face. Let me explain.

The Center for Responsive Politics reported that there are 644 donors who are the biggest contributors to political campaigns. That's a very intriguing number. The total membership of the House of Representatives is 435. There are 100 members of the US Senate. That brings the total up to 535. Add in the president, the vice president, the cabinet, the key people in the federal bureaucracy and bingo! You've got 644.

Can you see where I'm going with this? It's very simple. We replace the members of the House, Senate and key members of the government with the top 644 donors. Or if the donors are too busy practicing global capitalism, they could designate whomever they want to run the country according to their wishes.

Sure, this would be a big deal initially. We'd have to get rid of elections for starters. But is that a bad thing? Lots of people don't vote anyway and think of all the money we'd save -- billions! Plus we wouldn't have to listen to the endless TV commercials or delete all the junk email from candidates hawking themselves or asking for money.

Plus the government would get much, much more efficient. With only 644 people in charge and no accountability to anyone but themselves, legislation would get adopted at lightning speed. And if you don't like all the endless government regulation, you'd be happy to see most of it wiped out -- especially environmental and financial regulations.

It's a good bet that a sizable number of the 644 donors are also turnaround specialists who are experts in squeezing the greatest efficiency from organizations, mostly by laying off workers. So government would be bound to shrink -- big time! As the government downsized, the deficit would disappear practically overnight. And if there was any kind of revenue shortfall, the 644 (and a bunch of their friends) would certainly be happy to chip in to keep the Good Ship USA afloat.

Sound like a rosy scenario? You betcha. And the best part is that we already have one-and-a-half branches of the government on our side. Count the Supreme Court as one and the House of Representatives as the half. I'm sure they'd be fully on board with my idea. Plus it looks like the Senate will turn Republican this fall, so you can expect them to join the fun. That leaves Obama out in the cold with low approval ratings. Two against one! Victory for the 644!

Of course, you could take the opposite approach, which would be public financing of campaigns with strict spending limits and tight restrictions on advertising and other expenditures. That would restore our democracy to the rest of the 360 million Americans who have been cut out of the process by the recent court decisions. But that would be messy, complicated and inefficient. Plus it would deny the top .0001 percent of Americans the right to run the government the way they want it. No, clearly my idea is better. And what's more -- I've got the Supreme Court and the Constitution on my side.