Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Accountable to Whom?

A couple weeks ago I co-hosted a campaign fundraiser for Saqib Ali, a candidate for State Delegate in my district (Dist 39). The event was a huge success by all accounts, with over 50 people in attendance and several thousand dollars raised for Ali's campaign.

As Ali spoke to the crowd, I was struck by one particular part of his message. He pledged, in his typical low-key way, not to accept campaign contributions from PACs and corporations. Now, campaign finance is most well known as a federal issue (thanks to US Senators McCain and Feingold), but a quick look at the Maryland Board of Elections online campaign finance database reveals it to be a matter of broader importance.

Elected officials are accountable to the voters who elected them. At least, that's how it should be. But what happens when their campaigns are financed in a large part by special interests? Will they remain true to their constituents, or will the PACs and big businesses hold sway? How will we, the voters, know where their loyalties lie? It's not necessarily a problem of corruption, but more the perception of corruption.

So, props to Saqib Ali for having the courage to take a stand and firmly commit that he will remain accountable solely to the voters, and we'll know it because he will put his money where his mouth is. Now, the question is, will his opponents do the same?

BTW, the fundraiser was at Tandoori Nights, an Indian restaurant in the Kentlands. Absolutely fantastic food! Check it out if you're ever in the mood for a taste of the subcontinent.

(Photo of Saqib and Susan Ali courtesy of Ali for Delegate)

Bookmark and Share AddThis Feed Button