No PACs backing
The article on political-action committees (PACs) was welcome [``Money and political influence: how to avoid the corruption that may result,'' Aug. 13]. More than 70 percent of the income used to finance a politician's campaign that comes to him from PACs comes from contributors who are out of his state. Since only a saint would deny some favored attention to these major contributors, this means shortchanging the local voters who can't come up with a sizable contribution. This dilutes our one-person, one-vote system severely. Lt. Comdr. Edward J. Toner, USN (ret.) Howell, N.J.
In response to the editorial [``On unPACing campaign financing,'' Aug. 14]: We need to restore the primacy of the small contributor! A contribution of $100 or less is insignificant when measured against what PACs can give singly and cumulatively (by industry). It's made punier still by the level of spending.
In Senate races in 1984, winning candidates spent an average of $3 million. So who's going to notice a contribution of $50? Only in America do we view campaign spending as a hallowed right. Other countries have the sense to limit spending.
In some cases, the electorate is so huge that the election will be expensive (for example Senate races). When one has to run in a statewide primary and general election, there is no way that small contributors can pay for it. One must enlist the support of a network of interest groups, in state and out.
Is there a way around this? Yes. Public financing! If the public will pay the cost of the general election, small contributors can pay the cost antecedent to it.
We need to increase interest and participation in politics. More people would contribute if small contributions meant something. More people would run for office if exhaustive fund raising and exorbitant spending weren't required of them. Eric Steel Oakland, Calif.