While Del Gallo favors voluntary spending limits, his opponents do not. None have agreed to voluntary spending limits.
This letter to agree to voluntary spending limits was sent to his two Democratic opponents very early on in the process.
Apart from being sent to them personally, the letter was published in a modified form as an “open letter” both in the Berkshire Eagle and the Berkshire Courier.
In the Berkshire Eagle, it ran as “Rinaldo Del Gallo, III: Open challenges to candidates for state Senate,” published June 22, 2016. It provided yet an additional 10 days to agree to spending limits.
Del Gallo’s opponents would not agree to his challenge to voluntary spending limits.
Friday, April 08, 2016
An open letter to the candidates for the Berkshire State Senate, especially the Democrats:
As you are aware, as of today, I have not formerly announced my candidacy for senate but I have been actively gathering signatures. I write to you today on the subject of spending limits, debates, and columns in local papers.
Recently, I was at an event with Rep. Smitty Pignatelli and the subject of money and campaigns came up. He said that Ben Downing spent $100,000 to get elected when he first ran for office in 2006. I also confirmed that Andrea Nuciforo spent similar amounts.
Please sit with that colossal dollar figure–$100,000. It is this daunting amount of money that has caused me to hesitate about throwing my hat into the ring.
There are several problems with raising such an astronomical sum to run for office.
- First, potentially good candidates are not entering the race. Rep. Pignatelli openly stated that these huge figures are keeping people from running.
- Second, when we raise such vast amounts of money, we owe people favors. Politics becomes less about people and more about campaign donors, especially large campaign donors. We all want to represent the poor and the diminishing middle class—not just people that can make campaign donations. No doubt, you are aware that if I run, I will run as a “Bernie Sanders progressive.” Bernie has talked at great length about the evils of money and politics. But is my hope that getting money out of politics is something that all of us as Democrats can agree is not only a laudable goal, but is essential to the body politic. If our government is going to be what Lincoln described as being “of the people, by the people, for the people,” we need to get money out of politics. This is especially true of a state senate race which should be all about personal conversations, debates, and expression of views in local media.
- Third, I want to spend from now until Thursday, September 8, 2016 looking a voter in the eye and having real conversation, not raising campaign donations. It represents too much of a theft of time. Politics should be about time with people, not raising money.
I propose a limit of around $20,000 but would entertain and even prefer lower amounts. I would entertain higher ones if you would not agree to a $20,000 campaign spending limit. But I want to know if you agree to ANY campaign spending limits of any kind or nature. It is the first policy decision you will have to make.
Here would be the parameters:
- All Democratic candidates for the state senate race would have to agree.
- There would be a limit on campaign contributions, but there would also be a limit on “independent” expenditures. Best faith efforts would have to be made to discourage such expenditures. The purpose would be to remove hard money and soft money.
- The spending limit would be just that—a SPENDING limit. We could agree to raise funds for the general campaign.
- If I can get all other candidates on board that could appear in the general election, this agreement of spending limits would apply to the general election as well.
- Acceptance of this offer pertaining to campaign spending limits must be made in the next two weeks.
Of course, I will not just be contacting the Democratic Candidates. I will be contacting all the Republican candidates as well.
As I speak to you, I have not asked for one cent in a campaign contribution. I might be good at it, or I might be bad at it. The point is, progressives believe we need to take money out of politics and return it to the people. I hope you agree.
I believe that we as Democrats can make history and return democracy (with the little “d”) to the people. Please join me in what could be a historic moment for democracy and its return to the people.
This should be an issues driven race. I would also like to have debates or forums once per week until the election. There are numerous local organizations that would like to sponsor such debates and forums, and I am sure the media would cover it. I ask your express agreement to this offer.
We would agree to ask to have local newspapers, including the Berkshire Eagle carry columns by all of us.
While I believe that we have a good group of Democratic candidates in Adams Hinds and Andrea Harrington, this open letter is extended to Tomas Wallace, Chistine Canning, or whoever else would like to throw their hat into the state senate race.
Please accept this challenge in the upbeat, respectful and positive manner in which it is made. Let us change the face of democracy and give it back to the people.
Rinaldo Del Gallo, III