February 08, 2004

Good News, Good Politics

Incumbents profit politically from good news on their watch. It's just a fact of life in a society that elects its politicians. But Juan Non-Volokh is raising a bit of fuss over the new medicare ad campaigns that the administration is launching.

He admits that it is good policy but seems uncomfortable that it is good politics. There are fairly well developed rules over mixed cases like trips that are both political and government related. A formula determines how much the politician's campaign has to write a reimbursement check to the government. But constituent communications which simply inform people of new changes in law are only indirectly beneficial to a campaign. They are the good record that the incumbent runs on. They are not, in and of themselves, campaign messages that should be paid for privately. If such things had to be paid for privately, or even a portion privately, the entire system would grind to a halt as people were less and less well informed about what the law was and how they could take advantage of this or that new provision. By that reasoning, the individual members' campaigns should pick up a portion of the publication costs of the Congressional Record.

Posted by TMLutas at February 8, 2004 12:21 PM