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opportunities for success on the part of the opposition correspondingly greater. To the extent that the merit system is not rigidly carried out, the effects, just indicated, do not follow. In any event, it is not to be presumed that civil service reform is a panacea. It is merely a palliative. It will materially help, but cannot be relied upon to accomplish a complete cure for our political ills. The merit system merely abolishes the feudal tenure under which many officers now hold, and the obligations of service incident to that relationship. It will remove one handicap to an even race between candidates for a nomination.
It is a serious question whether public appropriation should not be made to defray a part of the expenses of candidates in primaries. Already in most states all of the cost of the primary election itself is paid from the public treasury. The payment of election judges, the printing and distribution of ballots and booths, the rent of polling-places, and other similar expenditures incident to holding a primary are usually met from the public funds, although at the outset all such charges were covered by party assessments upon candidates. The government might also undertake to place in the hands of every voter in the given district a brief statement regarding the record and platform of each candidate. Such statements, prepared by the candidates' friends or critics, might be bound together and sent to every member of the party in the constituency interested. The expense would not be great, while the educational value to the public would warrant an appropriation for the purpose. At any rate, the government might defray the cost of distributing such material. It might also be possible to allow candidates the use of certain public buildings, such as schoolhouses, or perhaps to secure other meetingplaces and permit their use by the several contestants. There is serious danger that under the present system the man without large means may find it almost impossible to enter the primary lists, or that he may incur obligations of a character that may interfere with his usefulness to the public. The candidate should not be subjected to the temptation of mort
gaging his future political conduct for the sake of securing the necessary campaign fund.
After all such remedies have been considered, it is clear that no readjustment of the political machinery can be relied upon to produce ideal political conditions. It is a common American fallacy to conclude that when a constitutional amendment, or a statute, or a charter is secured the victory has been won and that the patriotic citizen may go back to the neglected plow. It is easier to secure ten men to fight desperately for good legislation than one who will fight steadily and consistently for efficient administration. Every student of politics knows, however, that there is no automatic device that will secure smoothly running self-government while the people sleep. Perpetual motion and automatic democracy are equally visionary and impossible. The governor gauges the pressure of public interest and regulates his conduct accordingly. The level of politics is in the long run the level of public interest in men and affairs political. Under any system the largest group of interested and active citizens will determine public policies, and will select the persons to formulate and administer them. The uninterested, or the spasmodically interested, the inactive and the irregularly active, will be the governed, not the governors.
Neither primary legislation nor any other type of legislation can change this situation. We may make it easier for the people to express their will; we may simplify the government and render it more clearly and directly responsible, but this alone will not insure the desired result. We may remove obstructions and hindrances and facilitate popular control, but we cannot do more.
The direct primary system is, therefore, to be regarded as an opportunity, not as a result. It signifies the opening of a broad avenue of approach to democracy in party affairs, but not the attainment of the goal.
97. THE CORRUPT PRACTICES LAW OF CONNECTICUT.
One method of purifying elections and securing good government is to enact rigid laws prohibiting bribery and other corrupt practices and prescribing the amount of and purposes for which money may be spent in connection with elections. The first law of this character adopted by any of the States was that of New York, passed in 1890. Since then at least twenty States have adopted more or less similar laws. The following extracts from the law of Connecticut enacted in 1909 sufficiently illustrate the character of this legislation:
Sec. 2. The term "political committee" shall include every committee or combination of three or more persons to aid or promote the success or defeat of any political party or principle in any election or to aid or to take part in the nomination or election of any candidate for public office. The term "treasurer" shall include all persons appointed by any political committee to receive or disburse moneys to aid or promote the success or defeat of any such party, principle, or candidate. The term "political agent" shall include all persons appointed by any candidate, before any such election, caucus, or primary election, to assist him in his candidacy. No person shall act as any such treasurer or political agent unless, after his appointment and before the caucus, primary, or election for which he is appointed, a writing designating him as such treasurer or political agent shall be filed with the secretary of the state.
Sec. 3. Any person nominated as a candidate for public office, or a candidate for such nomination, may make a voluntary payment of money to any treasurer or political agent for any of the purposes permitted by this act; provided, however, that no person other than such a candidate shall, to promote the success or defeat of any political party or principle, or of any candidate for public office, or of any candidate for any nomination, within six months prior to any such election, make a contribution of money or property, or incur any liability, or promise any valuable thing to any person other than to a treasurer or political agent. Nothing contained in this act
shall limit or affect the right of any person to expend money for proper legal expenses in maintaining or contesting the results of any election.
Sec. 4. No person other than a treasurer or political agent shall pay any of the expenses of any election, caucus, or primary election, except that a candidate may pay his own expenses for postage, telegrams, telephoning, stationery, printing, the advertising in or distribution of newspapers being excepted, expressage, and traveling; but the provisions of this section shall not apply to non-partisan election and ante-election expenses paid out of the public moneys of the state or of any town, city, or other municipality. No contributions or payments or favors of any kind shall be made or offered by, or solicited from any private corporation or any judicial officer, except judges of probate and justices of the peace, to promote the success or defeat of any candidate for public office or of any political party or principle, or for any other political purpose whatever.
Sec. 5. It shall be lawful for any treasurer or political agent, in connection with any election, caucus, or primary election, to pay the following expenses: (a) Of hiring public halls and music for political meetings, furnishing music, uniforms, banners, or fireworks for political clubs or public parades, and advertising such meetings or parades; (b) of printing and circulating political newspapers, pamphlets, and books; (c) of printing and distributing ballots and pasters; (d) of renting rooms to be used by political committees; (e) of compensating clerks and other persons employed in committee rooms and at the polls, and of furnishing reasonable entertainment to such persons necessarily employed in committee rooms and at the polls, and to members of political committees of the same political party to which such political agent or treasurer shall belong; provided, however, that the word "entertainment" shall not be construed to include alcoholic or intoxicating beverages; (f) for the travel of political agents, committees, and public speakers and reasonable compensation to public speakers; (g) of necessary postage, telegrams, telephoning, print
ing, and expense charges; (h) of preparing, circulating, and filing petitions for nomination; (i) of conveyance of electors to the polls. No treasurer, candidate, or political agent shall incur any expense or liability or make any payment for any purpose not authorized by this act, and every liability incurred and payment made shall be at a rate which is proper and reasonable and fairly commensurate with the service rendered.
Sec. 6. Within fifteen days after any such election, every treasurer and every political agent shall file an itemized sworn statement with the officer with whom his designation was filed as aforesaid, which statement shall include the amount of money or property in each case received or promised, the name of the person from whom it was received or by whom it was promised, the amount of every expenditure made or liability incurred, and the name of the person to whom such expenditure or promise was made, and shall clearly state the purpose for which such money or property was so expended or promised, separating the expenditures for caucuses, primaries, and elections. If any money or property has been received from or has been paid, given, or promised to or by any person who was a candidate for any office, or a political treasurer, the title of the office which said person holds or for which he was a candidate shall be plainly given in the statement hereinbefore provided for. Any treasurer or political agent who shall fail to file such statement within the time required shall be fined twenty-five dollars for each day on which he is in default, unless he shall be excused by the court. Twenty days after any election the secretary of the state or the town clerk, as the case may be, shall notify the proper prosecuting officer of any failure on the part of any treasurer or political agent to file such statement, and within ten days thereafter such prosecuting officer shall proceed to prosecute for such offense.
Sec. 9. The following persons shall be guilty of corrupt practices and shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of this act: (a) Every person who shall, directly or