Our View: No refunds for politics

Our View

In short: Unions should not expect contributions back from congressman.

Many labor unions and political action groups have requested that Rep. Parker Griffith return their contributions to his campaign because he switched from being a Democrat to Republican.

When these groups contributed to Griffith’s campaign in 2008, they were taking a calculated risk. A risk that didn’t pay off.

These organizations put their money towards a person who they thought supported their interests, and ended up electing someone they believe is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Now that they want their money back, they’re finding out that congressmen are non-refundable.

Many people would love to retract their money, support and even their vote once a candidate turns out different than he or she seemed on the campaign trail. Alabama’s bingo players would probably love to go back in time and take back any votes they may have cast for Gov. Bob Riley, but that’s just not realistic.

Griffith said he would refund all contributions for the 2010 election cycle, which is a noble act on his part. He knows that changing parties alienates many of his former supporters. He could take a lot of political heat for campaigning for Griffith the Republican using money donated to Griffith the Democrat. Not only is this an idea that benefits labor unions and liberal political action groups, it helps Griffith avoid looking like the bad guy.

The problem begins when these groups start calling for their money back from past campaigns. They supported him at the time because they felt he was the right guy, and they were wrong. It’s pointless to expect politicians to pander to the interests of all of their contributors, and it’s probably best that they don’t. If contributors could withdraw their money at any time, before or after, politicians would no longer be able to act on their own conscience.

Politicians are not elected as a package of policies. They’re elected as people. People can change their minds and they can change their parties. If you’re going to support a candidate, support one who you think will stick to their guns. If that doesn’t work out, there are no refunds.

Our View is the consensus of The Crimson White’s editorial board.