Michigan Radio interviews Richard L. Hall, Joe Schwarz about campaign funding, lobbyists, and term limits

February 21, 2012
Richard L. Hall and Joe Schwarz spoke with Michigan Radio's Lester Graham in a story called "Money and politics: when the fix makes it worse."

The problem, as explained by Graham, is "[c]ampaign contributions and cozy relationships with lobbyists make voters wonder if their elected officials have their best interests at heart."

"That leads you to the knee-jerk reaction that they're all a bunch of corrupt politicians; throw the bums out. Get term limits. Get them out of there. Right," Hall explains to Graham.

But term limits, which Michigan voters adopted in 1992, have their own set of problems.

"You know, it takes you two terms just to figure out what in the hell is going on, to develop any expertise, to learn what the statutes are, to learn who's interested in what and so on and so forth. And about the time you basically develop any expertise and your staff does, you're out," Hall continued.

Schwarz agrees with Hall's assessment, explaining further that without a group of seasoned legislators to lend guidance, new legislators are dependent on outsiders (lobbyists) who hold institutional knowledge.

"They have no mentors. In my day, three years of service in the legislature, you'd still be looking for the men's room or the ladies' room," Schwarz quipped.