campaign finance reform

A Simple, but Powerful Chart

One of the most important aspects of Fair Elections-style reform (sometimes referred to as "Clean Elections") is that it allows candidates to spend much more time with the voters in their community. Instead of spending countless hours dialing for dollars or attending high-priced fundraisers, candidates are able to better get to know the people the seek to serve, and when elected, legislate in their interest.

Strange Bedfellows: The Tea Party and Campaign Finance Reformers?

The Los Angeles Times editorialized today on how the Tea Party, and their advocates in the new Congress, should support campaign finance reform if they are true to their populist ideals and anti-special interest message.

Now and Then

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) used to be one of Clean Elections staunchest allies, supporting efforts to win publicly financed elections at the state level and speaking out about the corrupting influence of money in politics at the federal level. But in recent years his commitment to this issue has flagged and as our own David Donnelly writes at Huffington Post, we're sorry to see him go.

One Change Missing

Sen. John McCain authors this piece for Newsweek entitled "How to Clean Up The Mess" about addressing Americans' distrust in the electoral process and belief that special interests control Washington. Interestingly enough, in three pages of proposed reforms he doesn't mention public financing of elections.

Supremely Disappointing

In a 5-4 split the Supreme Court delivered another very conservative campaign finance decision yesterday, ruling the "Millionaires' Amendment" provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform (BRCA) law unconstitutional. While its impossible to say what the full implications of this decision are, its clear the Court is no friend to laws that seek to limit the influence of private money on our elections.

Speech! Speech!

According to Dmitri Vassilaros at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, campaign finance reform is a)"chilling"; b)a tool of The Man to keep citizens away from government; and c) waaay too popular among elected officials. First, thanks Dmitri for making the campaign finance crowd sound so fascinatingly evil -- I feel like I should be writing this from a mountaintop hideaway while petting a pit bull and twirling my gold pinkie ring.

Historical Notes

Calling the history of reforming campaign finance laws "Sisyphean," Jack Beatty writes in The Atlantic Online on the recent Supreme Court ruling weakening certain provisions of BCRA and how the fight to counter the influence of money on U.S. elections is over 100 years old and nowhere near over.

 

Teddy Roosevelt got the ball rolling in 1905:

The Who, What, and Why

What are we really fighting for when we embark on campaign finance reform? Mark Schmitt, of the New American Foundation and The Decembrist, opens an engaging dialogue on TPM Cafe urging reform-minded folks to not get bogged down in the details of campaign finance and to keep our eyes on the ball: using policy (like Clean Elections) to create opportunities for more people to become involved in politics and spark social change.

 

Dear Congress: Fix It

I've been reading the comments on the post below and seeing a mix of excitement over the possibilities ahead and healthy skepticism about the committment of the new Congress towards reforming our campaign finance system. I have to say, the energy in these comments is very encouraging for our efforts to bring Clean Elections to Congress!

 

Reform Works

On August 8th, the New York Times ran an op-ed arguing against efforts at campaign finance reform, claiming money is an inescapable political force.