Public Financing

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Williams and Williams

Support for full public financing of elections comes from quite different parts of the blogosphere today: first, Armstrong Williams writing on Townhall argues "Clean campaigns will reduce the power of elites by ending the new arms race for money, and bring back the soul of democracy by increasing the power of the people." Byron Williams, in his piece on Huffington Post,<

Buying the Farm

Iowa is facing important legislative decisions on regulating factory farms, and creating a full public financing option for statewide and legislative elections -- this letter to the editor by Ron Kielkopf in the Ottumwa Courier explains the natural link between the two issues, pointing out the influence factory farms are able to yield through campaign contributions.

Small Donor Distortion

This article, from David Weigel at Reason Magazine, claims the rise of the small-dollar donor eliminates the need for public financing. He trots out the beaten horse of Howard Dean's presidential campaign as proof that the internet provides an effective counterbalance to any iniquity inherent to privately financed elections. While the internet is a valuable tool for enhancing participation in politics, Weigel is kidding himself if he thinks it has corrected the imbalance big-money fundraising creates.

 

Has To Be Done

The Baltimore Sun and the Raleigh News and Observer are both quick to move past marveling over the latest fundraising numbers from the presidential campaigns straight to the conclusion that action is needed to publicly finance campaigns at the presidential and congressional level before things get any further out of hand.

 

Roundly Rebuked

The first quarter campaign finance disclosures from the Presidential field draws a trio of critical editorials on the subject of the "wealth primary" from The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and the The New York Times.

Appearance of Impropriety

Another day, another fishy relationship between campaign cash and lucrative favors. This time, it's a Suffolk, New York father giving $1.4 million in business contracts to his son's campaign donors.

The Choice

This New York Times article focuses on how Presidential candidate Barack Obama built his fundraising apparatus from zero, and makes an interesting diversion to note Obama's reluctance at having to play the high-dollar fundraising game. A supporter of public financing at the federal level, Obama is concerned by the propensity of fundraising concerns to warp the scope and focus of the campaign.

 

Here's what he has to say:

 

New Law in New Mexico?

The New Mexico legislature went into a special session to deal with a number of pending bills; one of the two that emerged from it was a bill to expand the state's public financing program - currently in place for the Public Regulation Commission - to judicial races. Governor Bill Richardson supports the idea, but wants to veto a portion of the bill that would require a ballot initiative amending the state constitution to eliminate retention elections.

 

Clinton Supports Public Financing

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has announced her support for public financing of federal elections on the same day she broke records for first quarter fundraising the presidential race, taking in $26 million. Although she opted out of public financing for her White House bid, she does believe it's the ultimate reform to pursue.

 

All In Agreement

The Winston-Salem Journal appears to be in agreement with the News & Observer when it comes to acknowledging that a public financing system is needed for the statewide Council of State races in North Carolina, arguing that candidates for these offices shouldn't take money from interests who do business with their offices, but don't have a choice unless a publi