Public Financing

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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.

What Comes Next

Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institute was a champion of the McCain-Feingold reforms, and his analysis helped get the law passed. Now, as he explains in an interview with Abby Rapoport at The American Prospect, he is leaning more towards what can be done with public financing of campaigns, both fixing the presidential system and creating a Congressional system.

From the interview:

Better Than You Think

Bob Bernick Jr. acknowledges he feels like he's going out on a limb with this editorial in support of full public financing campaign. Bernick is writing in Utah's Deseret News, a paper that has covered its share of money in politics/lobbyists/corruption stories so this seems like a logical progression in their exploration of the topic, but Bernick has dim hopes about support in the state, and in Congress, for public financing.

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.

What To Do

Irked by a donor who got away with making some shady campaign contributions, the Detroit Free Press wants attention paid to combating the influence of money in politics, and implementing a workable public financing solution.


The paper is right on in moving beyond outrage over a seemingly illegal activity, to a general indictment of the larger private money system:


All Along the Hightower

Author and columnist Jim Hightower is always quick to voice his support for public financing of campaigns, as well as for the work of Public Campaign and Public Campaign Action Fund so its nice to be able to return the favor by directing your attention to this profile of him in the Asheville Citizen-Times. He has a new book out, and plenty to say about public financing victories in North Carolina and beyond.

How High?

Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic asks who can claim the public financing high ground in the presidential race, quoting a chunk of an argument by election law scholar Rick Hasen on how "publicly financed" Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama would be in the general election, provided McCain ran using the partial public financing system, and Obama ran with private money that included a larger-than-usual base of small-dollar donors.

Tipped Hats All Around

Mary Ann Lindley of the Tallahassee Democract gives a "tip of the hat" to Florida state Sen. Alex Villalobos for declaring his support for public financing of campaigns and I in turn tip my hat to Lindley for a well-written editorial on why it's high time we address how campaigns are financed, and policy written.

She scoffs at what she terms "rhetorical nonsense" from opponents of Clean Elections-style systems who deem it too expensive:

Chance to Run

Bob Ferguson, a King County Councilmember in Washington reflects on his first run for office, the money he needed to fund it, and the reason he supports a move towards full public financing of election in his county in this op-ed for the Seattle Times.

Keith and Dave

Keith Olbermann, host at MSNBC, and Dave Letterman talk about the presidential race, campaign contributions, and public financing of elections in this clip courtesy of Crooks and Liars. Awesome!