Public Financing

Change for Congress

Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Stanford who has spent much of his career focused on copyright law is taking up the cause of cleaning up Congress. His new project, change-congress.org will track the positions of congressional candidates in this year's elections on a number of reform proposals and allow people to direct donations to candidates based on their support for these proposals.

Porky Politics

March 1st may be the first hint that spring is soon upon us, with barbecue and bikini season soon to follow, but for Congress 'tis the season to raise big money -- coincidentally right about the time earmark requests come due. Roll Call asks around about connections, real or implied, between late-night fundraisers and daytime spending decisions (sub. req. to read whole article).

Keep Your Caps On

Laura MacCleery of the Brennan Center for Justice challenges a recent proposition in Roll Call to deal with the largely unregulated activities of independent "527" committees in elections by loosening campaign contributions limits, suggesting that a much better alternative is a robust full public financing program for federal elections.

The article, which is available in full only to subscribers gives some perspective to the immense amount of money being spent this election cycle:

Where They Stand

Trying to get a handle on where the leading presidential candidates stand on campaign finance, full public financing of elections, and the presidential public financing system? We just put together this memo for journalists and editorial board writers that helps to sort out the candidates' positions, and what we're asking them to commit to doing once in office.

What Are We After?

USA Today weighs in on the Obama/McCain spat over public financing in the general election and rightly identifies the need to not only rehab the presidential public funding system but create one for congressional campaigns as well.

All For It

The Hill interviewed Democratic lobbyist Jack Quinn for today's issue and after prodding him on his contributions to Democratic presidential candidates they took his temperature on the latest lobbying restrictions and on what changes he might make to how campaigns are financed. His answers help show the real breadth of support for full public financing of campaigns.

 

Put Congress Back to Work

This op-ed by Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) on brutal chase for campaign money that eats up his time as a legislator ties together many of the themes his colleagues have touched on about the harm such excessive fundraising causes and makes a strong argument in favor of full public financing of congressional campaigns.

Lay Off the Lobbyists

In this Boston Globe article Susan Milligan and a handful of campaign finance watchdogs dissect the "lobbyists suck" line that has become shorthand for a general sense of unease over whose interests are getting attention in Washington. Lobbyists per se aren't the problem. Money, and the varied routes that carry it from the pockets of a few to campaigns around the country, is the problem.

Problems of a Feather

Oh, this is awesome. Larry Abrams, who has written for public radio for many years, gets to the heart of the vicious circle that is corporate lobbyist/elected official relationship and why we need public financing of our campaigns to break the cycle.

Richardson On Public Financing

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson just ducked out of the presidential race and his post-exit interview with Neil Cavuto at Fox News made a pitch for public financing of elections at the federal level to even out the playing field for candidates who have good experience, but lean resources.

Here's where it came up: