Public Financing

One Change

If you hadn't heard, this presidential election is going to be about "change." Richard Cohen at the Washington Post says if you want to see real change it's time to fix the way we finance campaigns in our country and move to a full public financing system.

Cohen dispatches with the red herring arguments over lobbyists and heads right for the essential conflict:

 

Cross the Aisle for Clean Elections

Control Congress is a website hosting bipartisan discussion on what Congress ought to be working on. Contributor Jack Lohman devotes this post to puzzling out why there isn't more cross-aisle agreement on the subject of full public financing of elections, given the success of Clean Elections systems in both Democrat and Republican-dominated states.

Time is Of The Essence

The Maryland legislature will reconvene in January and the Baltimore Sun reminds them how important it is to pass a bill creating a Clean Elections full public financing system for state legislative campaigns.

The bill nearly passed in the last session. It came just one vote shy. And Marylanders have been treated to enough scandals from their elected officials to know that the time has come to change the way candidates finance their campaigns:

 

Pride or the PAC

Just as presidential candidates must choose between principle and viability when it comes to opting into the public financing program, opposition from within his own party and from Democrats in next year's election is forcing Rep. Wayne Gilchrest to abandon his opposition to taking PAC money just to stay competitive.

Gilchrest wants to keep his seat but well-funded rivals aren't making it easy to do so and stick with his fundraising principles:


Turn Your Attention

Deborah Goldberg begins this article in The Nation parsing the recent Supreme Court decisions on political advertising and arguing that while disclosure requirements are all well and good, full public financing of campaigns is the ultimate answer to the battles both in court, and in the public sphere, about the best way to regulate campaign finance.

The Price of Independence

Despite his outspoken stance on full public financing of campaigns, Connecticut Senator and presidential candidate Chris Dodd's campaign finance records show a lot of money from corporate PACs and under interests whose investments in his campaign threaten to derail Dodd's efforts to appear indepedent.

How Much for a Name?

Christopher Moylan, a city councilman from Sunnyvale California writes this op-ed in the San Jose Mercury News encouraging a public financing option for municipal campaigns to encourage a more diverse field of candidates and surmount the cost barrier to running for office.

Don't Wait for Watergate

Jonathan Salant at Bloomberg thinks he knows what's on the horizon if the presidential public financing program is not revamped: Watergate all over again.

Richardson's Lobbyist Donations Criticized

New Mexico Governor and presidential hopeful Bill Richardson is getting criticism for taking money for his presidential bid from people and groups currently lobbying the New Mexico government. Some are calling it a pay-to-play situation, but Richardson denies any ulterior motive.

While Richardson lags far behind the front-runners on the Democratic tickets, some critics say he's using banking on the power of his current office to buy a ticket to a new one:

 

Timing is Everything

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has called a special session of the Maryland legislature and in so doing has set off a debate about the propriety of legislators holding fundraisers which involve stakeholders in the legislation they're debating. Holding fundraisers during a special session is legal -- but is it ethical?

Fundraising is banned during normal sessions: