If you've been active in the movement to change how our elections are financed for awhile you've no doubt heard the name Fred Wertheimer. Wertheimer, who helped craft the post-Watergate reforms and from his time at the helm of Common Cause to his recent efforts as founder of Democracy 21 has remained keenly focused on campaign finance issues, is profiled in today's Washington Post by Jeffrey Birnbaum.
Before he eases up on his twelve hour workdays and tireless advocacy, Wertheimer wants to win one more big one: reviving the presidential public financing system.
He is determined to fix that before he considers his work complete. The new bundling provision was "one bookend" to his career, he said. "It is my hope that another bookend will be repairing the presidential public financing system."
He no doubt was happy to read this piece this morning citing presidential candidate John Edwards' statement of support for the presidential public financing system -- he's pledged to participate in it in the general election if he is the Democratic nominee and if his Republican counterpart pledges to do the same. While this doesn't change the very real need for upgrades to the program, the signal from Edwards, as well as Barack Obama, and John McCain that they would use the program in the general election shows that candidates see great value in a system that de-emphasizes fundraising and big money politics in favor of empowering small donors.