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 Supreme Court rulings in June which opened the door to more soft money becoming available to run political advertisements was seen as a major blow to BCRA and to efforts to stem the tide of money into politics. Goldberg argues that there's been too much focus on the weakening of this particular provision and not enough attention to the better solution: full public financing of campaigns:


The point is not to eliminate money from the political process but rather to ensure that we have open, honest and accountable government.

For that, we need fundamental reform, not just devices to close up loopholes. We need public funding of presidential and Congressional campaigns. With public financing of elections, elected representatives can respond to the interests of voters instead of worrying about the deep-pocketed donors on the lookout for loopholes.


Public funding won't stop the constant hunt for loopholes; that game will continue as long as wealthy interests want to influence politics. But loopholes just wouldn't matter as much if candidates had a meaningful alternative to private largesse. That option is public funding, and it is already working in states and localities around the countr
y.