Owen’s had a couple of pieces lately on campaign finance reform (this one will probably be in the Waukesha Freeman this Friday). James Wigderson had one recently also.
Owen’s first piece and James’s piece was followed by a guest editorial by Jack Lohman, who claims to be a Republican, even though he believes in public financing of elections and universal health care, although he does seem to be a mixed bag in his positions. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
Now this may surprise folks but the ACLU was against public financing, at least, against McCain-Feingold. Their point of opposition? First Amendment concerns. The Cato Institute has the same concerns.
This just happens to be the biggest concern with most conservatives. Why should I have to pay for someone else’s campaign? And why don’t I have the right to give as much as I want to the person whose belief’s most match mine?
James makes this point about full financing,
It will be fun to watch the state Legislature decide what is “full” funding of a political race. How many television commercials will each candidate be able to run? How many radio ads? How many mail pieces will they be able to send? Can they hire a campaign consultant, or will the court appoint someone?
We just had a congressional race in Waukesha with a candidate who paid himself a salary from his campaign fund. Will that be allowed in a fully funded state Supreme Court race?
And is the public ready for the costs? Look at what elections cost today? McCain-Feingold is largely ignored in the current presidential election because there’s no way you can run an election today on the money that McCain-Feingold limits you to.
The other thing that bothers those who are against public financing of campaigns is that the candidates have no incentive for making their case to the people other than gathering a few signatures and collecting a little money.
The example of this? John McCain. John McCain has made an impressive comeback. Do you remember where he was a couple of months ago? He had opted out of McCain-Feingold, but was running out of money, so he opted back in. Now at the end of this article, we see that he will opt out again.
The once-cash-strapped campaign of McCain is raising money at a faster clip, campaign manager Rick Davis told reporters. So far, the campaign has raised about $1 million and aides expect the victory in New Hampshire to increase the pace of fundraising.
McCain now is unlikely to accept federal matching funds, one adviser said, a decision that would severely hamper him through spring and summer if he were to become the party’s nominee.
Opting out of his own bill. Interesting.
Bill Richardson on Neil Cavuto today started to whine that he couldn’t get the financing his opponents did. And why is that? His message didn’t resonate.
Another reason? Loopholes. What else is there to say?
My conclusion? Better full disclosure than the alternatives. Fully disclose who gets money and who they get it from. Fully disclose who else spends money on the campaign.