Oppose. I am sure that there will be some Board or Commission involved and Blago has enough Boards and Commissions to shake down contributions.
- the Other Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 8:44 am:
Favor, but I don’t think we can have a good system of public financing unless the US Supreme Court reverses itself on Buckley v. Valeo (holding that contributions to candidates are a form of free speech).
Essentially, the system is out of control. We need a system of campaign finance that favors contributors concerned about good public policy over special interests which seek to profit from government.
Unfortunately, any incremental change to the system creates its own set of loopholes. And those who seek to play politics for profit will find and exploit those loopholes. So, the only alternative left is full public financing.
I strongly support full public financing of public elections. The voters have a right to know where all ballot qualified candidates stand on the issues, and this is as much a part of the infrastructure of our democracy as the printing of the ballots, renting of polling places, and hiring of election judges, all of which are currently publically funded.
Elections should not be about who has the most money, wealthy friends, or good fundraisers. Elections should be about issues. By removing this component; and leveling the playing field for all ballot qualified candidates, we can promote more competition in our political marketplace of ideas.
Prior to the Australian Ballot Act here in Illinois, which brought about the secret ballot, political parties printed and distributed their own ballots. Some people complained when it was proposed that taxpayers pay for the printing of ballots, and they’re the same type of people that complain today about full public financing of public elections.
I guess it depends on the terms? When does my tax dollars kick in? Pre-Primary where a bunch of moon bats will come out of the wood-work to run on the public dime? Part of the current system that I like is that it self selects out the lazy and keeps away people who don’t work hard.
- Ravenswood Right Winger - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 8:57 am:
No. Public monies can be spent on myriad issues besides financing campaigns. Besides, how would these funds be fairly allocated?
Fundraising is an integral part of the democratic process and encourages the candidates to get out of their chairs and get their message out. Private contributions are in great part a measure of a candidates support. Taxpayer funded campaigns are simply a tax on the individual citizen, plus it uses our taxes to support a candidate we may not want. If we do anything regarding funding of political campaigns, we should limit or even exclude PACs and Corporations from contributing to the campaigns, either through cash or in-kind contributions. Additionally, limits should be imposed on individual contributions. We need to select the best candidates for office, not those with the most support from large industrial complexes and political action committees. The voice of Joe and Jane Doe needs to be heard loud and clear. In my humble opinion taxpayer funded political campaigns is not the way to make that happen.
No. We should not allow government to decide who it will support regarding elected offices. This is a democracy, and we have the right to fill the offices as we see fit, not as the government sees it.
Public financing of elections sounds “fair”. But with it comes a lack of freedom. Your freedom. You will only be able to choose those candidates that are considered “qualified” - by WHOM? By a bunch of special interest group hacks? By a bunch of partisan office grubbers? While all of us who were told the glories of this idea back in college, reality shows that we don’t get great people - we get people that can be qualified. There is a HUGE difference, people!
As a citizen it is YOUR responsibility to choose candidates. You should not look at your responsibility as a burden. Instead of demanding term limits or public financing, you need to get off your lazy backsides and get to work. There is no such thing as a self-cleaning government.
YOU are supposed to be the janitor for our democratic system! It is your job to vote out scumbags who abuse the current system.
Finally, the entire idea is so elitist and arrogant. Since when should we no longer be a democracy? Are we so fat and lazy we are willing to give away our democracy so we don’t have to hear about corrupted campaigns? Do we look down our noses at our fellow citizens to the point where we don’t believe they know what is best for them? Public financing of elections is one of those ridiculous utopian proposals that are proposed by know-it-alls like the snotty kids you sat in political science courses with.
Democracy is dirty. That is no reason to expect someone else to do your job as a citizen. The last bunch of self-serving jerks you want running a campaign system are the jerks currently in charge.
Oppose; spend money on education, health, infrastructure, and services.
Let the market decide candidates and their political futures - if the person is any good, she/he will be able to scratch up some dough. Leave the Lefties to push for a politboro - ‘All candidates state case is good ‘DA’ -not good ‘N’yet’ Is so. All hail the glorious Revolutionary Peoples Tax-Paid Party Postings!’
Private and corporate sponsored campaigns give advantage to the wealthy. They force candidates to taylor their platform to appeal to the wealthy, rather than the public at large. This is why 95% of campaign contributions are made by less than 1% of the public. It’s a sure road to Plutocracy.
Part of the problem is that small donors have given up. If small donors were more assertive about giving even small amounts to the candidates they believe represent their interests best, the system would be less
beholden to corrupt wannabee contractors and lobbyists and so on.
I love those movies on TCM - Bob, Bing and Dorothy. Maybe, a walk-on by Jerry Colona - The Road to Plutocracy:
Chester - ‘ look here Spike, I’m tired of you fat-catting my vote away and ending up with Dotty and all the Elected Offices here on Pluto - I won;t take it.’
Spike- ‘Course, you won’t take it, Son. It’s way past your grasp ( strike matchoff of Chester’s nose and lights his pipe for effect) why past your grasp, Sonny-Boy. Now, look here be a good lad and run along to the Nader-Nerders back there on good old terra firma - they have room for bright-boy like yourself, Chester.’
Oppose. No one should have to pay taxes for candidates with views they can’t stand.
What we really need to do is force the public airwaves to provide free and reduced rate advertising. Then a candidate could get their message out and have a shot at winning without having to prostrate themselves to wealthy special interests.
Meanwhile, the New York Times refuses to endorse a single Republican candidate. First time since just before Watergate? The political paradigm is undergoing a rapid shift. We have yet to see where it’s going to end up. Exciting but terrifying at the same time! Maybe we are a witnessing a self-correction despite all the $$$ that’s being flung around.
Sango Dem wrote, “No one should have to pay taxes for candidates with views they canâ€™t stand.”
You’re paying for the right of voters to know where all ballot qualified candidates stand on the issues. What you are funding is the process of making sure that everyone has access to the information that they need to make an informed decision on election day. In other words, it’s not about the candidates–it’s about the voters.
You may not agree with the views of all people taught about in schools, but that doesn’t mean that the students don’t have a right to know about those people; and to deny funding on this basis would be a form of censorship.
No, I think citizens should have the right to support with their money the candidates they believe in. Publicly funding campaigns would eliminate that. I would though like to see someone’s campaign chest like Blago’s go by the wayside somehow.
I’m one of Madigan’s Minions, and moved to Arizona at the end of the 2000 cycle. Arizona passed publicly funded elections (referred to as Clean Elections www.azcleanelections.com) a few years ago. It’s great for AZ, but would never work in IL under the same structure.
Clean Elections is voluntary for candidates. For example, a House or Senate candidate can collect about 250 $5 donations with a signed form, and turn it in to Clean Elections to receive campaign funding. There’s also some added fees on parking tickets, etc.
If the opponent is not “running clean,” the clean candidate can get some matching funds up to a certain point.
For a State Senate or House race Total for primary and general comes to about $40,000 total. Yes, I didn’t forget a zero. And that’s way more than most house or senate races had cost before the law kicked in. A statewide office like Corp Commission or Treasurer only gets about $100,000.
Federal and City candidates are not eligible for Clean Elections funding.
Comparing the dollars spent on races, the Arizona model won’t work for Illinois, but it seems to work here. Lots of candidates that couldn’t afford running before are running now- lots less uncontested races. But one can’t say the caliber of candidate has always improved. ;)
Haven’t done enough research to conclude whether it would be better or not, but Sango Dem raises some interesting points about free advertising so candidates don’t have to pander to those with the megabucks for all of their funding.
I’m leaning towards no (unless everyone gets a refund when someone goes corrupt!), but there has to be some way to get good people to run, and they have got to be able to get a message out and run a campaign, especially if you’ve got a scenario where one candidate has a massive war chest, while someone else can’t raise enough cash to run a good campaign. It turns into who is the charismatic political celeb who can schmooze up the funds, but even the biggest sociopaths can be charismatic and engaging. That scares me.
I do think we need longer jail term limits, though. They can still get a reduction for cooperating with the feds, but let it be more than a slap on the wrist, here. 6 years? Get real.
- Getyourheadoutoftheclouds - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 11:19 am:
Anything that provides money to people who cannot convince others to give a donation necessarily props up bad ideas and lunatics.
Anything that gives government control of campaign funds (and that is exactly what you would do if you gave government control of the purse) will make things worse because it will eliminate any method of cleansing the ranks of professional politicians.
As long as there is complete disclosure, the people can weigh issues and examine people and make their decisions.
Government funded campaigns are pie-in-the-sky nonsense that will backfire horribly.
- Fan of the Game - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 11:26 am:
No public funding for three reasons:
1) I should be able to spend my money as I please on candidates I support.
2) Politicians deciding how politicians will divide more tax money to distribute to politicians is not a good system.
3) The same as #2 but in ALL CAPS FOR EMPHASIS! ;)
I have an unusual perspective on this, having cut my teeth volunteering in Illinois politics, but now living in Arizona (where I just ran for office as a publically funded candidate).
Illinois would benefit from having such a system. I was required to demonstrate a minimum level of support in my district by getting over 200 five dollar contributions from voters. We were also allowed to raise a token amount ($3500) to get our campaign started before we qualified for public funds. We finance our Clean Elections system from a surcharge on parking tickets, as well as a tax checkoff (similar to the Federal system).
Please consider, if it is even possible, how much Illinois spends every year on projects and programs that are unneccessary. Any money spent on public campaigns would cost a mere fraction of this.
In short, more candidates can run, elections are not determined by who has the most money, and people can make decisions largely free of special interests. What’s the problem here?
Absolute spending limits are a bad, bad idea, Buckley or no Buckley. If we have learned anything post the 1970s, it is that the money will find a way into campaigns. The more you try and legally restrict it, chances are, the less you will know about who is funding whom.
That said, I have some questions about Sango’s position that people should not fund positions they disagree with. I happen to have a beef with our current President and the majority party in Congress. My taxpayer dollars also pay their salary, and a part of their constituent mailings. So isn’t that supporting viewpoints that I disagree with? Or as a taxpayer, do I have the right not to have my money spent on a war that I now strongly disagree with?
Obviously I don’t - and I shouldn’t, to be clear. But if it’s OK that my tax dollars go to fund Iraq, I don’t see the great injustice if my tax dollars help subsidize some conservative _running_ for Congress that I disagree with. What’s the principled distinction? Not saying there couldn’t be one, but I’d like to see it set forth clearly.
If we want to get really philosophical, JS Mill would say that I do myself a great benefit (whether I recognize it or not) by exposing myself to viewpoints and arguments I might not approve of, at least initially. The society as a whole benefits when we fund people to say things that we might otherwise not be exposed to. There are good arguments in other words for why I _should_ pay money to hear arguments that offend me. I can think of a lot worse ways to waste my cash.
I do not favor publicly funded elections. But I do favor increased restrictions on negative campaign advertising, if a constitutional way could be found. After all, the federal government owns the airwaves.
Perhaps a simple rule that you could not mention or display your opponent in a TV or radio ad, though anything goes in mailers, print ads, debates, anything else, etc.
The one major thing we could do to short-circuit the out-of-control fundraising is to make the commercials free to all qualified candidates, and guarantee an equal number for each. Look at where the campaign money is spent, especially in this latest race, and you’ll see it was all about buying TV ad time. Nobody is going to back down voluntarily from raising mega-millions for ad buys unless you get the TV stations to go back to considering it their public duty to run the spots for free. If not for free, then for a token amount paid from a public fund.
I also think donations are “speech” only from individual sitizens, not the artificial beings known as corporations and not from unions. Although a union supporter, I would not mourn if bot the unions and the corporations could no longer give money to PACs or candidates directly. They can still tell their members what they as individuals should do for making contributions, and it should be up to those folks to send in their amounts anonymously below a threshold level, and that way your boss or union steward can’t know if you donated or not, or to whom, so your job and privacy are safe.
I am probably one of the few that thinks this way, but I don’t think elections should be publicly funded nor do I think there should be limits. Limits are a terrible waste of our elected officials time. Our congressmen and Senators spend an inordinate amount of their time raising money instead of talking about the issues. A U.S. Senator told me one time that he estimates that close to half of his waking hours have something to do with fundraising (calls, having an event, travel to an event).
I think disclosure is the best we can hope for. The current program is OK but it could be better. Make it mandatory that everyone update their reports monthly until two months before the election and then weekly the next month and then daily the month before. This sounds labor intensive but if an integrated computer program can be developed it would not be too burdensome.
As far as only the rich now contributing, people forget that 99% of the people are represented by at least one association of something. Either a chamber of commerce, a trade organization, union, AARP or whatever, they are represented. Most of these organization control some kind of PAC account along with having lobbyist.
Long story but in a nut shell timely disclosure is the best we can hope for without taking away our liberties.
in general, i don’t care what the rules are, as long as i know what they are in advance (at least 18 months out) and they don’t change during (or after) the campaign. advocates of public financing always imagine some great benefit by it, but no matter what the rules are, they will be interpreted and take advantage of by people who run campaigns.
unless you have a strong enforcement mechanism (like south korea), any thought that good intentions will result in real changes is, well, naive…
- The Conservative - Tuesday, Oct 31, 06 @ 1:27 pm:
Absolutely not, taxpayers money should not be used for political candidates. I used to hate it when the union supported candidates I did not.
I oppose taxpayer funded campaigns, mainly because I want to be able to choose who my money goes to.
The only thing I wish I could change is the ability to make it more of an even playing field, so that qualified candidates, who don’t have tons of money could run a decent campaign against those less qualified candidates who have tons of money. (I know, I’m asking for the impossible.)
The real issue is not so much who funds but how long these damn campaigns are. With House reps being up for reelection every two years they pretty much never get out of election mode in contested areas. It’s wasteful and it leads to bad policy.
Bubs, won’t the free exchange of ideas, even negative ones, still sort ‘em all out as voters get more and more fed up?
As voting declines, and as they start polling everyone to find out WHY they aren’t voting (these people must find these dangblasted polls to be some kind of frickin’ aphrodesiac, if you ask me, because that’s all we ever hear about is polls, polls, and more polls), won’t they eventually hear back from the voters?
Negative can work to a point, but if it just goes so over the top, like the Ford ad, which was just utterly ridiculous, then people get turned off. Isn’t more freedom of speech better than less? I should think there will be a voter backlash that is just the natural consequence of things, so I would argue to not put a limit on free speech, no matter how obnoxious. Let the worst of ‘em ruin themselves when they push it too far, I say.
Speaking of the Ford ad, does anyone else find it ironic that the Republicans are picking on the guy for apparently being a heterosexual who went to a Playboy party (gasp!) while the Democrats are all in a tizzy because the Republicans had a closet gay guy in their midst? Shouldn’t the Republicans be glad that Harold likes girls, and shouldn’t the Democrats be thrilled that the GOP isn’t so “homophobic” after all? I can’t stop laughing at the irony.
Oppose. Instead of having tax money or limiting the amount that people, corporations etc give to politicians, there should be a cap on how much the politicians spend per month. Instead of putting a burden on the people, put the burden on the politicians. This will keep private fundraising without restricting people from giving how much they want to, reduce the overspending from campaign warchests, and give all candidates a level playing field.
It will no doubt come with big strings attached–contribution limits.
Plus, because the funding would be roughly equal, the beneficiary is the better known candidate–the incumbent.
Incumbents can always raise large amounts of money in smaller increments because they have access to the special interests, contractors and employees who feed at the trough.
Independents and challengers often depend on larger donations to overcome the inherent disadvantage they face.
If you’re for free and open political speech, and a more level playing field between incuments and challengers, you should oppose any restrictions on campaign financing other than strict and timely DISCLOSURE rules.
A lot of good points here. I am opposed to public campaign financing. I am for opening the airwaves to free and an equal amount of advertising per candidate. I think there should be MANDATORY debates and not one conducted as poorly as the last radio debate in Decatur. Let’s get Jim Leahrer (spelling?) or some other top national figure to come in and hold their feet to the fire in a debate. I am also for anything that will level the playing field between those who have big bucks and those who do not. It’s a shame when we allow our votes to be bought. In the meantime, the best way we can reform campaigns ourselves is to not vote for the big spenders, whomever they are. Tell them your vote is not for sale.
Also, why can’t the State Board of Elections be more emphatic with their rules? You don’t file the appropriate papers and campaign contribution reports on time, you’re out. No reprieve. No second chances. YOU’RE OUT!
Oppose. There is no way tax payer’s should pay for a ‘level playing field’ because it will never happen. Too many ways to circumvent it. I would rather equalize the time on radio & TV. Can’t be done but it would prove entertaining!
Make everyone get grilled in mandatory debates moderated by Chris Matthews. That would be entertaining as well as tough on the candidates.
Heck, SNL has run entire sketches poking fun at Chris. Guest character: “Can I talk?” Chris character: “No, you can’t!”
Seriously. Get the very best out there to do multiple debates. Get Diane Sawyer, Tim Russert, and people of that caliber who could actually ask good questions. Better yet, get a team of prosecution lawyers to grill them all, complete with all of the leading questions that they couldn’t get away with in court (snicker snicker).
For. And wow do I feel lonely. I used to support public financing simply because dialing for dollars in sealed cubicles is not how I want my most senior public employees spending their days. (They should be blogging like the rest of us.) But after the Rezko indictment, the Levine plea, and Public Official A counting the days until he is haled into federal court, we are drowning in reasons why Illinois ought to reduce elected officials’ incentive to sell their influence. Not just increase the certainty and severity of prison sentences. Actually shrink the relative profitability of selling out.
I for one would be happy to gamble a $5 income tax check-off on the possibility that our elected officials will have less incentive to even indirectly trade pension fund management contracts, bond float commissions, or hospital expansion certificates of need in exchange for whopping campaign contributions.
I wish the answer was as simple as recruiting people with greater integrity. But how is one supposed to know? Talk to their mothers? As much as I disliked Blago from the first time I saw him and his hair at a 2002 primary rally, I doubt he set out to be corrupt. But once in, the logic of the graft must have made too much sense.
I don’t understand how public financing becomes an Incumbent Protection Act. The incumbents, not the challengers, are the ones with the influence to trade for / shake down big donations.
And for everyone who thinks the sunshine of disclosure is an all purpose disinfectant, please explain how even in the face of columnists (Hi Rich) and editorial writers painstakingly laying out the whole septic mess, Blago is still steaming full speed toward reelection.
I’m for it but with severe limits on amounts. No extras for incumbents, etc. Also, I want an outside entity to control where it goes, not the campaign manager. No paying $5 to your buddy and getting $500,000 in free advertising. Ethics is the word of the campaign.