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Question of the day

Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018

* AP

The November election race for Illinois governor cost $28 million just for the last three months of 2017.

Campaign finance disclosure reports filed this week show that $9 of every $10 was spent by two candidates — Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker.

* The Question: Do you support public financing of campaigns? Why or why not?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 3:51 pm:

    No, because then fringe candidates like Robert Marshall or Scott Drury can qualify for public funds when they shouldn’t be allowed in the same room with actual candidates.

    I’m kidding about Drury, but there’d have to be some threshold to weed out the angry cranks who just want to spout slogans. The petition requirements aren’t enough apparently. Perhaps having candidates raise a certain amount from small donors that is then matched with public funds?

    Raising money is a form of support and it should be recognized as such and candidates with broad appeal should get more in public funding than candidates with very little public support.

  2. - Fax Machine - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 4:08 pm:

    Even if there were public financing Billionaires would still have a First Amendment right to self-fund without limits so I dont see it as solving the problem.

  3. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 4:11 pm:

    I also support
    Universal Healthcare
    Universal Basic Income
    Democratic Socialism

    All incredibly heavy lifts for any country
    It’s about faith/keeping faith
    It’s about doing the doable
    approaching the temporary better.
    It’s about 60/30 ( hat tip to OW )

    Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me round

  4. - Touré's Latte - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 4:16 pm:

    I would settle for no TV ads until 30 days prior, but I am not sure even that is doable.

  5. - Joe Bidenopolous - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 4:16 pm:

    I would support it, for the simple reason that it’s becoming more and more difficult for anyone but the wealthy to break through and we need a government that is more representative of the electorate than the 1%.

    That said, given the amounts that the mega-rich are willing to self fund, public financing is really an untenable political position. Can you imagine having to add a couple of hundred million to the budget every four years for the gubernatorial and tens of millions for legislative races every two years? That’d get the screamers going for sure.

  6. - don the legend - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 4:18 pm:

    47th Ward—weed out the angry cranks who just want to spout slogans.—

    Does that make Rauner an angry crank? /s

  7. - Too Much to Handle - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 4:20 pm:

    No - scarce government funds should not be dedicated to political campaigns. It’s hard enough to fund education let alone political campaigns.

    Oh yeah, and the whole First Amendment thing.

  8. - OurMagician - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 4:21 pm:

    No, if Bruce Rauner wants to spend all of his money, that’s his choice. But we should know it’s Rauner’s $$$ or Ken Griffin’s or JB Pritzker’s. The dark money PAC’s are the problem, if you have something to say, say it, put your name behind it and be done with it and let everyone know how you stand on an issue.

  9. - Robert the 1st - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 4:21 pm:

    No. My reason is the same as 47th Ward. How do yo weed out the fringe people?

    Also, Fax Machine is right. This wouldn’t make much of a difference considering private funding and Super Pacs.

  10. - Abe - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 4:30 pm:


    We will never “get big money out of politics” but we cannot accept a campaign finance system where only candidates with access and appeal to wealthy donors can compete.

    A system where small contributions are matched with public funds would give candidates who do not have access to big money donors but do have wide support a chance to compete.

    The goal is not to level the playing field but to ensure that qualified candidates with community support can -compete- and voters have actual choices.

    Its simple to have a viability threshold to qualify, such as a number of in-district small donors.

  11. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 4:33 pm:

    ===Its simple to have a viability threshold to qualify,===

    You’d be asking the General Assembly to establish this viability threshold. I don’t think it would be as simple as you suggest.

  12. - Responsa - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 4:34 pm:

    No. Rather than addressing the purported purpose of leveling the playing field, public financing of campaigns would just add more, not less money into campaigns as Fax Machine says above. Using tax dollars from the state’s or county’s coffers to fund partisan political activity would just further deplete those coffers and divert already scarce government resources/dollars away from critical areas of public service, safety and infrastructure.

  13. - Nothing New - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 4:39 pm:

    As long outside groups can fund campaign ads, what good will public financing do? Allow under-funded candidates the opportunity to also be on TV though at a much lower rate? Great, more political ads! And whose budget is getting cut to let fringe candidates have air time? And, if I’m a business owner running for office, can I use government money to talk about my experience running my business (which some yahoos seem to think is great experience for being governor) and end up running cost-free ads for my business?

    It would take a complete re-write of the first amendment to institute a more sane system, or voters will have to rely on actually researching individual candidates rather than learning about them through ads, but it’s a big lift to ask folks to read CapFax every day to cut through the advertisement BS.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 4:42 pm:

    Vote No.


    1) Viability.

    2) My own beliefs on campaign finance, which are..

    Unlimited money.

    The kicker?

    Direct and immediate disclosure, no more Dark Money PACs, anything greater than $1 must be accounted for directly to its source, no “3 year olds” donating $1,000, no worry about “spouse” matching…

    You want to be a “Uihlein” and give $30 million to a PAC, gotta disclose it, no hiding the source.

    You try to skirt it, have a buffer…

    So, no caps, no limits, but full disclosure, everyone, every dollar, at the source.

  15. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 4:48 pm:

    ==- Honeybear - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 4:11 pm:==


    I also agree with OW, at least when it comes to the crazy federal system, where candidates are capped, are not allowed to coordinate strategy with super PACs, yet are allowed to have staffers “volunteer” for the super PAC to fundraise.

    Strict disclosure before limits. Plus limits.

  16. - Real - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 4:51 pm:

    Yes I support public campaign financing. Its the only way the average person can compete. If Rauner didn’t spend millions in his first campaign I’m 100% sure another republican would won the primary.

  17. - Actual Red - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 4:57 pm:

    Maybe the way to solve the self-funding dilemma would be to institute a “tax” on self funding — i.e. if you break a certain cap on self funding, you have to contribute some percentage toward the overall public fund. Not sure how that holds up constitutionally but could towards making races more fair without limiting “free speech.”

  18. - Jocko - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 5:01 pm:

    I’m in favor of public campaign financing if we can shorten the election season down to four weeks. I don’t know if it was ‘94 or ‘96, but campaign season now seems never-ending.

  19. - Mouthy - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 5:06 pm:

    Yes because political offices shouldn’t go to the highest spender or bidder…

  20. - Ideas - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 5:26 pm:

    Yes, in some fashion. We can’t become a country where the only path to office is massive wealth (whether yours or your donors’).

    Campaign finance reform can seem intractable sometimes, but then I see interesting approaches like the new one in Washington state. Each voter gets to direct something like $50 to three candidates of their choosing. It gets public money in the game, but also helps to direct it toward popular candidates and away from fringe ones.

  21. - JoeMaddon - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 5:44 pm:

    **No, because then fringe candidates like Robert Marshall or Scott Drury can qualify for public funds when they shouldn’t be allowed in the same room with actual candidates.**

    **Vote No. “Why?” 1) Viability.**

    FWIW, Sen. Biss/Rep. Cassidy’s legislation (SB1424), which already passed the Senate, deals with this issue of needing to be viable and not being a fringe candidate.

    If you’re running for Governor, you need at least 1000 qualified contributions to be eligible, at least 500 contributions for the other state wide offices, 200 for State Senate, 100 for State Rep.

  22. - James R. Anderson - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 6:19 pm:

    At some point it’s up to the voters to decide not to vote for the billionaires. When they do, problem solved. But you can’t bellyache about billionaires and then vote for them.

  23. - FDB - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 8:57 pm:

    No TV ads until 30 days out would be such a welcome law. I don’t even care if it’s a complete blitz for that last month, I’d rather people not be subjected to what by now everyone realizes are carefully-crafted fluff statements that can easily be shifted to mean something else upon taking office ALL of the time.

  24. - California Guy - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 9:25 pm:

    No. Wouldn’t be Constitutional to go to an exclusively public funded campaign. Let voters decide. Require full disclosure, the caps are on borrowed time anyways.

  25. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 9:50 pm:

    Which is worse a wealthy, self funding candidate who doesn’t owe anyone any favors or one beholden to special interest money, intent on expanding government and raising taxes on middle class families?

  26. - cannon649 - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 10:30 pm:

    Yes - total discloser on what is received and what exactly spent on timely basis.
    Also we limit the time to accept funds and all anything unspent is retuned.

    No endless funds for the whims of the pols and their cronies

  27. - GOP Extremist - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 10:47 pm:

    Yes. Pretty sad when the poor little rich boy, Chris Kennedy can’t even compete with these new style oligarchs.

  28. - the Cardinal - Wednesday, Jan 17, 18 @ 11:06 pm:

    No the next thing you know there will be 6 or 7 candidates on the ballot in the Fall for every spot. waste of money. On the plus side we could get an ex stripper HS drop-out as our next whatever she won in Italy, which would make for great Cap Fax reports.

  29. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Jan 18, 18 @ 6:09 am:

    Yes. I don’t think elected positions should only go to billionaires who can self fund. Would it be expensive, yes but you get what you pay for.

  30. - Gruntled University Employee - Thursday, Jan 18, 18 @ 7:31 am:

    Yes, it I’d like to see campaign spending capped at a certain dollar amount. It’s crazy that we reward the candidates that can raise and spend the most money with the job and then expect them to be fiscally responsible once in office. Show me what you can do on a fixed budget first.

  31. - Anon - Thursday, Jan 18, 18 @ 7:34 am:

    How much of that money stayed in IL?

  32. - Jones - Thursday, Jan 18, 18 @ 7:49 am:

    No way. The government already takes too much of our money. Not willing to give them more.

  33. - What's in a name? - Thursday, Jan 18, 18 @ 8:13 am:

    I think the billionaire thing will run its course. You have to think Ruaner wishes he never ran at this point. History will almost certainly vilify him and by every reasonable measure his tenure has been a failure. I think Pritzger will be a better governor but that remains to be seen. At then end of the day being a candidate or governor is a fair amount of work and provides little glory. I think the money guys will eventually go back to supporting a political profession with whom they share an agenda.

  34. - PublicServant - Thursday, Jan 18, 18 @ 8:21 am:

    Yes. And we already have our fair share of fringe candidates without public campaign financing. Just because you’ve got money doesn’t mean you views, hidden, or otherwise aren’t fringe, as we can plainly see with Bruce. We also, see that with no-dough Ives.

    There’s a finite number of avenues which exist to get your message in front of the voters. If a rich guy’s money is allowed to drown out others message, isn’t that a violation of the other candidates free speech rights?

  35. - Nick Name - Thursday, Jan 18, 18 @ 8:53 am:

    Yes, public financing. That running for public office is increasingly a rich person’s club is contrary to the very idea of democracy.

  36. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Jan 18, 18 @ 9:09 am:

    Yes. Look what the alternative has brought us.

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