A post by Pat
The same day the DISCLOSE Act failed, the Fair Elections Now Act, H.R. 6116, was passed out of committee. (5-2 no Republican support.) This bill is about public campaign funding. Candidates who opt for public funding would receive 4:1 matching funds for campaign contributions of $100 or less. They will also receive a 20% discount off the lowest broadcast rates. Their PAC money would be limited to $100 per individual per year. The candidate would have to raise $50,000 from within his own community to qualify. Matching funds are for in-state contributions only. The goal is to set up an alternative system of financing Congressional campaigns. Fair Elections funding would be available for primary and run-off elections as well as general elections. The law would take effect in January, 2011.
The push for more government control of election spending never stops. The advocates of public funding say this will benefit democracy. Private money is or appears to be corrupting they claim. While the public views politicians as corrupt or corruptible, they don’t support public funding. Participation in the tax checkoff option has declined from a high of 28.7% for 1980 returns, to 8.3% for 2007 returns.
Private funding from interests groups is supposedly undermining the public confidence in their elected officials. Advocates say Fair Elections funds would come from the sale of unused broadcast spectrum, money already coming into the Treasury, so there would be no addition to the deficit. The failed logic here is that the Treasury has in fact spent this money and trillions more many times over. It’s this kind of thinking that undermines the public’s confidence more than anything.
“Over the last two decades, spectrum auctions have raised billions of dollars for the American people,” Barton wrote to Waxman. “They have been a source of substantial deficit reduction and have helped fund important telecommunications initiatives for the good of all Americans. HR 6116 would now use those auction funds to bail out failing congressional candidates.”
I am concerned about big money from special interest groups going to politicians. If public funding wins out, government will be the only special interest group allowed to spend in elections. Your money will go to candidates who represent the antithesis of what you believe and value.
It’s the same old eternal night of the living dead in Washington. As long as there is paper, they will write and re-write legislation the public does not want. If they can’t strong arm it through, they’ll sneak it through.