Political Welfare: Why Taxpayer-Funded Campaigns Are Bad for Taxpayers and Democracy

In this article, Daren Bakst analyzes the constitutional, financial, and practical issues surrounding North Carolina’s Judicial Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which instituted taxpayer-financed judicial campaigns in the state. Although the article details the constitutional issues inherent in the program’s “rescue funds” provision, which is now unconstitutional as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, it also goes in depth to disprove the philosophical and practical arguments of the program’s proponents. Ultimately, Bakst argues that, for a variety of reasons, North Carolina’s taxpayer-funded judicial campaign program should be repealed. Even more significantly, this article is instructive in summarizing many of the problems with judicial tax-financing programs and with tax-financing programs in general.

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.