Obama, McCain to Public: This Election is not About You, It’s About Us

In the quarrelling and accusations following Barack Obama’s decision to forego a spending earmark to run his presidential campaign – a correct decision apparently undertaken for all the wrong reasons – both major party candidates seem determined to make one thing clear – this election is not about you, your hopes, your ambitions, your desires for government policy.  No, this election is all about them.  Click the headline for more.

Filed Under: Blog

Grounding Obama

Watchdog groups are having very strong reactions to Obama’s decision not to run a taxpayer financed campaign.  Bob Edgar of Common Cause says Obama "gets a demerit."  Democracy 21 is "very disappointed", Public Citizen is "deeply disappointed", and according to John Claybrook, "Public Citizen can only hope that, despite Senator Obama’s decision, he will remain disgusted with private interests buying our White House."  

You would think that Sen. Obama was a teenager who skipped ball practice or broke curfew.

More after the jump.

Filed Under: Blog

Obama Foregoes Taxpayer Funding

On June 19, 2008, Barak Obama announced that he would turn down public campaign finance.  Below is a statement from CCP.

Download file Obama Foregoes Taxpayer Funding

Filed Under: External Relations Sub-Pages, Press Releases, Tax Financed Campaigns Press Release/In the News/Blog, Tax-Financing

Obama turns down public campaign financing

Barak Obama announced today that he will forgo public campaign financing.  It is the first time any presidential candidate has declined the option for the general election since the programs was instituted over 30 years ago. He should be applauded for recognizing the obvious; candidates unnecessarily restrict the amount of political speech they can engage in by accepting public funding.

More after the jump.

Filed Under: Blog

Ineffective and Expensive

We were recently sent the outstanding comments of Assemblyman Jay Webber of New Jersey, addressing the state’s proposal to expand their previous failed experiment with taxpayer funded political campaigns:

 Download file Assemblyman Webber’s Letter

As Assemblyman Webber succinctly states, "The role of government in our electoral process is to guarantee some level of transparency and honesty, not to pick winners. This bill turns that idea on its head by essentially empowering the government to tell us what we can say, when we can say it, and how much we can say it."

More after the jump.

Filed Under: Blog

The Lobbyist Hunt

A terrific article from Michael Barone appeared today, highlighting the ridiculous war on lobbyists.  It can be found here:


Instead of campaigning against each other, McCain and Obama are campaigning against lobbyists.  Both candidates have shunned them from their campaigns, but as Barone points out, lobbyists are practicing rights guaranteed to them by the first amendment.  Sure, they may be getting paid to do so, but as Hillary Clinton put it, they "represent real Americans. They actually do. They represent nurses. They represent, you know, social workers."  Without lobbyists, the voices of American’s interests wouldn’t be nearly as effective.  They represent groups and corporations that employ many people and speak for many interests.  It is the people’s ability to make themselves heard, which lobbyists practice everyday, that makes the United States the successful country that it is.

Filed Under: Blog

Presidential Public Financing – Little Support?

With the primaries out of the way and presidential candidates chosen, the clamor from some editorial boards and talking heads has grown increasingly loud for both candidates to choose government-financing for the general election. But the public may not share that sentiment.

A survey conducted by Rasmussen in February of this year found that only 30% of those surveyed supported government-financed presidential elections, whereas 47% were opposed to it, and 23% were unsure.  A later survey conducted in April found only 31% in favor of government funded presidential elections, while a whopping 52% were opposed and 17% unsure.  It’s clear that the public generally opposes goverment financing – so why do the editorial boards and others continue to push for it?

Newsday says, "[n]othing is more grassroots than the voluntary $3 contributions from annual tax returns that fund the public-finance system."  Apparently many Americans disagree.  According to the FEC, the amount of money received through the $3 Income Tax Check off has declined steadily from 18 years, from $67,860,127.00 in 1995 to $51,013,897.59 in 2007, a decrease of approximately 25%.

Contrary to Newsday’s opinion, there is nothing more grassroots than a privately funded presidential election.  A helpful barometer for measuring the support of a presidential candidate is the amount of money he or she can raise.  Most Americans want to put their money where their mouth is, and donate to causes they believe in – not check a box on their tax return.

Filed Under: Blog

CCP testifying on taxpayer-financed political campaigns in New Jersey

Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) president Sean Parnell will testify to the New Jersey General Assembly’s State Government Committee this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. concerning "The 2009 New Jersey Fair and Clean Elections Pilot Project Act," set to be introduced today.

Parnell’s testimony will educate the committee on the results of New Jersey’s most recent attempt at taxpayer-financed political campaigns as well as the impact that taxpayer-financed campaigns have had in other states.

Find excerpts of Parnell’s prepared remarks after the jump.

Filed Under: Blog

Protecting online speech

Despite the growing role of the internet as a vehicle for political speech and participation, it enjoys little of the statutory protections that safeguard more traditional forms of public communication.

After the jump is a short history of efforts to regulate and protect online political speech – and why it is important that online speech be safeguarded.

Filed Under: Blog

Regulatory and legislative history of online political speech

A brief history of efforts to regulate and protect online political speech – and why it is important that online speech be safeguarded.

Filed Under: Internet Regulation, Research, Internet Regulation, Internet Regulation

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