The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) released the following statement following the introduction of the Fair Elections Now Act:
“Proponents of this failed idea are using the same hyperbolic rhetoric about money in politics to further their agenda of reducing political speech in campaigns and insulating incumbents and the government from the public,” said CCP President Sean Parnell. “The scheme to divert taxpayer dollars into campaign coffers will do nothing to eliminate or even reduce the ability of so-called special interest groups to support favored candidates, and in fact leverages their support with public money. Whatever undue influence these interests allegedly have is enhanced, not limited, by this proposal.”
“More troubling, advocates of taxpayer funded political campaigns assume that limiting contributions from private citizens will lead Congress to make different and better public policy choices, presumably in the ‘public interest’ instead of favoring ‘special interests.’ Our public policies, however foolish or wise they may appear, are the natural result of the many often-conflicting interests, perspectives, and priorities of the American public being enacted by elected officials, not some mythical ‘corruption’ caused by citizen contributions to candidates that share their values.”
Public support for the presidential system has steadily plummeted, as the number of Americans designating their tax dollars to the program has gone from from 28.7 percent in 1980 to 8.3 percent in 2007.
Supporters of taxpayer-funded campaigns have claimed several benefits of the system, including: limiting corruption, improving government, reducing the influence of special interests, allowing more women and citizens from non-traditional backgrounds to get elected, and saving taxpayer dollars by eliminating wasteful spending. In Maine, Arizona and New Jersey, states which have experimented with ‘clean elections,’ there’s no evidence to support any of these claims. In fact, research by the Center for Competitive Politics has debunked each of these assertions.
Research shows that in clean elections states, (1) special interest groups leverage their organizational strength and membership to assist their favored candidates with qualifying contributions and volunteer muscle, [http://ifs.org/research/resID.111/research_detail.asp] (2) there is no evidence of taxpayer savings, [http://ifs.org/docLib/20080930_Issue_Analysis_4.pdf], (3) the number of female legislators has not increased [http://ifs.org/docLib/20080826_Issue_Analysis_3.pdf], and (4) there’s no tangible improvement in limiting corruption; in fact, states without taxpayer-funded campaigns or other stringent campaign finance limits are among the best-governed and least-corrupt states in America [http://ifs.org/blog/ID.840/blog_detail.asp].