Sarah Lee, Communications Director,
Center for Competitive Politics
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Center for Competitive Politics has recently released a new research report titled, “Clean Elections and Scandal: Case Studies from Maine, Arizona and New York City.” The report, which details the potential for scandal inherent the matching funds programs included in many states “Clean Elections” legislation, was compiled and produced by Jason Farrell of CCP’s Research Department.
The report uses data collected from a number of news reports and official sources that detailed problems with Clean Election systems in the state campaign finance systems in Maine, Arizona, and New York City. In light of the June 27, 2011 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Arizona Free Enterprise Club v. Bennett that stated the use of “matching funds,” whereby a privately-financed candidate for political office would be forced to trigger state-granted matching funds for any publicly-funded opponent if he or she spent above a certain threshold, were an unconstitutional demand on a candidate whose speech would be chilled by the mandate, the goal was to show how these programs not only fail to deter corruption, they can often exacerbate it, and public funds granted to candidates are often wasted in ways that are both difficult to prove and difficult to track.