Tax Financed Campaigns Press Release/In the News/Blog

CCP files brief challenging ‘matching funds’ provisions in Arizona

The Center for Competitive Politics today filed a friend-of-the-court brief that challenges the constitutionality of the “matching funds” provisions in Arizona’s taxpayer financed campaigns. The brief was filed in McComish v. Bennett, a case pending in the federal district court in Phoenix.

“It’s long past time to end this unconstitutional program allowing the government to punish candidates who decide not to rely on taxpayer money to run their campaigns,” said Reid Cox, the legal director of the Center for Competitive Politics and counsel of record for the brief.

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

CCP sends letter to New York lawmakers on bill to implement taxpayer financed campaigns

The Center for Competitive Politics sent a letter today to leaders in the New York legislature listing constitutional problems with a state senate bill that would implement taxpayer financed campaigns in the Empire State. The bill, S. 5814, is sponsored by Sen. Malcolm Smith.

“Campaigns financed by taxpayer dollars stifle free speech and effectively limit citizens’ voices from political debate while doing nothing to address the problems of real or perceived corruption and supposed undue influence by organized interest groups,” said Center for Competitive Politics President Sean Parnell. “The New York Senate should not force citizens to support candidates with whom they disagree.”

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

CCP statement on introduction of the ‘bailout for politicians’ bill

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.

(click here to read more)

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

‘Clean elections’ bill dies in Maryland

The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) released the following statement after the Maryland State Senate rejected a plan to implement taxpayer-funded elections today:

"The end of this bill is a victory for a free and vibrant democracy without government controlling playing field," said CCP President Sean Parnell. "The bipartisan defeat of the bill shows that most Maryland legislators are skeptical of the grandiose and discredited claims of supporters of taxpayer-funded campaigns, and wisely rejected this scheme to divert scarce public dollars to subsidize politicians."

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, a previous opponent of the plan, reversed himself and indicated the plan would pass with an overwhelming majority in early March.

After intense debate and several changes, the measure was sent back to the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs committee on a decisive 27-20 vote. The bill failed by only a single vote in 2007, indicating a significant drop in support even with Miller’s backing.

CCP Director of Government and Coalition Relations Kristin Meade submitted testimony to a Maryland Senate committee earlier this month. Meade pointed out the flaws of taxpayer funded campaigns in states that have adopted the programs, such as Arizona and Maine, and explained how grand promises of ending corruption have not been proven correct in these states.

On the federal level, such a system has a low and declining level of public support, with only 12 percent of taxpayers deciding to participate.

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

‘Clean elections’ bill introduced in Maryland

Maryland Senate President Thomas Miller introduced a bill today to create a pilot program for publicly financed campaigns.

"This proposal to allow candidates to raid the public treasury in the name of cleaning up the political process is deeply flawed and will not change the way the legislature does business in Maryland," said Center for Competitive Politics President Sean Parnell. "The use of a check-off funding mechanism doesn’t change the fact that taxpayer dollars will be used to fund campaign ads and political consultants."

The bill funds the pilot program by placing a voluntary check-off of $5 on income tax forms. It would allow about 25 percent of candidates seeking legislative seats to participate in the 2014 election cycle, according to press reports. The federal government has a similar check-off system for the failed system of publicly-financed presidential campaigns. The system has continually declined in popularity, with 28.7 percent of taxpayers contributing in 1980 and just 11.3 percent in 2002.

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

CCP releases study on interest groups and ‘clean elections’

The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) released a study today analyzing donors to so-called "clean elections" candidates in New Jersey. The study found that donors to candidates funded by taxpayers have strong ties to interest groups, undermining promises by proponents that taxpayer-funded campaigns will eliminate the influence of such groups.

The study has wide implications for states which have already implemented such programs and provides a clear warning to states considering such schemes that the promises of proponents often fail to materialize.

"’Clean Elections’ are sold as a way to rid politics of ‘special interests’  that allegedly use contributions to gain undue influence with elected officials," said CCP President Sean Parnell. "Even based on this misguided premise, there is little reason to believe that a candidate would feel any less appreciation for an interest group whose membership provided substantial support towards their efforts to raise the required number of qualifying contributions than they would if the group simply contributed directly to their campaign."

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

Van Hollen intervenes in support of failed campaign finance restriction

Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland has filed papers to join the legal battle over the ‘soft money’ ban in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), raising the stakes in an effort by congressional supporters to defend their failed law restricting political speech.

"The federal government doesn’t have the power to regulate the financing of state and local elections," said Center for Competitive Politics Chairman Bradley A. Smith, a former FEC Chairman. "It shouldn’t be able to tell the national political parties they can raise only limited funds for state and local purposes. The court will have the opportunity to examine the flawed decision that national party spending on non-federal campaigns can be restricted to remedy a vague and unjustified corruption concern connected to federal politicians."

Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Federal, Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, Contribution Limits State, Disclosure, Disclosure Federal, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, Disclosure State, External Relations Sub-Pages, Federal, Federal Press Releases and Blogs, Press Releases, State, State Press Releases and Blogs, Tax Financed Campaigns Federal, Tax Financed Campaigns Press Release/In the News/Blog, Tax Financed Campaigns State, Tax-Financing

Flawed taxpayer-funded judicial campaigns bill introduced in Washington state

Members of the Washington state House of Representatives introduced a bill providing for taxpayer funding of supreme court campaigns today. The bill would do nothing to end any real or perceived corruption in the election of judges, would stifle campaign speech by candidates and citizens, and includes a so-called ‘rescue provision’ that is almost certain to be struck down in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling.

"This proposal to allow candidates to raid the public treasury in the name of cleaning up the political process is deeply flawed," said Center for Competitive Politics President Sean Parnell. "These programs have failed wherever they have been tried, and the "rescue" provision that gives extra funds to candidates who are outspent or criticized by independent citizen groups is designed to limit the speech of those who chose not to or are not allowed to use taxpayer dollars to fund their political speech."

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

First Amendment group criticizes ‘pay-to-play’ decision

Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) President Sean Parnell criticized the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut decision on a challenge to so-called "pay-to-play" legislation in Connecticut.

"The U.S. District Court today unfortunately found that some are, in fact, less equal than others when it comes to enjoying the full protections of the First Amendment," Parnell said. "In limiting the free speech rights of those who make a living representing the interests of the Nutmeg State’s citizens before their government as well as those who agree to provide services or goods to the government, the court has turned on its head the idea that every American citizen has equal rights under the law."

To read the full release click here.

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

First Amendment advocacy group submits testimony on Citizens Election Program

The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) submitted a statement to the Connecticut State Election Enforcement Commission in advance of Friday’s hearing on the state’s program of taxpayer-funded political campaigns, officially known as the Citizens Election Program. The testimony by CCP President Sean Parnell features research and analysis weighing the impact of Connecticut’s experience in the 2008 election cycle, the first in which it was implemented.

To read the entire release click the headline above

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

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