On November 5, 1996, voters passed the Maine Clean Election Act by ballot initiative. That was the first piece of state or federal legislation to offer taxpayer financing to state-level candidates who voluntarily accept spending limits and refuse private contributions. The legislation applied to state senate and house candidates beginning with the 2000 primary and […]
Does Cleanliness Lead to Competitiveness? The Failure of Maine’s Experiment with Taxpayer Financing of Campaigns
Filed Under: Research, Tax Financed Campaigns Research, Tax-Financing, Taxpayer Financed Campaigns, Cato Institute, Maine Clean Election Act, Martin Zelder, Patrick Basham, Taxpayer Financed Campaigns, Maine
In this article, David Primo reviews the public opinion data and shows that the public has favored campaign finance reform, but it has been inconsistent in its preferences and has assigned it a low priority. He also shows that trust in government is not linked to campaign spending. This absence of connection contradicts arguments that Americans will trust government more if the amount spent on campaigns drops following reform.