Are Tax-Financed Campaigns Worth the Price?

A recently published study examines taxpayer-financed campaign systems in different locales; specifically, programs that provide matching public funds to municipal candidates in New York City and Los Angeles. The study’s authors are Michael J. Malbin of the Campaign Finance Institute and University at Albany, SUNY, and Michael Parrott of Columbia University. Although the authors acknowledge […]

Filed Under: Blog, Tax Financed Campaigns Press Release/In the News/Blog, Tax Financed Campaigns Research, Tax-Financing, Los Angeles, Michael J. Malbin, Michael Parrott, New York City, Small Donors, California, New York

Giving Taxpayer Dollars to Local D.C. Politicians is a Bad Idea

Last week, D.C. Councilmember and Chair Pro Tempore Kenyan McDuffie took to the pages of The Washington Post to advocate for taxpayer funding for local political campaigns. Under this system, candidates for Council (and a handful of additional races) who agree to only accept small-dollar contributions and completely forgo donations from PACs would receive $5 […]

Filed Under: Blog, Tax Financed Campaigns Press Release/In the News/Blog, Tax Financed Campaigns State, Tax-Financing, corruption, Kenyan McDuffie, Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, Washington DC, Arizona, California, Maine, New York, Washington

Did Dean Heller Really “Change” His Vote on Health Care Because of Donor Pressure?

When it comes to the complexity of American politics, the multi-month effort by congressional Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA and, of course, Obamacare) has been instructive. Party leaders, advocacy groups, health industry stakeholders, government agencies, and the media all weighed in during the divisive process. This […]

Filed Under: Blog, Issues, Money in Politics, ACA, Affordable Care Act, Dean Heller, Donors, Obamacare

Surprise, Surprise: Politicians Are Happy to Benefit from Taxpayer Money

Seattle’s new “democracy vouchers” program is the latest effort by supporters of greater campaign finance regulation to give government a bigger role in political campaigns. The system funnels taxpayer money to politicians via four $25 vouchers for each registered voter, and is intended to reduce candidates’ need to fundraise via voluntary contributions. Some Seattle property […]

Filed Under: Blog, Money in Politics, Tax Financed Campaigns Press Release/In the News/Blog, Tax Financed Campaigns State, Tax-Financing, Democracy Vouchers, Jon Grant, Pacific Legal Foundation, Seattle, Washington

The “NO PAC Caucus” is Another Misguided – and Revealing – Campaign to Squash Free Speech

These days, supporters of increased political speech regulation often fixate on topics like super PACs and so-called “dark money” when fear-mongering about the current state of campaign finance regulation in the United States. But occasionally they reveal their discomfort with basically any form of political speech that allows individuals to pool their resources and jointly […]

Filed Under: Blog, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Federal, Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, Issues, Money in Politics, No PAC Act, NO PAC Caucus, PACs, Ro Khanna

The Tone-Deaf Response to the “Democracy Vouchers” Lawsuit

This week, the Pacific Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit against the city of Seattle over its new “Democracy Vouchers” program. The system is a form of taxpayer financing for political campaigns that imposes $3 million a year in new property taxes in order to give each voter four $25 “vouchers” that they can then donate […]

Filed Under: Blog, Tax Financed Campaigns Press Release/In the News/Blog, Tax Financed Campaigns State, Tax-Financing, Campaign Legal Center, Democracy Vouchers, Every Voice, Pacific Legal Foundation, Seattle, Washington

Daily Caller: What’s The Matter With Election Spending? (In the News)

By Joe Albanese
American politics is corrupt. Big donors buy elections. Voters have no say in their government. These clichés are completely untrue. Sadly, many Americans take them for granted regardless. A major culprit is the countless stories during every election cycle suggesting there is too much money in politics – whether it’s overall political spending, out-of-state donations, or “outside” spending. Ironically, the media outlets that obsess the most over these contests are the first to object when Americans participate in them…
The negative portrayal of political spending, out-of-state donors, and “outside” groups in the media tends to convince readers that “money in politics” is a problem rather than an essential feature of our democracy. Money is essential to communicating with voters, and that’s where much of it goes. High levels of political spending, like high levels of readership for political stories, reflect broad interest in an election. Restricting one is not much different than restricting the other.
Voters may groan as they read about higher levels of political spending. But it sure beats the alternative: restricting the political speech and participation of Americans in the elections of their representatives. 

Filed Under: In the News, Joe Trotter, Published Articles

The Washington Post Holds Series of Panels on the First Amendment

On Tuesday, The Washington Post hosted a series of First Amendment panels at its offices in an event called “Free to State: A New Era for the First Amendment.” The panels touched on several different topics related to free speech and freedom of religion and were moderated by Post writers. The Post’s Publisher and Chief […]

Filed Under: Blog, ACLU, Ann Coulter, Campus Speech, Christina Paxson, Digital Speech, Floyd Abrams, free speech, Nadine Strossen, Offensive Speech, Religious Liberty, Robert Zimmer, The Washington Post

Washington Times: Paying politicians to run for office (In the News)

By Joe Albanese 
A new report by the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) asks a key question: would tax-funded campaigns help challengers beat incumbents more often? The study examines state legislators running for re-election in two groups of states. One group consists of the five states with some form of tax-financed campaigns (Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, and Minnesota). The other group is the remaining 45 states.
CCP’s report shows incumbents win at sky-high rates no matter what state group they’re in. From the 2010 to 2016 election cycles, 89 percent of incumbents won in tax-financing states, and 91 percent won in the others. The gap between these states is statistically insignificant – there is basically no difference between them. This is like when a poll says candidate A will beat candidate B, but the survey is within the margin of error; meaning B could be tied with or even beating A. The situation is the same here. We cannot tell the difference between re-election rates in tax-financing states and other states…
Our new report shows that Americans should be skeptical of public financing and its claimed benefits. Any “reform” that subsidizes politicians should be seen for what it is: a program that spends your tax dollars on politics. 

Filed Under: In the News, Joe Albanese, Published Articles

No, Taxpayer Financing of Campaigns Won’t Stop Out-of-State Political Spending

The special election for the U.S. House seat for Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District is attracting a great deal of attention from the media. The fact that the race features a relatively large amount of political spending coming from outside the state has been a particularly salient flash point in news articles. Over the weekend, Public […]

Filed Under: Blog, Issues, Money in Politics, Tax Financed Campaigns Press Release/In the News/Blog, Tax-Financing, Jon Ossoff, Out-of-State Spending, PolitiFact, public citizen, public financing, Georgia