News Release

Campaign Finance: Reform or Scam?


Executive director of the Fannie Lou Hamer Project, Wilson said today: “We were supporters of McCain-Feingold until the limit for individual contributions was raised from $1,000 to $2,000…. This is now actually deform, not reform…. Less than 1 percent of the population contributes 80 percent of the money that funds political campaigns. This group of contributors is overwhelmingly dominated by white men with household incomes of more than $100,000…. The disparities in contributions stem from racial disparities in wealth. Currently, the net worth for white households is eight times greater than that of African-American households and 12 times greater than Latino households…. Just like the poll tax, the current campaign finance system excludes those without resources from an important part of the political process…. We believe that the future of the movement requires that it embrace the inclusive democratic values put forth by legendary voting rights advocate Fannie Lou Hamer, and that it push for full public financing of campaigns. The next step for comprehensive campaign finance reform is to create a voluntary system of full public financing. Full public financing of campaigns would offer the opportunity of equal political participation to the overwhelming majority of Americans who are not a part of the less than 7 percent of the population that now funds federal elections.”
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Director of Mass Voters for Clean Elections, Donnelly said today: “In 1998, voters in Massachusetts passed one of the most sweeping campaign finance reform measures in the country. The Massachusetts Legislature has refused to implement it, even though the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found the Legislature in violation of the state constitution three times this year: on Jan. 25, Feb. 25 and March 12…. Republican Gov. Jane Swift has shown unparalleled leadership on the voter-approved Clean Elections Law. She has made it impossible for legislative opponents of campaign finance reform to successfully advance a repeal or damaging changes to what the people passed in 1998 by a two-to-one margin. By threatening to veto anything that contradicts what voters passed, she continues to hold the Legislature accountable and preserved Clean Elections.” The Massachusetts Clean Elections Law allows candidates who agree to fixed spending limits and $100 contribution limits to receive a set amount of public money for the primary and general elections.
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Director of the Center for Voting and Democracy, Richie commented: “The thirst for a better democracy will continue. In cities and states around the nation, democracy advocates are involved in new efforts to improve our politics. San Francisco just voted on March 5 to adopt instant runoff voting for its major elections — thus boosting turnout and voter choice and decreasing candidates’ reliance on special interest contributions. More than a dozen states have been debating instant runoff voting in their legislatures.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167