“The real problem in Washington today is there’s too much money in the political process. We need to go to public financing of elections.”
“At less than $1 billion per year for all congressional elections, a Fair Elections program could prove the best investment ever made with public money given the $87 billion in annual corporate welfare subsidies to major contributors.”- Christine Todd Whitman
ACR Founder and CEO Emphasizes Importance of Public Funding in Wide Ranging Speech
(Hanover, NH) Americans for Campaign Reform Founder and CEO John Rauh made a passionate argument for voluntary public funding of federal elections during a presentation hosted by the esteemed ILEAD program at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.
During his talk, Rauh acknowledged the importance of several political reforms. He explained why it is critical that we immediately fix the dysfunctional Federal Election Commission to enforce the campaign laws already enacted, and he voiced support for the Disclose Act 2012 that would make campaign spending far more transparent. He also embraced efforts underway to overturn the Citizens United decision, including a Constitutional Amendment.
But Rauh argued that, as important as they are, none of these reforms would have the positive impact of public funding of Congressional and Presidential elections.
Rauh believes that our current electoral system hinders our ability to solve the country’s most demanding challenges.
He reminded the audience that we elect only 536 of our citizens to run our country (House Members, Senators, and President) and it is critical that we elect our very best if we are to meet our most significant challenges. Rauh argued that our current system of financing elections drastically limits the pool of potential candidates to those who have access to huge sums of money and who are willing to engage in round-the-clock fundraising. Voluntary public funding would remove the money barrier and open up the system to many more of our finest leaders.
Rauh also made a strong case that the influence of special interests and a handful of extremely wealthy donors is at the core of a fundamental unfairness in America.
He expressed his strong belief that all Americans should share equally in the opportunity and hope this country offers and that this fundamental tenet of democracy is being threatened. Public funding, he said, is the only reform that can offset the massive campaign spending of the special interests and restore true representation in Washington for all Americans.
Rauh ended on a note of hope: every poll taken in the past few years has shown unequivocally that the majority of voters of both parties are anxious for reform and support voluntary public funding of federal elections. He reminded the audience that it is not the politicians who are in charge, it’s the voters. And he encouraged everyone to become engaged and work for meaningful reform.