Clean Elections

Accountability in Albany

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle isn't pleased that the high cost of campaigning and resultant concentration of power among the small percentage of the population who can make significant campaign contributions. The paper urges Eliot Spitzer to continue in his efforts at a more transparent government, and to support Clean Elections public financing for state races.

New Jersey Polling

Voters in New Jersey's three Clean Elections districts felt campaigns this year focused more on the issues, but the state has a long way to go to repair public trust in elected officials according to this new poll that takes the temperatures of New Jersey voters following the recent round of in-state elections.

Some key findings:

 

Council of Churches on Clean Elections

Reverend Dennis Sparks of the West Virginia Council of Churches wants Clean Elections in his state, and he's pushing hard for what he calls a "Freedom Bill" to make it happen. Read more about his interest and involvement in the West Virginia effort to win full public financing of elections.

Sparks and the Council have been involved in this issue for many years:

Video Climbing the Charts

Front page on the Huffington Post right now is this piece by Public Campaign's Nancy Watzman about the video question on Fair and Clean Elections which we posted to 10Questions and which is steadily climbing the list.

Clean Elections Candidates Win in New Jersey

Many Clean Elections candidates in New Jersey have a reason to celebrate today after yesterday's elections. In the three districts where candidates were eligible to participate in the state's Clean Elections pilot program, all of the winning candidates ran using the system.

Our Question

A new project called 10Questions is collecting videotaped questions for presidential candidates from people around the country. Visitors to the site give a "thumbs up" to the top ten questions and they will get passed on to the candidates.

How Much for a Name?

Christopher Moylan, a city councilman from Sunnyvale California writes this op-ed in the San Jose Mercury News encouraging a public financing option for municipal campaigns to encourage a more diverse field of candidates and surmount the cost barrier to running for office.

The West Virginia Effort

Carol Warren and the West Virginia Citizens for Clean Elections are lobbying their legislature to implement a Clean Elections program for state legislative races. This story in the Charleston Gazette describes their efforts, steady progress toward victory, and the particular program they have outlined.

Timing is Everything

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has called a special session of the Maryland legislature and in so doing has set off a debate about the propriety of legislators holding fundraisers which involve stakeholders in the legislation they're debating. Holding fundraisers during a special session is legal -- but is it ethical?

Fundraising is banned during normal sessions:

They Are Not Alone

Bret Matthew in his opinion column for the Brandeis Hoot, "The Book of Matthew" (ha) paints a bleak portrait of the modern campaign for public office, and touts Clean Elections as the answer to an electoral process plagued by the buying and selling of influence.

He imagines the evolution of a young candidate who, in order to play the game and win office must become indebted to corporate interests and other sources of big campaign checks: