Presidential public financing

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Some Context

If all of Sen. John McCain's maneuvering on the presidential public financing program (opting in for the primary, opting out again) has you confused, or curious about what the structure of the system actually is then CQ Politics has a useful primer on the subject, as well as some background on the challenges for the Federal Election Commission in issuing a binding ruling on McCain's activities.

Shape Up

I get the sense that somebody had fun writing this New York Times editorial chiding presidential candidates John McCain, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton -- along with the extravagantly expensive campaign process -- for not doing more to preserve the presidential public financing system and get a tighter reign on out of control raising and spending.

It's pretty clear where they stand on the first presidential race expected to cost in excess of $1 billion:

The Accusations Fly

Fingers pointing everywhere and not a dollar spent! The debate over whether John McCain and Barack Obama would opt in to the presidential public financing system for the general election rages on. Did Obama just break his pledge? Did McCain break the rules? Keep reading for a roundup of interesting perspectives.

Opt In, Opt Out

Will 2008 be the first presidential election since 1976 when neither major party presidential candidate opts into the partial public financing system? Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama have both said they would opt in if their opponent does the same, but with at least the Democratic nomination still up in the air the two are playing chicken over who will announce their intention to opt in (or out) first.

McCain Changes His Mind

John McCain, flush with the fundraising prospects bestowed upon the Republican frontrunner for the presidential nomination, is opting back out of the presidential public financing system, after months of doing one-foot-in-one-foot out with the matching funds program, as Adam Bonin explains.

Super Spendy Tuesday

It's Super Tuesday! Voters in 24 states head to the polls to pick the Republican and Democratic nominees for President but the don't let all this talk of voting distract from what really matters: how much money are these people raising, anyway?

Gap to be Filled

Jay Mandle of Democracy Matters uses the most recent installment of his "Money on my Mind" column to address deficiencies -- namely a lack of funding -- in the current presidential public financing system, and the corresponding rise in private money domination.

Money Ain't Everything

Hey, so you know what makes a good campaign? In the eyes of Sean Parnell of the Center for Competitive Politics (affiliated with the Center for Title Redundancy) it's money, money, money! At least, so his editorial in The Hill today would indicate. He does a jig on the grave of presidential public financing and cheers a future where money dominates politics.

Going Public

Curious about what John Edwards' decision to opt in to the presidential public financing program means in terms of his fundraising requirements, spending limits he must abide with, and potential concerns should he win the party nomination? Lawyer Adam Bonin sums it up at the Daily Kos -- very helpful for giving some context to concerns all candidates face with the current public financing set-up.

In It For the Long Haul

If you've been active in the movement to change how our elections are financed for awhile you've no doubt heard the name Fred Wertheimer. Wertheimer, who helped craft the post-Watergate reforms and from his time at the helm of Common Cause to his recent efforts as founder of Democracy 21 has remained keenly focused on campaign finance issues, is profiled in today's Washington Post by Jeffrey Birnbaum.