Where's McCain?

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Yesterday's Boston Globe had this piece studying Sen. John McCain's (R) apparent retreat from support of public financing of campaigns, particularly as he has pursued the presidential nomination. We've written a letter to Sen. McCain asking that he renew his support of public financing -- you can read and sign that letter here.

The article quotes many within the campaign finance reform community, including our own Nick Nyhart and David Donnelly.


But campaign finance reform advocates say they are distressed at what they see as McCain's abandonment of the issue at a time when supporters of reform most need bipartisan backing of efforts to control the influence of money in campaigns.

"Clearly, McCain has worked hard for a number of reforms, most notably BCRA" - the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act that bans big-money donations by labor unions, corporations, and wealthy individuals, said Arn Pearson, vice president for programs at Common Cause, an advocacy group. But "since he's decided to be a presidential candidate, he has backed off on taking public positions on those issues," imperiling reform efforts on Capitol Hill, Pearson said.

David Donnelly, national campaigns director for the Public Campaign Action Fund, added, "It's a legitimate question to ask the reformer, John McCain, why hasn't he made public financing the policy he will pursue if he becomes president?"

McCain was a big backer of the Clean Elections public financing program in his home state of Arizona and the organization he founded, The Reform Institute, has assisted other states in pursuing Clean Elections systems of their own. But he's not in favor of a similar program for congressional races, and has yet to endorse a program to fix or update the current presidential public financing system.