Commitment To Fixing System Is Real Reform Litmus Test

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Washington, DC - Public Campaign Action Fund, a national campaign finance reform group, issued the following statement from its executive director, Nick Nyhart, and its Campaign Money Watch director, David Donnelly, in response to Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) decision that he will opt out of the public financing system for the general election:

"We have long maintained that presidential candidates would make a decision to opt in or out of the presidential system not on what they thought about public financing but what put them in a position to win in November. That's why we find Sen. Obama's decision to forego public financing for the general election regrettable but understandable in light of the tens of millions of dollars that will be raised and spent outside the system attacking him. We agree with Sen. Obama that the system is broken and badly needs an overhaul.

"We have also long argued that the most important test of a candidate's commitment to reform is what he or she would do if elected to fix this broken system. With his decision, Sen. Obama now has a special obligation to make passage of comprehensive public financing of all federal elections a priority if elected. His decision today is not one that furthers reform in the short run, but his actions as president, should he win, could end the cash-and-carry system of paying for campaigns. His long-standing support for public financing and his ground-breaking small donor fundraising indicates that he is up to this challenge, but we urge him and his campaign to be clear about that commitment today and in the coming weeks and months. We have every intention to hold him accountable."

Public Campaign Action Fund is a national nonprofit organization that advances comprehensive public financing of elections. Its Campaign Money Watch project works to hold politicians accountable for opposing comprehensive reform and for where they get their political donations.

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