Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Let's let voters decide whether public funds should bankroll political campaigns

The case against matching funds under the state’s publicly funded elections scheme received a hearing in the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday. The justices asked poignant questions that demonstrated that matching funds actually suppresses free political speech rather than amplify it.

On a state level, SCR 1025 continues to make its way through the legislative process, and I’m hopeful voters in 2012 will get the opportunity to pull the plug on publicly funded elections altogether.

But there’s an argument floating around making the claim that backers of the SCR are somehow not shooting straight with voters by not explicitly using the term “clean elections” in the proposed ballot language.

Please. If there was ever an electoral misdirection play, it was by using the moniker “clean elections” in the first place when the scheme came to Arizona in 1998.

If the advocates of the status quo were so concerned about calling the election scheme for what it is, they could have come up with host of other names for it when the scheme was designed over a decade ago. Besides accurately calling the system Publicly Funded Elections, they could have also used:
  • Less-than-free speech campaigns
  • Fund-your-opponent elections
  • Use public dollars to buy a margarita machine elections
  • Game the system by running traditional to trigger matching funds for your friends elections
Let’s pass the SCR and let the voters decide whether they want public dollars to continue to be used for junk mail and yard signs.

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