A reform group has an idea to make politicians less beholden to special interests. David Melton, head of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, says when politicians depend on special interest groups for their campaign cash, it should not be surprising that if those politicians are elected, they are responsive to those who paid for the campaign – a system he calls “inherently corrupting.”
He says public financing is worth a try. He says candidates would have to demonstrate that they have support from small donors; then they could get matching funds up to an amount that would allow them to get their message out. They do this for local races in New York City.
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“Each election, the Electoral Board there that’s strictly non-partisan sets what they see as an amount of money – an expenditure limit – that people participating in the system have to abide by. But they try and set that limit at a level that is enough to run a competitive campaign,” he said.
This way spending limits wouldn’t be imposed on candidates or anyone else – a dubious proposition with Citizens United on the books – instead they’re agreed to by the candidates who have demonstrated enough support to be given the resources to wage a realistic campaign.