If you're looking for a little good news from the Nov. 2 election, check out the "Clean Money" campaigns in Arizona, Maine and North Carolina. Instead of surrendering their state governments to the big money interests that control Washington, D.C., and most other state capitals, people in these three states have authorized full public financing for candidates who agree to run "clean" -- which means that these candidates accept none of the corrupting contributions that special interests (primarily corporations) routinely dole out to Democrats, Republicans and anyone else willing to be bought. By providing a pool of public funds for public elections, we can get public officials who are no longer financially beholden to corporate, union or other private funders -- you know, the ones who always have a private agenda attached to their checks.
In Maine, this clean-election option has been available for three election cycles, and the results are astonishing: 77 percent of Maine's state house members and 83 percent of its state senators have now been elected without taking a dime in corporate money! It changes the whole political dynamic, for legislators are free to cast their votes without first checking with their big campaign contributors.
Likewise in Arizona, 23 percent of state senators and 58 percent of house members are now free of any dependence on private campaign donors -- as are 10 of Arizona's statewide elected officials, including the governor, attorney general and all four of this year's winning candidates for the state corporation commission. Also, North Carolina provided the clean-election option this year to candidates for its top judicial seats -- and the clean candidates won both races for the supreme court and two of the three seats on the court of appeals.
Full public financing is real reform. To bring it to your state, county, city, school district or whatever, call Public Campaign: (202) 293-0222.
Publication date: 11/25/04