Nonprofit Newswire | The Death of Public Campaign Financing

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Winter 2010; Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy | In the wake of the Citizens United opinion offered up by the Supreme Court that unleashes lots of pent up corporate and special interest money into electioneering activities (overturning part of the McCain-Feingold law), we note this lengthy piece by a Marquette law school professor reading last rites to the idea of public campaign financing. The author’s perspective is clear when he concludes that “It is not the role of the state to level the political playing field” through public financing of campaigns. But leaving the scrum for political office dependent not on the state, but on private capital controlled largely by people and corporations of a very different sort than the American voting public is hardly the right way to go. Nonprofits can sit on the sidelines to watch the millions or billions of dollars devoted to clearly unedifying campaign election advertising or get involved and rectify this situation. For some of us, we still think that without public financing, there will be no remedy to the problem.—Rick Cohen