July 9, 2010; Source: Wall Street Journal | It is no surprise to us to find corporate executives calling for public financing of political campaigns. For a long time, CEOs have groused, largely among themselves, that they were being constantly shaken down for campaign contributions from both parties, and they didn’t like it. Periodically, someone would leak the complaint publicly, but it got little traction.
Now, a group called the Campaign for Fair Elections, comprised of former corporate executives (obviously former so that their former companies wouldn’t get slapped by unhappy legislators) and wealthy donors have put up $5 million to lobby for a bill creating public funding for congressional campaigns. The bill has the backing of 157 House members, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says the legislation “would waste taxpayer money.”
A Republican former member of the Federal Election Commission opposes the bill on the grounds of governmental meddling in politics: “The government should stay out of the business of funding campaigns that can determine who runs the government.” Imagine how much saner—and less expensive and less vote-buying there would be—if political campaigns were publicly financed. Imagine how much money that might free up from corporations and wealthy individuals for things like, say, charitable contributions.—Rick Cohen