Comprehensive Campaign Finance Reform Enters Debate
Sen. Wellstone’s Legislation Offers Alternative to Current System Through Public Financing
Washington, DC -Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) today offered another vision of campaign finance reform by introducing “Clean Money/Clean Elections” legislation. To date, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) have co-sponsored the bill. The bill is based on a model proposal advocated by the non-partisan group, Public Campaign. Similar laws, dubbed “Clean Money” or “Clean Elections” laws, have proven successful at the state level in Arizona and Maine. Sen. Wellstone’s bill would, for the first time, provide for voluntary full public financing of Congressional races.
“Passing legislation to provide public funding for political candidates will go along way in restoring faith in our political process,” said Nick Nyhart, executive director of Public Campaign. “Arizona, Maine and Vermont have already implemented publicly financed systems and all three states saw increased competition and political participation in their last election cycle.”
“Effective reform addresses not only the unlimited, unregulated amounts of soft money but hard money contributions as well,” said Nyhart “The McCain-Feingold bill addresses part of the problem by eliminating party soft money contributions. It is now time for the Senate to shift focus and provide politicians an alternative to scrambling for hard money contributions.”
Clean Money/Clean Elections is a comprehensive system that addresses both hard and soft money contributions, by providing public funds and eliminating the need for candidates to depend on special interest contributions.
Rep. John Tierney (D-MA) also plans to reintroduce his proposed Clean Elections legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. He sponsored similar legislation in the last two sessions of Congress.