Clean Elections Initiative Qualifies for Ballot in California
Washington, DC-Today an initiative to establish full public financing for statewide elections qualified for the November 2006 California ballot. A pledge drive led by the California Nurses Association collected signatures from some 620,000 Californians.
"This November, voters in the same state that brought us former Gov. Gray Davis and former Rep. Randy ‘Duke' Cunningham, poster boys for pay-to-play politics, will have the chance to make elections about voters, not lobbyists and campaign donors," said Nick Nyhart, executive director for Public Campaign.
"By voting ‘yes' for Clean Elections, Californians would join millions of Americans who already live in states with established Clean Elections systems. Clean Elections puts voters first by leveling the playing field and allowing qualified people a chance to run for office without relying on money from powerful interests and lobbyists" said Nyhart.
Public financing of elections, or "Clean Elections," is a practical, proven reform that is already law in seven states and two municipalities: Arizona; Connecticut; Maine; New Jersey; North Carolina; New Mexico; Vermont; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Portland, Oregon. In Arizona; Maine; and Albuquerque, New Mexico, voters approved these laws by ballot initiative.
Under the California initiative, candidates who collect a set number of small-$5-contributions and agree not to take more private money, qualify for a grant of public money to run their campaigns. The initiative also sets tougher limits for contributions from corporations, unions, and private individuals, as well as closing some campaign finance loopholes and reducing the influence of professional lobbyists. The initiative has the endorsement of the California Clean Money Campaign and the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.
Earlier this year, the California Assembly approved Clean Elections legislation.
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Public Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to sweeping reform that aims to dramatically reduce the role of big special interest money in American politics. For more information, go to www.publicampaign.org.