Campaign Reform

Public financing is a voluntary system that gives a limited amount of public funding to candidates for office.

On June 19, 2008, Barack Obama said He Will Not Participate in the Public Financing System, The First to do so since Watergate:

“In a web video emailed to supporters, Obama asks his supporters to help him ‘declare our independence from a broken system.’ Of course, it’s not so much a broken system that explains why he’s passing on the FEC’s $80+million. He will easily raise more than he could ever get in public funding.” (Jonathan Martin, “Obama Opts Out Of Public Financing,” The Politico’s “Jonathan Martin” Blog, http://www.politico.com, 6/19/08)

Obama Says it’s Because He Does Not Want to Be Attacked by Conservative 527 Groups:

“We face opponents who’ve become masters at gaming this broken system. John McCain’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs. And we’ve already seen that he’s not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations.” (Obama)

But Liberal 527 Groups have Outspend Conservative 527 Groups 2-1.

However, Obama has said he supports the Public Financing System:

Obama: “Well, I strongly support public financing. And I know [Senator] Dick [Durbin] does too. He’s going to have some things to say about it because when we were having – as you’ll recall – the major debates around lobbying reform, one of the things that Dick, I think, properly pointed out was that you can change the rules on lobbying here in Washington, but if we’re still getting financed primarily from individual contributions, that those with the most money are still going to have the most influence.” (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At Constituents Breakfast, 6/29/06)

In April 2008, Obama Claimed He “Would Be Very Interested In Pursuing Public Financing…

Fox News’ Chris Wallace: “If you can get that agreement, you would go for a publicly financed campaign?” Obama: “What I don’t intend to do is to allow huge amounts of money to be spent by the RNC, the Republican National Committee, or by organizations like the Swift Boat organization, and just stand there without — (cross talk).” Wallace: “But if you get that agreement?” Obama: “I would be very interested in pursuing public financing, because I think not every candidate is going to be able to do what I’ve done in this campaign, and I think it’s important to think about future campaigns.” (Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday,” 4/27/08)

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