Public campaign financing deserves a vote
Sen. Jim Seward has called public financing of campaigns “Dead on arrival in the Senate.” This is not true. It isn’t dead, it is still knocking on the Senate door. The Republican caucus won’t let it in.
Mr. Seward and other members of the GOP caucus are afraid of public financing. They like how hard it is for challengers to raise money to run against them. They are afraid of challengers with enough money to get their message to the people.
Public financing is not a gift. Candidates still need to show that they have genuine support across their district. They must raise a large amount of money, from real people making small donations. Only then can a candidate qualify for matching funds.
Opponents say that the public should foot the bill for politician’s campaigns, but the truth is, we are already paying for not doing so. Politicians, particularly career politicians like Mr. Seward, know who their contributors are, and know how to give them special attention, and special favors. Seventy-five percent of Mr. Seward’s donations in the last election came from corporations, especially those in the insurance industry. Mr. Seward is chair of the Senate’s Insurance Committee. Coincidence? Not likely.
We can create a system that allows regular people, people like you and me, to run a credible campaign against corporate and other special-interest money, indeed we must. Opposition to public campaign financing from incumbents is not a principled stand, it is just a bunch of politicians trying to protect their own jobs. Let your representatives know that public campaign financing deserves a vote in the Senate.
Leib was the Democratic Party candidate against Sen. James Seward in the 51st state Senate district in 2012.