PAVLOV'S PURVEYORS: Ian Lind has reported on an alternative to popular Voter-Owned formerly “CleanElections” public campaign financing reforms seemingly supporting the Office of Elections’ and Campaign Finance Commissions’ stance against them saying reforming and expanding the current Hawaii’ “matching funds” system would be better.
But Lind’s two premises seems flawed. The current system- no matter how it is tweaked- still relies on private contributions while the point of Voter-Owned (V-O) elections is to rid the system of the monetary influence of those “special” interests who give and get something substantive in return.
Lind frames the question as primarily one of how much it would cost taxpayers to fund elections. But apparently the jury is in on that one. All cost-analyses shows the taxpayers pay hundreds of times more in corrupt appropriations and kickbacks to supporters- both the legal and illegal kind- than the cost has been for V-O locales across the county.
When someone gives an politician $2000- or a “bundle” of 10 of ‘em- and gets a millions dollar contract for a half-a-million dollars worth of work it’s the very model of “penny wise, pound foolish” to let them keep buying our money on the cheap.
Second, the worrisome bureaucratic bookkeeping headaches forecast for under V-O’s full public financing doesn’t seem to play out. Campaign treasurers are required now to carefully and electronically document expenditures. But treasurers wouldn’t have to track contributions any more since there wouldn’t be any contributions after the original $5 eligibility contributions are in.
They may call it the Campaign “Spending” Commission but they act as a “Contributions” Commission. That reporting is the main source of “headaches” now and V-O frees everyone from those troublesome “disclosures”.
V-O has posed no problems for Maine and parts of Arizona where it has been successfully implemented for quite a few years. doing it all over the State makes sense- especially for the legislature... which is why one or two people have killed it every session for the last 10 years.