According to the BNA Money and Politics Report, “the Democratic and Republican parties have received $35.4 million—about $17.7 million each—in public funding to pay for next year’s presidential nominating conventions, the Federal Election Commission announced Nov. 8.”
It is more than ironic that at the same time Republican leaders in Congress are trying to kill the public financing system, the Republican party is happy to ask for and accept public funds to finance its own political activities.
If public financing is such a bad idea, the Republicans should not be requesting and accepting taxpayer dollars to finance their political activities.
If it is good idea to use public funds for Republican Party political activities, it is also a good idea to use public funds to finance presidential elections, as we have done for Republican and Democratic presidential candidates since 1976. Republican leaders should recognize this.
In fact, every Republican President and Republican presidential nominee has made use of the presidential public financing system from 1976 to 2008 to finance their run for the presidency.
Ronald Reagan, the gold standard for Republican conservatives, used the presidential public financing system twice to finance his successful runs for president in 1980 and 1984, and used the system a third time to finance his unsuccessful run for his party’s nomination in 1976.
The presidential public financing system was established in 1974 and served the nation well for most of its existence, until it became outdated and in need of repair.
Legislation to repair the presidential system has been introduced in the House this year by Representatives David Price (D-NC) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) (HR414). At the same time, House Republican leaders have passed legislation this year in the House to kill the presidential public financing system.
Republican leaders appear to be very comfortable using public funds to pay for their own political activities. The Republican party has asked for and accepted public funds to finance its national convention in every presidential election year from 1976 to 2012.
Republican leaders also ought to recognize the great value to the country of using public funds to finance the most important election in our country, our presidential election.
As it stands now, the financing of the 2012 presidential election is going to be dominated by influence-seeking money – by corporate spenders, big donors, bundlers, unlimited contributions and secret funds. This is a disaster for the American people and for our democracy and needs to be fixed for the future.
It is essential we repair the presidential public financing system in time for the 2016 presidential election. Presidential candidates should not be on the auction block and at the mercy of influence-seeking political money.