Thursday, June 19, 2008

Obama Opts Out of Public Financing

Democratic nominee Barak Obama will not take public financing in the general election, the first candidate ever to do so since the creation of the public fund for presidential elections.
"We've made the decision not to participate in the public financing system for the general election," Obama says in the video, blaming it on the need to combat Republicans, saying "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."
Given Obama's fundraising prowess, this is not a surprise.

The question now sits with campaign finance crusader John McCain to match Obama or take the public funds (and with them spending limits). Probably not.

What will this do for the public financing program? It is probably the final nail in the coffin. Basically, this was the last and final campaign where any major party candidate even thought about public financing in the primary and given that future campaigns will probably function much like Obama's fundraising operation, it is unlikely that future candidates will take public funds and the limits that come with them.

Good riddance to the public funding mechanism.

Of course, the good govnerment groups are all sad about the move: Democracy 21, Center for Responsive Politics.

Prof. Hasen writes:
I find Senator Obama's decision completely defensible and unsurprising. The system is broken. We cannot expect opt ins by successful candidates, especially in the internet age which has greatly decreased the cost of fundraising from micro-donors.

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