Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bad day for campaign finance reform

Earlier this month, we wrote about a Ninth District Court of Appeals decision overturning a lower court's ban on extra public funding for Arizona gubernatorial candidates who are facing the free-spending GOP firing range owner Buz Mills, a Republican, who has plowed $2.3 million into the race as of the end of May.

Read more: The Ninth's call was to follow Arizona's original plan and give the three clean elections candidates extra funding. But yesterday, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked Arizona from providing the extra cash, effectively reducing the candidate's clean election funding by two-thirds. The court didn't note any dissent, or explain its reasoning—it needn't until Fall, by which time the election will likely be decided.

You can read more about the decision at SCOTUS blog and the Arizona Republic. We more or less agree with the New York Times, which sees the Roberts court as committed to the "destruction of the laws and systems set up in recent decades to reduce the influence of big money in politics."

Meanwhile, in California, Proposition 15 lost 42.5 percent to 57.5 percent. The measure would have set up a pilot public funding program for secretary of state elections, financed through additional fees on lobbyists. Post mortems center on whether it was a good idea to float such a ballot question in an election where all the major races were on the GOP side, or whether the people of California distrust public financing because they can't stomach paying to elect jerks.

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