Clean Money Misunderstood
Dan Walters misunderstands Assembly Bill 583, the Clean
Money Act, and the system of publicly financed campaigns it
would set up.
First, because the clean money system is voluntary there
actually are no Bill of Rights or free speech issues, as
several courts have already held.
Second, the public financing systems in Arizona and Maine
have actually proven to work very well. They also have
bipartisan support and the overwhelming approval of
In addition to the spending limits Walters mentions, clean
money candidates agree to accept no private donations,
including from themselves. Special interest contributions
used to influence legislation thus become useless.
Waltersâ€™ observation that previous
spending limit reforms just tended to drive special
interest money underground is correct, but with this
reform, independent expenditure groups have to disclose
what they spend, and that spending triggers additional
matching funds for the clean money candidate. This tends to
discourage such expenditures.
Finally, Walters chides the bill for having different
qualifying requirements for smaller third-party
But most such systems have such provisions. We want to
enable such parties to be heard, but we also want to be
frugal when spending taxpayer dollars. The Green Party, for
example, has endorsed the bill, believing it properly
strikes this balance.
Craig Dunkerley, South Bay Area coordinator, California
Clean Money Campaign, Sunnyvale
See the article on Tracy Press website