As I’ve written before, public campaign financing is a sham – it destroys liberty and produces none of the promised results.
In short, it takes taxpayer dollars to fund candidates running for office. Taxpayers no longer have a choice over which candidates receive their financial support. Chapel Hill residents will be subjected to this system in their local elections going forward, and taxpayers across the state will be forced to finance the campaigns of the three Council of State races (state auditor, superintendent of public instruction, commissioner of insurance).
A recently released GAO study, summarized in this USA Today article, confirms what I tried to warn taxpayers about many months ago.
"The GAO concluded that taxpayer-funded elections had no discernible positive effect on electoral competition, voter choice, interest group influence or voter participation."
Furthermore, the influence of lobbyists that this legislation was supposed to eliminate actually intensified.
"Tax funding of campaigns is supposed to reduce special-interest influence. But since Maine’s program began, the number of lobbyists in the state has increased dramatically. And in Arizona, Gov. Janet Napolitano relied heavily on labor unions to do the work needed for her to receive the government subsidy."
The real cause of the problem is government largess. No amount of campaign finance tinkering will fix that. When there is so much power concentrated in the hands of so few, it is inevitable that groups will form to influence the power-brokers. For some reason, public campaign financing advocates think that more government control over elections (via your tax dollars) will fix a problem created by too much government control.
Citizens of North Carolina, be warned. Such negative reviews will not dissuade the public campaign financing crowd. In fact, contrary to the GAO report, they consider the experiences in Maine and Arizona as "successes" (based largely on the number of candidates that fed from the public trough). Next on their agenda is to phase in this failed system for all state-level elections in North Carolina, including the race for Governor.