WRAL has this update into the current state of the public campaign finance fund – a topic my Civitas colleague Matt Willoughby wrote about in early Feb. – which appears to have dwindled down to only half a million dollars.
The state first funded a voter-owned elections pilot in 2008 for candidates running for state auditor, insurance commissioner and superintendent of public instruction. To qualify for taxpayer help, candidates have to raise 750 donations of between $10 and $200 to raise at least $29,975, Strach said. If they then pledged to restrict their own fundraising and spending, qualifying candidate could then get taxpayer funds to run their campaigns.
At the time, the program was hailed by campaign finance reform advocates as a way to get big money interests out of politics.
But those were more flush times for state coffers. In the effort to curtail spending this year, lawmakers didn’t put any new money into the program. So state election officials only have $500,000 leftover from 2008 to distribute. That’s not a lot when a single candidate would typically qualify for around $300,000 in public financing.
“If we have multiple people certified, we’d then have to pro-rate it,” Strach said. Each candidate would get a share of the funds, she said, calculated based on the number who qualify and how much a winning candidate spent in the last three campaigns.
Wayne Goodwin, a Democrat and the incumbent candidate for Insurance Commissioner, has opted out of the public financing program, Robinson said. That’s because he expects a tough, and well-funded, challenge from Republicans.
Isn’t it ironic that Goodwin will opt out of the program designed to “get big money out of politics” because …..there isn’t enough money?
Of course, we believe the corrupt, freedom of speech destroying system of forcing taxpayers to pay the salaries of campaign consultants should be done away with completely. But perhaps another way to see this scheme go away is to simply let the funds dry up.