U.S. Supreme Court on Course to Tear Down Campaign Finance Reform Laws
Interview with Nick Nyhart, co-founder, president and CEO of Public Campaign, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
Courts around the country seem to be invalidating public campaign finance laws as fast as they can be passed. The U.S. Supreme Court on June 8th issued an order reinstating a lower court injunction, preventing the state of Arizona from providing matching funds to candidates for state office to stay on par with the spending of candidates who don't accept public financing, either because they are wealthy and can finance their own campaigns, or they accept large campaign donations from corporations or lobbyists. The Court, which will not likely rule on the case until after this November's mid-term election, issued the injunction stating that Arizona's public financing law puts an unconstitutional burden on the First Amendment rights of privately funded candidates.
According to the group Public Campaign, which has been which has been working to pass public finance laws at both the state and federal levels for the past 13 years, there are currently seven states and two cities that have full public financing for some political offices. Three states -- Arizona, Connecticut, and Maine -- provide full public financing for all statewide and legislative races. These laws were approved through a combination of ballot initiatives and state legislatures.
Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Nick Nyhart, co-founder, president and CEO of Public Campaign. He explains how the Supreme Court's ruling on Arizona's public finance law could affect other states around the country, and how a different funding mechanism in the proposed federal Fair Elections Now Act could pass Constitutional muster.
Contact Public Campaign by calling (202) 293-0222 or visit their website at www.publiccampaign.org.
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