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Background (this and following 2 pages)-

Petr Kratochvil


public campaign funding ends money's influence on electoral outcomes completely.

No system that includes any form of private funding or spending can.

Sole Public Funding Safeguards

Electoral Outcomes

Since we are paying for most campaigning anyway, what is the advantage of funding solely out of our annual budget, rather than afterward by granting tax exemptions? What is the advantage of making a funding system by amendment, rather than by statute?

The key question is: What gives the public the most control to limit private influence on electoral outcomes?

  • Bygranting spenders tax exemptions the public pays but not until after the fact, allowing private spenders to control a public electoral requirement: information voters need. 

When you include parties, private campaign spenders control most of the campaign information available, without being impartial. They’re not required to provide information that would harm their cause or candidate, and the First Amendment right to free speech has been found to protect them when they spread false or misleading information (see The Truth and Accuracy Clause). 

25 states and some municipalities have responded to the public’s call to address private campaign financing by creating public funding systems. But these can't make the kinds of change actually needed to protect elections (see The Fair Elections Clause, Accountability and the Public Elections Clause, No Private, Partisan or Foreign Electoral Control, Resolving the Incumbency Advantage, and Leashing the Gerrymander, for starters).  

  • If any donations or private expenditures are permitted, the funding system has all or most of the problems of an entirely private funding system. Is this amendment better? Ask the key question.

In response to this amendment, Congress has introduced a bill that would establish “public” campaign funding with an independent funding body funded from four sources: the budget; voluntary or mandatory fees; voluntary or mandatory penalties when corporations misbehave; and private donations directly to it. Continuing private funding by voluntary fees, voluntary penalties, and donations to the funding body keeps the same private spenders in control. 

Even if Congress established campaign funding as a function funded solely by an annual budget allocation, they could later change it to partial or total private funding. Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution allows them to make all internal rules, including those for statutorily established functions administered by independent bodies. (see Congressional Rules and the Courts for the Constitution’s limits on this power.)

Article I, Section 5:

“Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings,”

  • If Congress establishes the function of campaign funding by statute and creates an independent funding body, Congress can allow private funding of that body. The public wouldn't be taking back control, we'd be giving it away by another method. Ask the key question.

When Congress or state or local legislatures establish a function by statute or ordinance, they have power to change or repeal it. They can mollify the public for the moment then change it later.

State laws are also subject to being changed or repealed by federal ones. Local laws can be changed or repealed by state or federal laws.

When Congress drafts campaign finance reform it’s always either ineffective or unenforceable in court, because most members were elected by private campaign finance. They won’t do better. They can’t. So they lower the public’s expectations to “something is finally being done.” And the public misses the point - and the opportunity. You don’t have to settle for ineffective or unenforceable.

This amendment makes campaign funding a United States budget item. Legislation won’t be able to change the way it’s funded.Congress answers to the people regarding annual budget expenditures, and this amendment’s other sections repair and restore the public’s political powers by correcting related problems in the political process. 

  • Only the Constitution can establish campaign finance as a United States budget item beyond the courts', Congress’, the states’, or localities’ ability to remove it. 
  • Only an amendment can establish mandatory sole public campaign funding as consistent with the First Amendment.
  • If the United States funds solely by annual allocation from the general budget, funding of information voters need to determine elections will be publicly controlled (see Public Debate Administration). 
  • This amendment is the only proposed solution as of 2016 that establishes mandatory sole budget-item funding.
  • Mandatory sole funding of campaigns through a budget allocation ends this particular form of private influence on electoral outcomes completely. No system with any possibility of ever including private funding or spending can. 

Ask the key question.​