Issue Position: Campaign Finance
The outcome of American elections is being determined more and more by how much money candidates can raise, and less and less by issues of concern to working families. The preoccupation with money is having a corrosive effect on the electoral system, and it is shameful. The system is benefiting only the big corporations and lobbyists with endless money to spend, and in the process, the voice of average Americans goes unheard. We have the best Congress money can buy.
Many in Congress are bent on preserving the status quo. They oppose reform because they do not want to break the financial pipeline they have with their special interest friends. We must return election campaigns to the people. Real reform means creating a level playing field on which all votes are equal, no matter what their income, what job they hold, or where they live.
Public financing of elections makes sense. These tax dollars are untainted by conflicts of interest, and come with no strings tied to private contributors seeking funds from members of Congress. Senator Kennedy's support for public financing is longstanding. He sponsored an amendment in 1973 with the Republican Minority Leader, Senator Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania, that would have applied public financing to Senate and House campaigns. Unfortunately, the House-Senate conference bill that year limited public funds to presidential campaigns.
Congress has a choice: we can continue the unseemly influence of special interests in American politics, or we can reform our broken campaign finance system and restore integrity to the electoral process.