We all knew this was supposed to be a new era of government with the Democratic majority blah blah blah. But public financing for elections? Really?
On the Senate floor today, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), while speaking about the Dems' ethics package, said that the next logical step is public financing, and that he would be introducing such a bill in a matter of weeks. (We're still trying to get a record of Durbin's exact remarks.)
Although the details of the legislation are still being pounded out, David Donnelly of the Public Campaign Action Fund
said that Durbin's bill would probably be modeled on the Arizona
laws "which are working very well." In Maine, candidates who participate in the program have to begin by demonstrating community support by "collecting a minimum number of $5 checks or money orders payable to the Maine Clean Election Fund (qualifying contributions). After a candidate begins to receive MCEA funds from the State, he or she cannot accept private contributions," according to the Maine Ethics Commission
This the sort of thing that often gets laughed off as pie-in-the-sky legislating. But with the Senate's #2 pushing for it, might the story be different this time around?