Pennsylvania candidates to be offered opportunity to support “Clean Elections”

Clean Elections, a system of public funding for election campaigns, is already at work, in Arizona and Maine, providing an alternative source of campaign funds for both challengers and incumbents. Candidates who choose public funding are free of their dependency on lobbyists and special interest money. And, by leveling the playing field, Clean Elections promotes real competition on Election Day.

Prior to the May primary election, posted comments in support of publicly funded elections from nineteen candidates in contested elections in Pennsylvania.

Posted comments came from two U.S. Senate candidates, three U.S. House candidates and fourteen candidates for Pennsylvania’s General Assembly. Nine are Democrats and ten are Republicans. (See the list at will soon be sending a “Candidate Questionnaire” to candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Governor, Lt. Governor and the Pennsylvania House and Senate, inviting them to offer their position on publicly funded elections.

National Groups ask Congressional Candidates to sign the “Voters First” Pledge

In July, Common Cause, Public Campaign Action Fund, Public Citizen, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG) unveiled the "Voters First" Pledge. Congressional candidates across the country will be asked to sign the pledge. Part of the pledge is to “Establish and enforce campaign spending limits by providing a set amount of public funding for all candidates who agree to take no private contributions.”.

As part of that effort, they also released a poll showing wide support, across party lines, for public financing of Congressional campaigns. The poll also demonstrated a substantial gain in public support for a candidate who has signed the Pledge, when running against an opponent who has refused.

In one of the first contests in which candidates have been asked to sign the pledge, the recent U.S. Senate race in Connecticut, all 4 candidates (2 Democrats and 2 Republicans) signed.

Major Study of Public Financing Released

“Keeping It Clean: Public Financing in American Elections” is a new study from the Center for Governmental Studies. The Center says this report is “the first comprehensive effort to analyze and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of state and local public campaign financing systems in the United States. This major new report concludes that public campaign financing can resolve many of the campaign finance and electoral problems that currently plague the political process. “Keeping It Clean” details the positive effects of public campaign financing programs in numerous jurisdictions: more candidates, more competition, more voter participation and less influence-peddling.”

The report analyses many of the public financing arrangements already in place across the United States, including the Clean Elections systems in Arizona and Maine. It is fairly lengthy (134 pages) and detailed but includes a short Executive Summary.

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