'Clean Money' System Would Help California
Excessive campaign spending has the effect of discouraging candidates who might be more representative of average people, as your Dec. 1 editorial pointed out. Another serious problem with the current system is the effect it has on elected office holders. Having been elected with campaign funds from large contributors, they are too obligated to those special interests. The officeholder will be tempted to give more weight to the concerns of those contributors than to the concerns of ordinary citizens.
Large contributors to statewide elections include gambling interests, unions, energy companies, developers, insurance companies, medical organizations and others who want favors such as salary increases, relaxed safety and environmental regulations and tax breaks. Recall the insurance commissioner who took campaign contributions from insurance companies and then made rulings favorable to them.
I would rather have elected officials accountable only to the taxpayers, and that can be done with the "Clean Money" system of publicly financed campaigns described by a previous letter writer, Herb Engstrom (Dec. 29). As he pointed out, the Clean Money system has been used for statewide elections in Maine and Arizona since 2000 with impressive results. Efforts to bring this system to California are described on the website http://www.caclean.org.
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