Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Clean Elections Encounters Dirty Politics

Assembly Member Loni Hancock's AB 583, a bill that permits voluntary public financing of elections in California, received a hearing today in the California Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee. After a fairly heated debate between the author, the sponsor, and members of the committee over the introduction of an amendment, the bill was pushed over, keeping it alive if tenuously.

The amendment would allow a dollar-for-dollar match for publicly financed candidates when they run against super-sized warchests. The amendment, while providing a disincentive for wealthy candidates to try to buy elections, will likely make it more difficult to pass the bill. The move to add the amendment smacked of a poison pill, designed to destroy support for the bill in the committee or further on.

Clean elections supporters plan to work like mad before an upcoming deadline to resolve the conflict. Stay tuned.

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