Clean Elections Efforts Build
The movement for clean elections, covered in the Fall 2003 issue of YES!, continues to grow:
• In Maryland, a high-level government commission, appointed by the previous governor after a spate of money-in-politics scandals, is expected soon to recommend full public financing for all legislative offices. Progressive Maryland, a multi-issue coalition of over 45 organizations and 10,000 individuals, is leading an effort to turn those recommendations into policy.
• In Illinois, the state senate, under pressure from clean elections activists, passed a bill calling for full public financing of judicial elections. The coalition Justice at Stake is working to overcome opposition from the powerful speaker of the state house of representatives.
• In Wyoming, the Equality State Policy Center, a coalition of 23 organizations working on government accountability and public access issues, moving a democracy reform agenda through the legislature, and publishing a compilation of each legislator's campaign contributions and voting record, is working toward full public financing of Wyoming elections.
• A study by Public Campaign called “The Color of Money” has found that almost 90 percent of the $2 billion contributed by individuals in the federal elections of 2000 and 2002 came from zip codes that are majority non-Hispanic white. Just 1.8 percent of the cash came from predominantly Hispanic zip codes; 2.8 percent from predominantly African American zip codes, and 0.6 percent from predominantly Asian Pacific American neighborhoods.
Public Campaign is asking voters to sign on to a “Lincoln Call” demanding an end to “government of, by, and for the wealthy special interests.” Within the first week that the call was issued, 2,900 people had signed at www.pcactionfund.org/lincolncall.
Micah Sifry is Public Campaign's senior analyst.
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