Public financing of campaigns
- 1 States
- 1.1 Arizona
- 1.2 Connecticut
- 1.3 Florida
- 1.4 Hawaii
- 1.5 Idaho
- 1.6 Iowa
- 1.7 Maine
- 1.8 Maryland
- 1.9 Massachusetts
- 1.10 Michigan
- 1.11 Minnesota
- 1.12 Montana
- 1.13 Nebraska
- 1.14 New Jersey
- 1.15 New Mexico
- 1.16 North Carolina
- 1.17 Ohio
- 1.18 Oklahoma
- 1.19 Oregon
- 1.20 Rhode Island
- 1.21 Utah
- 1.22 Vermont
- 1.23 Virginia
- 1.24 Wisconsin
- 2 External Links
- 3 References
Arizona participates in a "Clean Elections" program, whereby those candidates who chose to participate in the public financing option are subject to certain qualifications and spending limits, but are compensated with public funds for any amount in excess of the spending limit that an opponent raises in private contributions. This policy is codified in Title 16 Chapter 6 of the Arizona state statutes governing campaign contributions and expenses:
"Whenever during a general election period a report has been
filed, or other information comes to the attention of the commission, indicating that the amount a nonparticipating candidate who is not unopposed has received in contributions during the election cycle to date less the amount of expenditures the nonparticipating candidate made through the end of the primary election period exceeds the original general election spending limit, including any previous adjustments, the commission shall immediately pay from the fund to the campaign account of any participating candidate qualified for the ballot and seeking the same office as the nonparticipating candidate an amount equal to any excess of the reported difference over the general election spending limit, as previously adjusted, less six per cent for a nonparticipating candidate’s fund-raising expenses. The general election spending limit for all such participating candidates shall be adjusted by increasing it by the amount that the commission is obligated to pay to aparticipating candidate."
However, this a "fund matching" or "triggering" program was taken to the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that it limits the free speech of private donors. The case of Arizona's Free Enterprise Club's Freedom Club PAC et al. v. Bennett, Secretary of State of Arizona, et al. was decided on June 27, 2011. In the 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that the law was unconstitutional. The majority ruled that public "fund matching" programs ultimately discourage non-participating candidates who chose to raise private donations from raising or spending campaign funds, and thus discourage political debate. Several other states have public financing programs similar to Arizona's, and are now facing the issue of being shut down on this precedent.
In 2010, the top 10 recipients of public campaign funds were:
|Jan Brewer, Governor||$1,768,577|
|Terry Goddard, Governor||$1,760,945|
|Ken Bennett, Secretary of State||$458,008|
|John Huppenthal, Superintendent of Public Instruction||$229,679|
|Brenda Burns, Arizona Corporation Commissioner||$229,113|
|Gary Pierce, Arizona Corporation Commissioner||$229,113|
|David Bradley, Arizona Corporation Commissioner||$228,711|
|Dean Martin, Governor||$200,501|
|David Lujan, Attorney General||$183,311|
|Andrew Thomas, Attorney General||$183,311|
Connecticut's public campaign financing program is funded through the Citizens' Election Program (CEP). This program provides grant money to candidates who raise a specified number of low-sum, "qualifying contributions" and who agree to abide by spending limits. Originally, the CEP was designed similarly to Arizona's laws in that it had a "triggering" provision, granting equivalent funds to participating candidates whenever privately-funded candidates out-spent them. However, on July 13, 2010, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court ruling on the case of Green Party of Connecticut v. Garfield stating that this grant-matching provision was unconstitutional on the grounds that it violated First Amendment rights to free speech. The court did also reverse a provision of the lower ruling that claimed that the CEP discriminated against minority parties. On June 28, 2011, one day after Arizona's grant-matching public finance program was deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of the Connecticut law, thus affirming the lower court's ruling as well as the idea that public campaign financing is not inherently unconstitutional.
In 2010, the top 10 recipients of public funds were:
|Dannel Patrick Malloy, Governor||$8,460,089|
|Michael Fedele, Governor||$2,477,728|
|Denise Merrill, Secretary of State||$1,121,163|
|Kevin Lembo, Comptroller||$1,106,205|
|Jeff Wright, State Treasurer||$749,950|
|Denise Nappier, State Treasurer||$749,490|
|Jerry Farrell, Secretary of State||$744,900|
|George Jepsen, Attorney General||$740,381|
|Gerry Garcia, Secretary of State||$374,950|
|Michale Jarjura, Comptroller||$374,000|
In Florida, only the candidates running for the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, and member of the state cabinet are eligible to apply for public campaign funds. In order to qualify for public funds, candidates for governor or lieutenant governor must first raise $150,000 in private donations, and candidates for state cabinet must raise $100,000 in private donations. Florida exercises a donation matching program. Qualifying donations from private individuals are matched with public funds within certain limitations and spending caps.
The 10 recipients of public campaign funds in 2010 were:
|Bill McCollum, Governor||$1,802,082|
|Jeff Atwater, Chief Financial Officer||$702,445|
|Adam Putnam, Agricultural Commissioner||$552,075|
|Dan Gelber, Attorney General||$513,568|
|Dave Aronberg, Attorney General||$426,975|
|Lorrane Ausley, Chief Financial Officer||$402,556|
|Pam Bondi, Attorney General||$383,169|
|Holly Benson, Attorney General||$328,172|
|Jeff Kottkamp, Attorney General||$322,495|
|Scott Maddox, Agricultural Commissioner||$196,262|
Various state candidates may apply for public funds provided they first raise enough individual donations of $100 or less. Gubernatorial candidates must raise $100,000 in qualifying donations. Candidates for lieutenant governor must raise $50,000, those for state senate must raise $2,500, and those for state house must raise $1,500. Those that apply for public funds must agree to the state expenditure limits specific to each office, and may then be granted a percentage of public funds. The governor and lieutenant governor candidates may receive up to 10% of their expenditure limits in public funds, and candidates for state legislature may receive up to 15% of their expenditure limits in public funds.
The 5 recipients of public campaign funds in 2010 were:
|Mike Golojuch, State Senator||$5,015|
|Clifton Tsuji, State Representative||$2,613|
|Fernie Nicolas, State Representative||$1,780|
|Marlene Hapai, State Representative||$1,500|
|John Carrol, Governor||$200|
Idaho formerly had a system of providing public funds not to individual candidates but political parties. Individuals could, on their tax returns, choose to designate $1 on their state tax return to state political parties. This additional dollar did not raise an individual's taxes, but rather earmarked one dollar of tax revenue for distribution to the political party of the individual's choice. In the 2010 legislative session, members of the Idaho House of Representatives introduced House Bill 379, which proposed to repeal the "tax check-off" on the grounds that the revenue should go to state programs and that the state has no place supporting specific parties. The bill passed the House and the Idaho State Senate and was signed into law by the Governor of Idaho on February 16, 2010.
Iowa's form of public financing does not direct funds to individual candidates, but rather political parties. On an individual's state tax return, any resident with at least $1.50 in taxes may fill out a "Political Checkoff" whereby they designate $1.50 to go to a political party of his or her choice. Joint tax returns of at least $3.00 may earmark two $1.50 denominations of their taxes to the political party or parties of their choice. 
Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's Ruling on Freedom Enterprise Club v. Bennett, which deemed "grant-matching" or "triggering" forms of public campaign financing unconstitutional, Maine used method to distribute public funds to candidates who applied and qualified for them. Namely, a candidate who applied and qualified to participate in the grant-matching, public fund program received a stipend of funds to use towards their campaign up to the specified spending limit. However, if a non-participating candidate, or one choosing instead to raise private funds, raised more than the spending limit placed on participating candidates, the participating candidates were compensated to keep total funds raised by all equal. This provision of the Maine statutes was formally stricken by District Court Judge George Singal on July 21, 2011.
The top 10 recipients of public campaign funds in 2010 were:
|Elizabeth Mitchell, Governor||$1,573,340|
|Patrick McGowan, Governor||$599,998|
|Peter Mills, Governor||$599,975|
|Michael L. Estes, State Senator||$62,460|
|Michael Thibodeau, State Senator||$59,161|
|Gerald Davis, State Senator||$59,150|
|Joseph Perry, State Senator||$59,138|
|Deborah Simpson, State Senator||$59,006|
|Lois Snowe Mello, State Senator||$58,870|
|Patsy Crockett, State Senator||$58,330|
The public funding program used in Maryland extends only to candidates running for the offices of governor or lieutenant governor. It is funded through tax add-ons as well as fines from public finance law infringements. The program provides qualified candidates who apply for the funds and agree to spending limits with grants to match the private contributions they raise. However, a major party candidate has not used this option since 1994. Despite this fact, there have been efforts in the state legislature to extend the option of public campaign financing to state legislative candidates. Delegate John Cardin introduced House Bill 159 in January of 2011 to extend the public financing option to state legislative candidates. Although the bill is under consideration, it has been a tradition to introduce such a bill each session since its cause was taken up by former delegate John Adams Hurson, and has yet to make any progress in the general assembly.
There are six state offices that qualify candidates to apply for public funds: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary, treasurer and receiver general, and auditor. During the general election, those who applied and qualified for public funds may receive public grants to match every contribution made by an individual citizen of the state whose total contributions (if the individual made multiple contributions) are equal to or less than $250. Governor and lieutenant governor candidates who use public funds are subject to a general election spending limit of $750,000. The attorney general candidates are subject to a limit of $312,500, and the candidates for secretary, treasurer and receiver general, and auditor are subject to a limit of $187,500.
The top 8 recipients of public funds in 2010 were:
|Timothy Cahill, Governor||$661,534|
|Suzanne Bump, Auditor||$215,809|
|Mary Z Connaughton, Auditor||$209,457|
|Stephen Murphy Treasurer||$207,647|
|Mike Lake Auditor||$155,159|
|Martha Coakley, Attorney General||$72,170|
|William C Campbell Secretary of State||$28,916|
|Charles D Baker, Governor||$2,627|
Michigan provides the option of public financing for gubernatorial candidates. These candidates must first qualify by raising $75,000 in contributions from private individuals of $100 or less. Major party candidates who do this are eligible to receive $2 for every $1 of qualifying contributions in primary elections up to a spending limit of $990,000. In the general election, they are eligible to receive a flat grant of $1,125,000 and may raise up to $875,000 in private donations to meet their spending limit of $2,000,000.
In 2010, the 5 recipients of public campaign funds were:
|Virg Bernero, Governor||$1,370,362|
|Pete Hoekstra, Governor||$487,289|
|Mike Bouchard, Governor||$172,030|
|Mike Cox, Governor||$78,373|
|Tom George, Governor||$63,559|
- National Conference of State Legislatures: "Public Financing of Campaigns: An Overview"
- Common Cause: "Public Financing in the States"
- National Conference of State Legislatures: "Public Financing of Campaigns"
- Arizona Revised Statutes Title 16 Chapter 6: "Campaign Contributions and Expenses §16-952 B"
- Arizona Free Enterprise Club v. Bennett: Text of the Decision
- New York Times: "Supreme Court Rules in Arizona Free Enterprise Club v. Bennett"
- Follow the Money: "Public Fund of Arizona 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- Connecticut State Statutes Chapter 157: "Citizens Election Program"
- Green Party of Connecticut v. Garfield was changed to Green Party of Connecticut v. Lenge by the time it got to the Supreme Court in recognition of Garfield's retirement
- Green Party of Conn. v. Garfield: "Ruling of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals"
- The Campaign Legal Center: "Supreme Court Declines to Hear Challenge to Connecticut Public Financing Program"
- Follow the Money: "Public Fund of Connecticut 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- Florida Department of State Division of Elections: "2010 Public Campaign Financing Handbook"
- Follow the Money: "Public Fund of Florida 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- State of Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission: "Partial Public Funding Guidebook"
- Follow the Money: "Public Fund of Hawaii 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- Idaho State Legislature: 2010 Session Bill History of H0379
- 2010 Iowa 1040A Tax Form Instructions
- Kennebec Journal: "Effort under way to fix Maine public campaign finance law"
- Follow the Money: "Public Fund of Maine 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- Common Cause: "Public Financing in the States"
- Maryland Reporter: "Public Financing of Election Campaigns Makes Another Try"
- Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance: "M.G.L. Chapter 55C: Limited Public Financing of Campaigns for Statewide Elective Office"
- [=19 Follow the Money: "Massachusetts 2010 Public Subsidy Campaign Contributions"]
- Brennan Center for Justice Report: "Campaign Finance in Michigan"
- Follow the Money: "Public Fund of Michigan 2010 Campaign Contributions"