Jimmy Carter calls for publicly funded elections

Former President Jimmy Carter has called for elections to be funded by the taxpayers rather than by corporations and “dark money”.

Carter was elected in 1976 largely thanks to public financing.

“Personally, I’d like to see public funds used for all elections — Congress, U.S. Senate, governor and president,” Carter said at the Atlanta meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.

When Jimmy Carter was running for President against Gerald Ford, he was a relatively unknown Governor from Georgia, but because both he and Ford agreed to finance their campaign with money from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, the playing field was leveled. To receive money from the fund, candidates must agree not to accept private donations.

In 1976, both Presidential candidates took $20 million from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, a paltry amount by today’s standards.

Forty years later, the Presidential Election Campaign Fund has $300 million at its disposal, but remains untouched because no candidate wants to agree to its restrictions.

Carter feels that in general, the Supreme Court’s  infamous Citizens United decision has broken the American political system.

“I think the two dramatic changes that have taken place since you and I both ran for president,” Carter told Clinton, are “a stupid decision by the Supreme Court on Citizens United and the … increasing gerrymandering of congressional districts. I think an enlightened Supreme Court could reverse both of those things. One of the things that would be very easy, maybe even for a conservative Supreme Court to do, would be for each state to have a blue ribbon commission to outline congressional districts.”

So far in the 2016 presidential election, the candidates have raised a combined $791 million, with political action committees (PACs) throwing in an additional $462 million.

Hillary Clinton has taken the most outside or “dark money” so far at $85 million. Donald Trump has only taken about $3 million in dark money.

 

[Quartz] [Open Secrets]