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In the wake of the campaign finance abuse hearings taking place in Washington, more than 150 activists from all across the country gathered in Raleigh, North Carolina, this weekend to talk about the need for what they call Clean Money Campaign Reform: the public financing of local, state and federal elections.
Backed by financial support from foundations, and widespread public support to limit the influence of big corporate money in the electoral process, the movement for campaign finance reform has been growing rapidly around the country. In recent weeks, for example, the Vermont state legislature joined Maine voters in calling for the public financing of state election campaigns.
Every poll shows Americans are fed up with the power of corporate money in election campaigns. Still, every time there is campaign finance reform, the problem of money in politics only seems to get worse. In Washington state, a recent bid to limit individual contributions only spurred a huge growth in ballot initiatives where there were few restrictions on donations.
• Randy Kehler, a long-time activist and war tax resister who spent two years in jail resisting the Vietnam War. Presently, he is a consultant to Public Campaign, a group started this year to push for public financing of election campaigns.