Having a fair public financing system for political candidates is “more important than ever” given the Supreme Court’s ruling in January that unleashed corporate financing of elections.
That’s a central argument of a New York Times editorial saying the high court should uphold an Arizona law that furnishes extra dollars to publicly financed candidates running against wealthy, privately funded opponents.
The editorial is entitled, “Keep Arizona Elections Clean,” and it traces the beneficial impact of the public financing statute in helping Arizona turn away from “an open sewer of corruption” in state politics.
The editorial reserves some of its sharpest denunciation for those challengers of the statute who contend it tramples on the First Amendment right to free speech of wealthy, privately funded candidates:
“This claim is ludicrous. The First Amendment gives all candidates the right to express their views, not to have the floor to themselves. The Supreme Court lets them raise as much as they can — or spend as much of their own money as they want. The Arizona law lets them use that money to full effect.”
The editorial concludes:
“The Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, which unleashed corporate, labor and other financing in elections, makes fair public financing more important than ever. The court now lets moneyed institutions spend unlimited amounts in politics, so the court must allow this essential part of the Arizona system and mechanisms like it. It must let candidates who need public support have enough public dollars to compete effectively.”
To learn more about the Arizona case before the high court, check out Gavel Grab.