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Taxpayer Funded Elections – BAD IDEA

There is a rundown here on mayoral fundraising, and somehow it morphs into a rationale for taxpayer funded elections — a terrible idea. In order to make the case, a link is provided to these “myths vs. facts.” Let’s take a look at just the first two “Facts.”

Fact One:
“The cost of Clean Elections is minimal. In 2004, some $12.1 million was given to Arizona candidates running under the Clean Elections system.”

Reality Check:
That minimal amount is nearly four times the amount allocated for the new underfunded pre-school program.

Fact Two:
“The Clean Elections enforcement system works. There will always be people who take advantage of the system, whatever the system is.”

Reality Check:
There are grey areas when it comes to “taking advantage of the system.” Consider this little tidbit:

Judith Espinosa – $55,822 raised
This is the really big surprise in the reports. She’s been running since October. Yet, when you subtract her personal check for $16,000, her ex-husband’s $4,600, and another $6,000 from other family members, she’s basically raised just $29,000 in ten months. That includes a $1,000 contribution from Westland Corporation (and that’s a bit of an eye opener – see Coco.)

One theory has it that Espinosa is just taking a lap around the track to build name ID, so she can run for Attorney General next year in what looks to be a crowded Democratic Primary field. The last time the AG’s office didn’t have an incumbent in the race was in 1998. Judith started up a campaign run that year, but quickly aborted it when Patricia Madrid and Marian Matthews jumped in.

Now imagine if taxpayer funded elections were in place. Ms. Espinosa would not have to spend any of her own money to build name ID. Anyone and everyone would be eligible to spend taxpayer money on increasing name ID. We’re talking about the potential of wasting millions of taxpayer dollars year after year.

I could go on and on debunking these “Facts,” but then this post would be too long.