On Monday, November 16, Republican presidential candidate Gov. George Pataki announced his support for tax incentives to empower small-dollar political donations, part of a package of reforms he supports to fight big money politics. Good government reformers cheered the announcement and renewed their calls on all presidential candidates to present concrete solutions to combat the corrupting influence of big money in politics.
Speaking at a public forum hosted by NH1 News, First Budget, and the NH Business and Industry Association in Concord, Pataki stated, “We have lost control of the campaign process. One of the things I would do is … put in place a tax credit for up to $200 in contributions to presidential candidates to encourage small donations," a system practiced under President Reagan. Pataki underscored the importance of small donor incentives "because that’s the people who should be electing the president, not somebody who could be writing a $30 million check to a Super PAC.”
Pataki’s statement comes less than two weeks after the nonpartisan NH Rebellion launched the We The People Pledge to fight big money in politics, which calls for citizen-funded elections and closing the revolving door between Congress and lobbying, among other reforms. On September 16, Pataki stated during the Republican candidate debate, "I would propose a law on day one that [if] you serve one day in the House or Senate, there's a lifetime ban on you ever being a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. You get elected, you go back home. You don't stay and support the special interests.”
"Voters are disgusted by the amount of money flooding our elections from billionaires and special interests, and demand the presidential candidates commit to fix our broken campaign finance system," said Dan Weeks, director of the NH Rebellion. "We congratulate Gov. Pataki for taking a strong stand in support of public incentives to empower small donors instead of unaccountable Super PACs, and urge him and every other presidential candidate to support the full menu of good-government reforms."
Every Republican vying for president has also publicly acknowledged the need to fight big money, according to NH Rebellion's online tracker of candidate statements, Questionr.us. The solutions offered by Republican candidates to-date center on stricter disclosure requirements and lobbying restrictions, and a few Republican candidates have also voiced support for citizen-funded elections, overturning Citizens United, and nonpartisan redistricting reform. All three Democratic presidential candidates have released comprehensive campaign finance reform agendas.
“Big money politics is a bipartisan problem and it demands a bipartisan response,” said Brian Tilton, Republican outreach coordinator for the NH Rebellion. “Building on Gov. Pataki's strong stand, we will continue to educate all of the Republican candidates about conservative-friendly approaches to breaking the big money-big government nexus that has voters up in arms. Republicans recognize that crony capitalism and wasteful spending won't be stopped until voters regain the upper hand against wealthy special interests.”