No Cure for Corruption: Public Financing under Constitutional Constraints

By David M. Mason
July 20, 2009
Barack Obama’s victory over John McCain was due in no small part to his spending advantage.1 He gained that advantage by collecting private donations, rather than accepting a public grant accompanied by a spending limit. Yet Obama felt compelled to defend his decision by calling for “reform” of a system he described as broken and claiming his would be “first general election campaign that’s truly funded by the American people.” Some of Obama’s supporters and a chorus of “reform” organizations continue to advocate “updating” the public financing system...