From now to the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney will limit campaigning, leaving his running mate, Paul Ryan, to the task.
With the convention about a week away, the general election a short 80 or so days away, and with $23 million campaign cash on hand against Obama’s $98 million, Romney is setting himself up for the financing necessary to compete up to the November 6 national election.
Obama, last year as well this year, as have all this year’s presidential candidates, opted out of applying for federal campaign financing. Obama has said that he supports federal campaign financing but that the system isn’t working. He says candidates find ways to bend the rules and game the system.
Up to 2008, all presidential candidates have accepted federal financing.
The reason candidates turn down public financing is that the money they could potentially raise privately far exceeds the $91.2 million federal financing cap.
While fundraising in Massachusetts, Romney complained that he wished he could spend all of his time campaigning. He blamed Obama’s 2008 rejection of federal financing for putting greater demand on fundraising than campaigning. He said Obama blew through federal spending limits.
In today’s world, with advancements in internet technology, political campaigns today have the ability to reach out to greater audiences to solicit greater funding online.
Even though candidates are not using the system, federal campaign financing should not end, as the republicans are intent on doing. The Republican-led House last year voted on two occasions to end federal campaign financing. President Obama opposed the legislation and it was shelved in the Democrat-led Senate.
However ending the federal campaign finance law would include the elimination of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, which provides Help America Vote Act guidance to states and localities.
The republicans say their reasoning is to reduce government spending. Democrats say that republicans simply want to impose new voting requirements, limit early voting, and make it harder to vote.
The evidence suggests the Democrats have it right. Republicans overwhelmingly support the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision that allows corporations to make unlimited contributions to political campaigns. They support Voter ID laws that inevitably reduce voter turnouts of lower-income, elderly, and minority voters.
Republicans, apparently, want to put up voting barriers rather than support an American’s unencumbered right to vote.
What is needed is an increase in public funding, to eliminate state-by-state spending limits, and stronger campaign finance laws.
2012 Presidential Race, OpenSecrets.org
Michael Mathes, Romney nets $7 mn in fundraising dash, AFP
Shailagh Murray and Perry Bacon Jr., Obama to Reject Public Funds for Election, The Washington Post
Brian Montopoli, After public financing forsaken, a dash for cash, CBS News
Jonathan D. Salant, U.S. House Votes Again to End Public Financing of Campaigns, Bloomberg News