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In the decade since 1996 the cost of presidential and Congressional elections has doubled from $1.6 billion to more than $3.9 billion.
The chairman of the Federal Election Commission thinks that by 2008, each major-party presidential candidate will need to raise $ 400M, well in excess of the $ 274M and $ 253M collected by GW Bush and John Kerry in 2004. $ 100M is the minimum ante for primaries. And where does this money come from? It's an open secret - go read about it on Government websites.
Americans must insist on cleaning up political campaign contributions. Clean money can indeed be a reality. In Connecticut, contributions to politicians from lobbyists and state contractors are banned. In races for governor and state legislature, candidates must fund their own campaigns. And to qualify to run, they first must raise a significant number of small contributions from voters in their district. This allows competitive candidates with something to say a chance without needing access to big money.
Arizona and Maine also have similar public financing regulations. In California, the Clean Money and Fair Elections Act passed the State Assembly in January and moves on to the Senate.