The League of Women Voters of Hawaii supports the intent of SB 1068 which is to increase the public funding available to candidates who avail themselves of the Partial Public Funding program. However, we completely reject the argument that it can successfully replace the comprehensive public funding program.
The objective of the Partial Public Funding program is to help candidates who do not have access to large campaign contributions and to set campaign spending limits. The objective of the Comprehensive Public Funding of election campaigns is to limit the influence of special interests on government officials and government policies as well as to broaden the base of qualified candidates to office. It is designed to slow the escalation of the cost of successful election campaigning as well as giving candidates access to funding which will not compromise their loyalty to the people should they be elected so that they are accountable to all of their constituents and not only to the special interests
Early reports indicate that the final two candidates to the office of the US President will be spending a billion dollars between them. That is an obscene amount of money to spend on sound bites and attack ads, half-truths and misinformation that really add little in the way of valuable and necessary information to help voters make their choices on Election Day.
To make matters worse, that money will have been provided mostly by people giving the maximum amount allowed by law, bundled into $100,000 and $200,000 lots, etc. to indicate the corporations or industries or other special interest groups the individuals belong to thus buying them some influence.
Any kind of campaign-funding program must be sufficient to help candidates be competitive on the campaign trail if it is to attract enough candidates to deem it a success. Such a program must also free successful candidates from being beholden to their campaign funders unless it happens to be all of the taxpayers of that county or state or nation.
We urge you to at least restore SB 1068 SD1 to mirror the contents of HB 661, HD1.