Pitfalls of Publicly Funding Judicial Campaigns

Bench & Bar, by Susan HoldenDecember 10, 2005

Bench & Bar, by Susan Holden

There has never been public funding of judicial campaigns in Minnesota and, given the pitfalls of such a system, one wonders whether we should even consider it.

Public financing methods generally provide campaign financing as long as the candidate agrees to certain spending and/or contribution limitations for their campaign. But to be constitutional, the public funding systems must be voluntary. A candidate cannot be required to participate and is not bound by the spending limits if they do not. In addition, public funding schemes regulate spending of candidates but do not limit the expenditures of political parties or other private interest groups. Thus, public financing does not cap spending nor guarantee a level playing field in judicial elections and is not a solution to issue-oriented campaigns.

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