Romney Should Follow Up on His Stated Support of Public Financing with a Reform Plan

Mitt Romney’s sudden embrace of campaign public financing – not for this presidential race but for the NEXT one – has a familiar and disquieting ring, Common Cause said today.

“It’s nice to see that Gov. Romney agrees that the huge sums of money flowing into the 2012 election are an invitation to corruption,” Common Cause President Bob Edgar said. “But while welcome, Mr. Romney’s comments are uncomfortably reminiscent of statements made during the 2008 campaign by then-candidate Barack Obama.”

On Sunday, Gov. Romney told Fox news Sunday that he would “absolutely” like toreturn to the public fundraising system if he runs for a second term in 2016. He added that the presidential campaigns’ emphasis on fundraising “increases the potential of money having an influence in politics.”

In 2008, Mr. Obama declared his support for public financing in principle but insisted that the current system was broken and that he had to raise as much money as possible in order to ‘be competitive’ in the election.

And like Mr. Romney today, Mr. Obama offered nothing more than vague promises that he would work as President to fix that broken system so that future candidates could run independent of big donors.

“We have criticized Mr. Obama’s failure as president to follow through on those promises, to submit a reform plan and his embrace of Super PACs. We’ve also joined with other reform groups in urging the President to overhaul the Federal Election Commission,” Edgar said.

If Mr. Romney is sincere in his support for reform today, he should offer a detailed plan to accomplish it and explain how, as president, he’d overcome the vocal and well-organized opposition to reform within the Republican Party, Edgar said.

“The fact is that while President Obama has failed to deliver on his pledge to fix public financing, Republicans in the House have pushed legislation to scuttle the system entirely. Against this backdrop, there’s little reason to believe that either candidate is serious about breaking the hold of big money on our campaigns and elections.”