chapter  2
16 Pages

Public Financing of Elections: Past, Present, and Future

ByPeter L. Francia

In 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to end a more-than-threedecade-old federal program that provides taxpayer funds to the campaigns of presidential candidates and to national political parties for their nominating conventions. Although the House bill never became law, the legislation would have eliminated public financing of presidential campaigns by removing the $3 check-off box on income tax forms used to fund the program. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Representative Gregg Harper of Mississippi, defended the legislation, arguing that it eliminated a “government program that virtually no one uses” (quoted in Abrams, 2011).