In the wake of the ongoing investigations of former Governor Mike Easley, a new scorecard suggests an antidote to North Carolina’s money-in-politics problems.
NC Voters for Clean Elections has released its 2009 Scorecard on Campaign Reform, highlighting the state’s progress on campaign finance reform. The scorecard hones in on legislative efforts to expand Voter-Owned Elections, a public campaign financing system that reduces candidates’ reliance on special interest fundraising. Under the system—which is available in North Carolina for appellate judges and some Council of State races—candidates who prove vast community support and agree to strict spending and fundraising limits can receive a public grant to run their campaign.
The 2009 scorecard reflects on a legislative session when Voter-Owned Elections gained significant traction in North Carolina. A bill to expand the state’s successful Council of State program was approved by the state Senate and a bill to authorize additional municipalities to invest in local public financing programs was passed by the House. Both initiatives will be considered again next year when the legislature reconvenes in May.
Overall, scores were higher than in past legislative sessions, demonstrating growing support for campaign finance reform in both chambers. 45% of House members and 34% of Senators had perfect 2009 scores, and nearly half of House members co-sponsored at least one of the Voter-Owned Elections bills.
* The average 2009 score was 72% in the House and 70% in the Senate.
* A new lifetime score evaluated legislator’s votes on two dozen initiatives considered between 2005-2009. Perfect lifetime scores were earned by 19 House members and 11 Senators.
* The lowest scorers in the House were Reps. Ric Killian and James Langdon with 29% scores each. The lowest scorer in the Senate was Sen. Austin Allran with a 14% score for 2009.
* The lowest scoring Democrats were Reps. Jim Crawford and Timothy Spear with 43% scores in 2009.