Wednesday, March 30, 2011

UIS professor will have a ringside seat to U.S. Supreme Court argument

Only a handful of states offer public financing where candidates who take public money are prohibited from raising private cash. Michael Miller teaches political science at the University of Illinois Springfield. He's studied what some call "clean election" funding. The argument before the nation's high court is those who raise their own campaign cash have less incentive to spend more if their opponents are publicly financed because the opponents can get matching funds.

"So they feel like the unintended consequences of this law is to curb their spending. The phrase they use all the time is these programs chill my speech," said Miller.

Miller's research found privately funded candidates often wait until the final days to make big ad buys so that it's too late for matching funds to arrive for the other side. He says it shows public financing doesn't deny free speech.

"It's more accurate to say public funding seems to affect when they say it," he said.

Miller says if the court rules against the matching funds provision, it could make it even harder to get candidates to sign up for public funding.

The story was featured by WUIS Public Radio in a March 28, 2011 report.

Read the story online