“Subsidizing Democracy: Can Public Financing Change Politics?”

New America Foundation:

Most efforts to reduce the influence of money on democracy have run aground in recent years, because of court decisions, the growth of new forms of political organization, and the sheer volume of money directed at our high-stakes politics. But with little notice, one reform – voluntary public financing of campaigns – has taken hold in several states and jurisdictions. Public financing has taken several different forms, from full public funding to partial matching systems to tax credits that resemble a voucher. Most of these programs have been resilient, generally popular with candidates, and have withstood most legal challenges.

Please join the New America Foundation’s Political Reform Program as we present the results from the first book-length study of these modern public financing programs and whether they can change the culture and practice of politics. In Subsidizing Democracy, Michael G. Miller of the University of Illinois, Springfield, looks at the results of public financing in Arizona and several other jurisdictions, and uses data as well as interviews to consider how these programs change politics. Do they bring in different candidates? Do they allow candidates to spend more time with voters? Do they increase public confidence or participation?

In addition to the author, we’ll be joined by three experts on money in politics, including a former member of the Arizona legislature who participated in the public financing system, who will discuss the book and its implications for the future of American politics.

Copies of Miller’s book will be available for purchase by cash, check, or credit card.

Join the conversation online using #subsidizedemocracy and following @NewAmerica. 

If you are unable to join us in person, please tune in to our live webcast of the event. No signup is required to view the streaming video.  


Michael G. Miller
Associate Professor, University of Illinois, Springfield
Author, Subsidizing Democracy

Michael J. Malbin
Executive Director, Campaign Finance Institute

Spencer Overton
George Washington University School of Law

Matt Heinz
Arizona House of Representatives, 2009-2013, and U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

Mark Schmitt
Director, Program on Political Reform, New America Foundation

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