Nov. 4, 2003

Presidential Public Financing Reform Project Garners Pledges From
Seven Presidential Candidates to Reform and Strengthen System

Boston, Mass. – Seven of the ten announced major party candidates for President have endorsed a pledge committing themselves to "making reform of the presidential public financing system a priority" and embracing public financing as the "most effective means for preserving the integrity of our electoral process, reducing undue special interest influence and creating a fair playing field for qualified candidates."

The candidates are General Wesley Clark, Governor Howard Dean, Sen. John Kerry, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Sen. Joe Lieberman, and Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun. Sen. John Edwards, who does not sign pledges, has committed to the pledge’s principles.

The Presidential Candidate’s Pledge to Reduce the Role of Special Interest Money in Presidential Elections was drafted by six national reform organizations: Common Cause, Democracy 21, League of Women Voters, Public Campaign, Public Citizen and USPIRG. These groups have formed the Presidential Public Financing Reform Project to promote major improvements to the presidential campaign finance system by reducing the role of special interest money in presidential elections, increasing the importance of public financing in the primaries, and making enactment of reforms a priority for the presidential candidates and for Congress.

Leaders of these organizations announced the presidential candidates’ endorsements of the pledge at a press conference near Boston’s Faneuil Hall, where the Democratic candidates were gathering for a CNN/America Rocks the Vote forum.

Of the three major presidential candidates who did not sign the pledge, the Rev. Al Sharpton had not responded as of press time; Rep. Richard Gephardt declined to endorse the Pledge, and his campaign said he would issue its own press release on the matter; and President George W. Bush’s campaign said that he was "committed to campaign finance reform" and that once his team was in place it would reply more directly.

The six national reform organizations in the Presidential Public Financing Reform Project thanked the seven presidential candidates who signed the Pledge for their support. They also promised to "fire up their members across the country and make sure they bird-dog the candidates, asking them about the Pledge and letting them know that fixing the presidential campaign finance system and ending the sale of the White House to the highest bidders is of great importance to the American people." The reform groups are also asking members of Congress to sign the Pledge, committing them to supporting legislation overhauling the system.

To view a copy of the Presidential Candidate’s Pledge and its signers, click here.