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Abstract

In this transcript, former Congressman Bill Green and a member of the New York City Campaign Finance Board moderated a panel a five-person panel on the challenges campaign finance reformers face attempting to limit demand with regard to campaign finance. The panelists discussed the relationship between public campaign subsidies and efforts to encourage candidates to limit spending, provide more disclosure, restrict contribution amounts, and to mandate debate participation in the wake of the Supreme Court’s rejection of mandatory spending limits for federal candidates in Buckley v. Valeo, The panel also addressed reform efforts that seek to ease the demand for campaign funds by providing free television time, nonpartisan voter guides and other forms of free media to reach voters with campaign information. The five panelists were: (1) Joel Gora, associate dean of Brooklyn Law School and general counsel of the New York Civil Liberties Union; (2) Mark Green, former “right-hand man” to Ralph Nader, former head of Congress Watch for Nader’s organization in the 1970s, two-time Public Advocate of New York City, and a candidate for federal office, including the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate; (3) Joseph Mercurio, a political consultant and experienced campaign and ballot-initiative worker; (4) Paul Taylor, executive director of the Alliance for Better Campaigns and former journalist with the Washington Post, among other publications; and (5) Robert M. Stern, Co-Director of the Center for Governmental Studies, and past General Counsel of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. This panel was held during From the Ground Up: Local Lessons for National Reform, a national conference on campaign finance reform held on November 9, 1998, sponsored by the New York City Campaign Finance Board and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

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