Our state’s successful judicial public financing program is a national model, replicated in several states, but Art Pope seized its money for his (oops, Gov. McCrory’s) proposed budget, and several bills in the General Assembly would kill the program. The program provides a statewide voter guide and an alternative source of campaign funds for appellate court candidates who abide by certain public trust conditions. Here’s an update from NC Voters for Clean Elections:
Recently, we got a demonstration of how this program has successfully leveled the playing field between big-money donors and ordinary voters when the Associated Press reported that the NC Supreme Court overturned Duke Energy’s hefty 7.2% rate hike. Duke Energy is one of the state’s largest political money machines and wields huge sway in the legislature and NC Utility Commission. The courts, largely shielded from Duke’s clout thanks to the public financing program, ruled that the Commission failed to properly balance the interests of the public with the interests of the regulated monopoly, especially during economic hard times.
Also, NC Voters for Clean Elections and Justice at Stake launched a new website today, www.JudgesNotPoliticians.org, as part of a campaign to help North Carolina keep the program that 80% of judges have voluntarily chosen to use. The site features key facts about the program, a petition, and a public service announcement from former Governors Jim Holshouser (R) and Jim Hunt (D).