Midwest Demcracy Network Questions Presidential Candidates on Reform Issues

LANSING – Today the Midwest Democracy Network (MDN), an alliance of reform organizations in five states, called on presidential candidates to explain their positions on a variety of campaign and government reform issues.

“Voters deserve to know where candidates for our nation’s highest office stand on issues fundamental to the health of our democracy” said Patricia Donath of the League of Women Voters of Michigan. “We hope that all the presidential candidates will respond to this questionnaire.”

The MDN presented the full field of presidential candidates with a questionnaire covering federal campaign finance regulations, ethics and lobbying laws, federal communications policy, voting rights and congressional redistricting. Questions included whether, if elected:

· They would work to enact legislation to strengthen, maintain or repeal presidential public financing;

· They would support ongoing federal funding to improve the conduct of elections in exchange for better information from state and local election administrators on how they are administering elections; and

· They would support federal legislation prohibiting states from redrawing valid congressional districts more than once a decade.

“Americans can find out without much difficulty where the presidential candidates stand on the war in Iraq, healthcare and tax policy,” said Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. “It is more difficult for them to determine where they stand on key issues related to our democracy. This questionnaire seeks to put that important information in front of voters.”

Seasoned political analysts believe that ethics in government was a decisive issue in the 2006 elections. A USA Today/Gallup poll released on October 10, 2006 found that 86% of voters rated corruption in government as extremely or very important to their vote in last year’s congressional elections.

“Scandal-weary voters want to know how their candidates will address questions related to governmental ethics,” said John Chamberlin of Common Cause in Michigan. “The candidates should tell voters how they would reduce the influence of campaign contributors and promote ethical government and lobbying practices. We want to compare their positions side-by-side.”

The MDN is an alliance of 20 civic and public interest groups based in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. The complete presidential candidate questionnaire and additional information about MDN is available at www.midwestdemocracy.org.

Candidates have been asked to submit their completed questionnaires by October 15. Their unedited responses will disseminated nationally through media outlets and a network of civic organizations.

The partners in the MDN by state are:

ILLINOIS

Illinois Campaign for Political Reform

Sunshine Project

Illinois PIRG

Common Cause Illinois

Citizen Advocacy Center

League of Women Voters of Illinois

Better Government Association

Protestants for the Common Good

MICHIGAN

Michigan Campaign Finance Network

Common Cause Michigan

League of Women Voters of Michigan

MINNESOTA

TakeAction Minnesota

League of Women Voters of Minnesota

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

OHIO

Ohio Citizen Action

League of Women Voters of Ohio

Common Cause Ohio

WISCONSIN

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

League of Women Voters of Wisconsin

Common Cause Wisconsin

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