The Politics of Self-Promotion

The Goldwater Institute, an Arizona-based public policy institute, has released a 23-page study by Shawnna L.M. Bolick indicating that “between 2006 and 2008, elected officeholders in Arizona spent at least $4.2 million in public funds on name and photo placements in various official publications.” The publication, Shameless Self-Promotion: How Politicians Use Your Money to get Re-elected, is focused upon the state of Arizona, but certainly describes a phenomenon which applies almost universally in American politics from the local to state and national levels. The author suggests that “the use of public funds for what essentially constitutes campaigning is ethically and constitutionally suspect. Moreover, this practice puts others who attempt to run for office at a serious disadvantage. An incumbent who gets so much ‘free press’ is a difficult opponent indeed. And for most elected officials, the lure of using public funds to self-promote is simply too great to resist.” The document abounds with examples which will bring to your mind almost numberless similar cases from your own city, county and state.

For the quickest possible overview, see the initial press release and executive summary of the report.

Published in: on May 15, 2009 at 12:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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