April 28, 2010

Publicly funded campaign ads?

Steve Sebelius makes the case that politicians should not appear in ads promoting programs they're in charge of:

But the basic nature of what [Lt. Gov. Brian] Krolicki did is exactly the same in [Secretary of State Ross] Miller’s case: A state official appearing in state-paid TV ads, which tends to constitute free publicity for a person who needs publicity in order to get re-elected someday. And, in both cases, it’s unseemly.

The point is valid. Just as we don't want state officials to use their office staffers to field election campaign questions, state funds shouldn't be used in ads that help their re-election campaigns.

Promoting state programs or initiatives is worthwhile and should be encouraged. But why do politicians need to appear in them? The simple answer is that they don't.