PUBLIC FINANCING OF CAMPAIGNS
Did you know twenty-five states have programs that provide public funds for election campaigns?
• Public financing of campaigns encourages candidates to be:
• Accountable to all voters in a district instead of focusing on wealthy areas and individuals
• Involved with constituents because almost all their time can be spent on their work – not on fundraising
Public financing of campaigns creates:
•Time for candidates to talk directly with voters and voters to hear from all candidates
•Opportunities for candidates from different backgrounds to run
• Competition based on ideas and not how much money is raised
• Enough money to run an effective, competitive campaign
• Access to the political process for new candidates and voters
• Real choices and reduced cynicism
• SUPPORT THE GOVERNMENT BY THE PEOPLE ACT
Call your Rep. and ask them to support this bill from Rep. Sarbanes HR20: Government By The People Act.
Introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes, D-MD, HR 20 encourages small dollar gifts to candidates for the House of Representatives by providing citizens with a $25 refundable tax credit. The bill creates a “Freedom from Influence” fund to match small dollar donations — $150 or less – from individuals at a 6-1 rate. Thus a $50 gift would grow to $350 and a $150 gift to $1,050. Additional matching funds would be available to candidates who agree to accept only small-dollar donations. It also includes provisions to counter the power of super PACs and “dark money” non-profit groups.
Watch Rep. Sarbanes talk about HR 20:
• FIND OUT WHAT’S HAPPENING IN YOUR STATE
From Public Campaign – State Groups working on Public Financing
- AZ – Arizona Advocacy Network
- CA – California Clean Money Campaign
- CT – Connecticut Citizen’s Action
- IA – Iowa Citizens For Community Improvement
- IL – Citizen Action
- ME – Maine Citizens for Clean Elections
- MD – Progressive Maryland
- NC – Democracy North Carolina
- NY – Citizen Action of New York
- WI – Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
- WA – Washington Public Campaigns
Twenty-five states have programs that provide public funds for use in election campaigns. State public financing programs may be divided into three broad categories: those which provide funds directly to individual candidates, those that provide funds to political parties, and those which provide tax incentive to citizens who make political contributions.
Here’s a rundown of what public financing looks like in various states.
14 states offer public funds to political candidates:
AZ, CT, FL, HI, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, NJ, NM, NC, RI, VT, WV
10 states provide grants to qualified political parties:
AL, AZ, IA, KT, MN, NM, NC, OH, RI, UT
7 states offer tax incentives to encourage citizens to make political contributions:
AR, MN, MT, OH, OK, OR, VA
• IF IT’S NOT YET HAPPENING IN YOUR STATE, CONTACT PUBLIC CAMPAIGN TO START A GROUP
• CHECK OUT GLOBAL EXCHANGE’S ELECT DEMOCRACYCONGRESSIONAL LEGISLATIVE SCORECARD
Does bank campaign $$ buy pro-industry votes? Check out our ground-breaking new style of legislative scorecard and report to see for yourself the cold hard facts about Congress ‘Wall Street loyalty rates’ and corporate campaign contributions.
Share This Infographic: Meet The FIRE (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate) Sector: Discover how the bulk of Wall Street has burned through over $4.2 billion via lobbying and campaign contributions in order to buy power and influence in DC. Download and share this our new infographic.
Elections are in the public interest, designating the propriety of public works, impacting every single member of the public — so therefore we must have public financing for campaigns. When the candidate with the most money wins over 90 percent of the time, it’s not an election, it’s a rich kid’s birthday party.
Most people don’t have money to give away, let alone to people running for office. Those who give the biggest sums of money command the candidate’s attention (Sheldon Adelson circle jerk), and even though these donors already have plenty of money to shower on candidates, they are blowing millions in hopes to reap millions more.
This is what our democratic process has come to. No wonder voter turnout is at an historic low. Candidates have become NASCAR drivers, promoting their sponsors like it’s their job–which it is, because that is where their money is coming from. Instead of trying to make the case for public financing, the question should be, how can we nothave it?
Public financing models exist across the country already, and leveling the playing field in campaign resources leads to greater parity in spending. Instead of topping the other candidate in fundraising, an aspiring office holder could focus their time on talking to voters and getting their support, not hide behind marketing.
While making my film PAY 2 PLAY I met a candidate for office whose words stuck with me. Surya Yalamanchili, who took no PAC money or party money while running for Congress, observed:
“You talk to most people, whether they’re Democrats or whether they’re Republicans, they want to talk about fiscal responsibility. And everybody agrees the government spends to much and they waste all this money. Then you look at the elections, and you look at them raising millions of dollars, and you look at these fancy campaign headquarters, and all of this, and you say, ‘Wait a minute! Don’t you guys see there’s a disconnect here? You applaud the people putting in hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own money and running these campaigns that could probably be more a lot more efficient, and then you’re expecting them when they go to Washington to all of the sudden be fiscally responsible?’ It’s a joke.”
Candidates should have to make their case with equal resources and opportunity, not by exploiting flaws in our system. Today’s edition of Activist Comics highlights the disinfectant aspect of public financing for campaigns, because corruption thrives when politicians try to reward their donors by gouging away at what their predecessors built. Make all candidates super heroes with public campaign financing.