A Campaign Finance Reform Plan That Might Actually Work
By early July, Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., had quietly garnered 160 co-sponsors and the support of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for a bill that would use public funds to counter expenditures on political campaigns by wealthy donors.
A companion bill in the Senate introduced by Dick Durbin, D-Ill., has 19 co-sponsors.
Jon Schwarz at The Intercept says the Sarbanes bill has three main parts:
• Everyone gets $25 to donate to candidates
All voters receive $25 per year to give to political campaigns, provided in the form of a refundable tax credit equal to half of donations up to $50. (For instance, if you donate $30 to a candidate, you get $15 of that back; to get the full $25 you have to donate $50.)
• 6 to 1 matching funds (at least) for small donors
Donations up to $150 to qualifying House and Senate candidates are matched 6 to 1 with public money. In other words, if your next door neighbor is running for Congress and you give her $50, she’ll get another $300, making $350 total.
And donations are matched 9 to 1 for candidates who completely renounce big money and take only donations of $150 or less. So if your neighbor is willing to do that, your $50 donation would turn into $500 total for her. (Moreover, if you use your $25 tax credit, that $500 she received would only cost you $25 total.)
• Help for candidates facing an onslaught of SuperPAC money, dark money, etc.
Candidates would be eligible for enhanced matching funds in the last 60 days before an election, with incentives so they would only access the funds if it’s a particularly high-cost race.
— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.WAIT, BEFORE YOU GO…
If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.
Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.