Public financing option for candidates

“Our vision for American democracy is a nation in which all people, regardless of their income, can participate in the political process and can run for office without needing to depend on large contributions from the wealthy and the powerful.” – Democratic Party platform

Our platform also states that:

“We will fight for real campaign finance reform now.”;

“We need to amplify the voices of the American people through a small donor matching public financing system.”; and

“It’s time we give back control of our elections to those to whom it belongs – the American people.”

“The Government by the People Act” (H. R. 20), has been introduced by Representative John Sarbanes (MD).  As of February 13, 2018, it had 159 cosponsors.

This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code and the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) to establish a program for small individual donations to campaigns for public office and make other changes to campaign finance law.

The bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow: (1) individual taxpayers a refundable tax credit of 50% of qualified congressional House campaign contributions (i.e., cash contributions by an individual to a candidate for the House of Representatives or a political committee established and maintained by a national political party, to be known as “My Voice Federal” contributions); and (2) individual taxpayers to designate a portion of any overpayment of tax as a contribution to the Freedom From Influence Fund.

The Government by the People Oversight Commission, established by this bill, shall establish a voucher pilot program to provide voters with a $50 “My Voice Voucher” for making campaign contributions.

The bill amends the FECA to establish a 6-1 matching program for small dollar contributions (up to $150) to a candidate for public office and sets forth eligibility, certification, and expenditure requirements for candidates.

The bill permits unlimited coordinated party expenditures from small donor sources on behalf of publicly financed House candidates.

The bill requires disclosure by all bundlers of bundled contributions (i.e., the practice of combining several small campaign contributions into one large contribution to avoid exceeding the limit on contributions), not just registered lobbyists.

The bill amends the Communications Act of 1934 to expand the access of candidates for public office to broadcasting.