Cleaner Elections in the District?

The District might pass a public campaign financing law (boldface mine):

A bill introduced Tuesday by At-Large Council member David Grosso would match small donations with public funds at a 5-to-1 rate. Under the plan, a $25 donation to a candidate would become $125. To qualify for the matching funds, candidates would need to meet certain thresholds and accept lower contribution limits.

The concept is called small donor public financing. Jurisdictions from Maine to Seattle have recently passed similar bills. As Council member Grosso explains, it’s part of an effort to combat the rise of SuperPACs and other outside groups that are pouring millions of dollars into local elections…

Key details of the program — such as how it will be funded — still need to be figured out. But nearly half the council has signed on to support the bill.

Local good-government groups are also backing the bill. Forty groups have joined the DC Fair Elections coalition to support the effort.

I’m not really concerned with how D.C. would pay for this: at most were talking about some millions of dollars which isn’t even one percent of the city budget. That’s a price worth paying.

But what will be really important is what actions would disqualify someone from gaining this money. Hopefully, shenanigans like those pulled by Mayor Bowser recently, where she set up a political action committee that exploited a loophole to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend against council members who opposed her, would disqualify someone from the matching funds.

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