Action alert: Study the details. Advise your Congressperson.

Re: Public Finance bill to be introduced in Congress

KW: Evidently, some time this week, there will be a bill introduced into Congress about public financing of congressional campaigns. Public financing is wonderful, if it is done fairly. Many times it is not. Congressman Steve Israel a few years back had introduced one that was particuarly unfair to third parties. Third party activists and people who care about the nuts and bolts of democracy should keep an eye on this bill. To start with, it appears it will have a $50,000 minimum. That would cut out most small, third parties from using this program. That’s a shame.

from Ballot Access News
Public Funding of Congressional Candidates
March 24th, 2009

A bill will be introduced in Congress within a week to provide for public funding for candidates for Congress, according to this Washington Post story of March 23. The sponsors will be Senators Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) and Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) in the Senate, and John B. Larson (D-Connecticut) in the House.

The article does not say if the bill will disregard the partisan affiliation of candidates or not. The Clean Elections laws in Maine and Arizona do not discriminate for or against candidates based on the partisan affiliation of those candidates. But past bills for public funding in Congress have had separate rules, depending on whether the candidate is a Democrat or Republican, on the one hand, or an independent or a minor party member.  The bill will provide public funding for U.S. House candidates who raise at least $50,000 from at least 1,500 residents of their own district.

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