Thursday, June 7, 2007

Sen. Durbin Champions Fair Campaign Funding

Illinois Senator Richard Durbin has proposed an interesting new campaign funding bill. Too often recently, we have seen self-funded candidates simply outspend opponents. At other times, we have seen campaigns taken over by rich developers and other special interests (as we saw in Chicago). Senator Durbin's bill would give all candidates a fair chance.

According to Senator Durbin, his "Fair Elections Now Act" would have four major components:

  1. Seed Money: Allow candidates to raise a limited amount of seed money, capped at $100 per contributor, to get their campaigns up and running
  2. Qualifying for Public Funds: Candidates must raise a specified number (based on the size of the state) of $5 contributions from residents of their state in order to demonstrate that they are serious, viable candidates
  3. Allocation of Public Funds: Once a candidate qualifies for public funding, he or she is eligible to receive a minimum of $750,000, plus an additional $150,000 for every Congressional District in the state minus one
  4. "Fair Fight" Funds: If a candidate is being outspent by independent expenditures or an opponent who has refused public financing, the law would match that spending dollar-for-dollar up to 200 percent of the base allocation.

Overall, it appears to be a great approach to a very real problem. It is the kind of reasonable solution that we have come to expect from Senator Durbin.

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