”Public financing is the difference between being able to go out and spend your time talking with voters, meeting with groups, . . . traveling to communities that have been under-represented in the past, as opposed to being on the phone selling tickets to a $250 a plate fundraiser.”
How It Works
Stage 1: Seed Money
A candidate may raise a limited amount of private contributions in small amounts (usually a maximum of $100 per contributor) called seed money. Seed money covers the expenses of trying to qualify for public money, such as printing up campaign literature, covering travel expenses and setting up a campaign telephone number.
Stage 2: Qualifying Contributions
To qualify for public campaign money, a candidate gathers a set number of signatures and qualifying contributions of exactly $5 each from residents or voters of the district in which the candidate is running. Qualifying contributions are forwarded to the Clean Money fund.
Stage 3: Agree to Spending and Fund-Raising Limits
The candidate agrees to strict spending limits and agrees not to raise any private money other than seed money and qualifying contributions, and to abide by strict administrative controls.
Stage 4: Funds Provided to Qualified Candidates
Each qualified candidate for the same office receives the same baseline amount of money. If Clean candidates are outspent by a traditionally funded opponent or if independent groups run ads or mailings attacking them or supporting an opponent, they receive matching funds, dollar for dollar, up to a cap. Clean candidates may not raise or spend additional money beyond what they receive from the fund.