All eight members of the Montgomery County Council signed on to member Phil Andrews’s bill to allow public financing for local elections, reports The Washington Post.
The legislation would leverage small individual contributions of up to $150 with a system of matching funds. Andrews (D-Rockville-Gaithersburg), who is running for the county executive position, said at a news conference that the goal is to bring more small donors into the county’s political process and enable candidates with limited resources to mount competitive campaigns for county council or county executive.
If approved, the change would take effect starting with the cycle leading to the 2018 county elections, according to the council’s website. The system would be voluntary.
To use the public system candidates would have to establish a public account and the raise these minimums in financing: $40,000 for county executive; $20,000 for council at-large; and $10,000 for council district.
The maximum individual donation would be $150. No PAC money or corporate donations would be allowed, the newspaper says. Once a candidate met the threshold, matches would kick in, with the first $50 from each donor generating the most value.