In the Citizens United era, when billionaires and corporations can pour unlimited sums of money into elections to advance their own narrow interests, it is more difficult than ever for average voters to make their voices heard and make a difference in elections.
That’s why Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and David Price (D-NC) have introduced the Empowering Citizens Act, which would enact a public small donor matching program in American elections.
The Act, which builds on a proposal from Democracy 21 and the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, would create a voluntary 5-to-1 public matching program on small contributions of up to $250. It would also cut contribution limits for participating candidates in half, institute a cap on public funds available per race, and strengthen the ineffective rules preventing Super PACs and candidates from coordinating with each other.
Brennan Center for Justice Senior Counsel Adam Skaggs and Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer further explain the program in this video:
Although the Empowering Citizens Act would not prevent party committees or independent groups like Super PACs from spending in elections, it would greatly enhance the public’s role in electing its own government.
For more information on small donor matching programs, see the Brennan Center and Democracy 21’s proposal.