Baltimore voters will decide this fall whether the city should allow public funding of local election campaigns and create an independent inspector general’s office. Mayor Catherine E. Pugh signed the two charter amendment proposals on Monday. Voters will be asked whether they support the measures at the polls in November. The City Council voted unanimously this month to place the amendments on the ballot. Supporters say the public financing amendment would limit the influence of wealthy donors and special-interest groups on Baltimore politics. If voters support it, the city will create a Fair Elections Fund and a commission to control it. Read more from the Baltimore Sun.
Baltimore is one step closer to allowing public financing of local election campaigns. The City Council unanimously passed a charter amendment Monday that supporters say is designed to limit big money’s influence in Baltimore politics by offering candidates a way to leverage the money they raise in smaller amounts from citizens. The bill’s approval means the council has cleared a major hurdle in creating a “Fair Elections Fund” and a commission to control it. The legislation still needs the mayor’s support before it can be placed on the ballot in November’s general election. All amendments to the City Charter must be approved by voters. Read more from the Baltimore Sun.
Montgomery County became the first jurisdiction in Maryland to employ a voluntary system of public campaign financing in this year’s elections, and the results in the Democratic primaries show just how effective it is. Six of the nine Democratic nominees for County Council used public financing, as did Mark Elrich, who has a razor-thin lead in the Democratic primary for county executive over businessman David Blair, who spent $3 million of his own money on the race. Candidates who use public financing aren’t beholden to deep-pocketed campaign contributors. They can spend time talking to voters, not begging for money. And the voters clearly responded. Read the full Editorial from the Baltimore Sun.
More than 30 groups sent letters Friday asking Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh to support a City Council bill that would provide public financing for local campaigns. The council on Monday is set to pass an amendment to the City Charter to establish the “Fair Elections Fund” and a commission to govern it. If approved, the bill would be sent to Pugh. With her support, it would be put to the voters in November. Jews United for Justice, the League of Women Voters of Baltimore City, Maryland PIRG, Maryland Working Families and more than two dozen other groups called on Pugh to help set up a small-donor campaign finance system. Read more from the Baltimore Sun.
OpEd in the Baltimore Sun from Emily Scarr and Jay Hutchins: With a mailbox full of attack ads and too many candidates who are funded by big-donors, corporations and out-of-staters, it’s easy to feel that government doesn’t work for us. But, there is a reason to be optimistic about the future of Baltimore’s democracy. Last week, the Baltimore City Council cast a preliminary vote to put the Baltimore Fair Elections Fund and commission on November’s ballot. This unanimous vote struck a blow to politics as usual and is step No. 1 toward fixing our broken democracy. The Baltimore Fair Elections Fund would provide matching funds for small donations to qualifying candidates who reject all large and corporate contributions. This would enable candidates to run competitive campaigns based on support from…
End big money’s dominance of Baltimore politics. That was the message the Baltimore City Council sent Monday night when its 15 members voted unanimously to create a fund to provide public financing for local campaigns. The public financing bill is designed to diminish the influence that wealthy political donors — such as developers, law firms and corporations — have over races for Baltimore mayor and City Council, said its lead sponsor, Councilman Kris Burnett. The legislation would create a fund that would provide matching public money for small-dollar contributions to candidates to create a more-even playing field against better-financed opponents. Read more from the Baltimore Sun.
WHAT: Press Conference announcing formation of the Baltimore Fair Elections Coalition, ahead of Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee vote on Fair Election Commission Charter Amendment WHEN: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 ~ 4:00 p.m. (hearing at 5:00) WHERE: Baltimore City Council Lobby ~ 100 N. Holliday Street (4th Floor) WHO: The Baltimore Fair Elections Coalition, Councilman Kristerfer Burnett, Emily Scarr (Maryland PIRG), Mr. Hassan Giordano, Baltimore City Council Co-sponsors WHY: To call on members of the Baltimore City Council to pass CB 18-0229, establishing a Fair Election Commission in order to reform campaign finance laws in Baltimore City. BACKROUND: Baltimore, Maryland – On Wednesday, June 20, 2018, at 5:00pm, the members of the Baltimore City Council’s Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee will hold a public hearing regarding CB 18-0229 which would…
In an attempt to diminish the influence of wealthy political donors and force candidates to spend more time talking to voters, a Baltimore City Council member introduced legislation Monday to establish a system of public financing for city campaigns. Councilman Kristerfer Burnett’s charter amendment bill is the first step toward creating a fund that would provide matching public funds for money individual donors contribute to candidates. Read more from the Baltimore Sun!
22 of the 38 candidates competing for a Montgomery County Council at-large seat have filed to use the small donor public financing program! Check out Bethesda Magazine to learn more about the candidates using the program.
hen Prince George’s County Council member Mary Lehman (District 1) first ran for an open seat on the council in 2010, she didn’t know the first thing about funding a campaign. She figured she could reach out to family members and friends for the money she needed to run. “I really didn’t think beyond that what my strategy would be,” she said. She was told she’d probably need $45,000-$50,000 for the election, a figure that seemed “daunting” to her. Because she didn’t want to feel beholden to big contributors, she wound up spending about $20,000 of her own money to get elected. But she understands that’s not an option for a lot of people. So, she’s introducing legislation this week to establish a “Fair Election Fund” that would enable political…