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Civic Cocktails: Empowering Small Donors

  • Madhatter 1319 Connecticut Avenue Northwest Washington, DC, 20036 United States (map)


6:00 - 6:30 pm: Get settled & Meet people. Order food and drinks.

6:30 - 8:00 pm: Discussion about the Fair Elections Bill. We will have members of our Reforming Elections Committee with other members of the DC Fair Elections Coalition to talk about the bill, where it is in Council, and answer your questions.

About or Topic: Empowering Small Donors

What is the issue?

Millions of small donors now participate in campaigns, giving citizens of modest means the ability to wield tremendous power over elections and government. Yet the same is true of wealthy contributors, and they have much more money to spend. In the “race” between the small donors empowered by the Internet and the big money empowered by the U.S. Supreme Court, the big donors are winning.

The most effective public financing systems match small contributions with public funds, thereby lessening candidates’ reliance on big money donors, while also expanding and diversifying the donor pool.  Matching small donations could allow a wider spectrum of candidates to run competitive campaigns with contributions from average citizens.

The Legislation

The Fair Elections Act of 2017, B22-0192, is a small donor empowerment program providing limited public matching funds at a 5:1 ratio to candidates who agree not to accept contributions over $100. This system would put voters back in the driver’s seat of our elections by allowing candidates relying on small donors to compete with big money candidates. Instead of dialing for dollars in search of the biggest checks, candidates could fund their campaigns by appealing to everyday constituents. 

The bill was co-introduced by Councilmembers Grosso, Cheh, Silverman, Allen, R. White, Nadeau, McDuffie, T. White, and Chairman Mendelson, and co-sponsored by Councilmember Anita Bonds on March 21, 2017.  A public hearing of the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety is scheduled on June 29, 2017.

If you are interested in adding your voice to support (or oppose) the bill, we will have several ways you can get involved and make your voice heard.

Interested in joining us? Let us know!

Participation in Civic Cocktails is free and open to the public.

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Earlier Event: June 13
June New Citizen Voter Registration
Later Event: June 22
National Council 2017