Pa. senator wants public financing for election campaigns

A Pennsylvania senator is calling for a program that would provide public money to state political candidates to fund their election campaigns.

State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) said he plans to introduce legislation that would create a Clean Elections Fund.

He said democracy works best when everyone can participate.

“There is a problem in our system of government when a candidate for office must either know wealthy donors or be one,” Leach said in a statement Friday. “This system hurts us all when those who pay for ever pricier elections are perceived to be influencing the officials who represent them in office.”

“I would like to give people the chance to run for office based on the broad public support for their ideas, not the breadth of their supporters' wallets,” he said.

Leach said the Clean Election Fund would allow any candidate running for governor, senator, representative, auditor general, attorney general or state treasurer to receive public funding.

To qualify for the money, a candidate would have to collect a set number of $5 contributions from registered voters within their electoral district.

Each certified candidate would then receive an amount from the fund, determined by the office they are seeking and whether or not they are in a contested race, to run their campaign.

Candidates would not be allowed to seek, collect or spend any other money once they have collected the public financing.

Leach said 25 other states have programs that provide public funds for election campaigns.

He currently is circulating his bill for co-sponsorship.


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