A Few Small Repairs
Here's the coverage from the New York Times on yesterday's introduction of a bill to fix the presidential public financing system. It covers the highlights of the bill's proposal and includes a statement from lead Senate sponsor, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI).Feingold spoke to the value of the public financing program over the last three decades and to the importance of this bipartisan effort to repair it:“This bill is designed to update and repair the presidential public funding system that has served our nation well for over a generation but is in desperate need of revision,” Mr. Feingold said. “Let me just say how happy I also am that this is truly a bipartisan and bicameral effort. Recent history has clearly shown that campaign finance reform is a uniquely difficult area of which to legislate and bipartisan work is absolutely essential to moving forward.”Here are the major provisions of the bill: * Increasing the amount of matching funds for the primary races from a 1:1 match of public funds to individual contributions up to $250 to 4:1 up to $200 of an individual’s contribution. The match jumps to 5:1 if a participating candidate is in the race after April 1 of an election year. * Eliminating per-state spending limits and doubles the overall spending limit from $50 million to $100 million, with an additional $50 million allowed after April 1. * Making funds available to participating candidates six months before the first presidential primary instead of Jan. 1. * New rules allowing for more funds for a participating candidate if they’re running against one using private funds. * Forcing campaigns to identify all contribution bundlers, not just lobbyists like the current law. * Increasing the income tax check-off to finance the public system from $3 to $10 for individuals and from $6 to $20 for a married couple, indexing these amounts for inflation. This could make available $600 million over four years, Senator Collins said.