Politics

DC Council Takes Shot At Mayor With New ‘Fair Elections’ Legislation

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Several members of the District of Columbia council introduced legislation Tuesday that will create a public financing system for future elections in the city.

The legislation came in response to a Super PAC organized by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s supporters that is raising unlimited amounts of money from businesses and individuals who do business in Washington.

“Public financing of campaigns would give greater voice to all voters and reduce the disproportionate influence of big donors in D.C. politics,” Grosso said in introducing the bill.

If the bill passes, the city government will match any campaign donation up to $100 for candidates in local elections. In order to be eligible for public campaign financing, candidates will need to meet a certain threshold of small donations from D.C. residents.

“This legislation will allow District residents to rise above big-money special interests in politics,” says council member Brianne Nadeau. “I support this bill because matching small donations with public funds helps give more power and influence to the people.”

Under the proposed bill, a new office will be created within the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability to oversee campaign finance laws and public financing.

Around 40 different organizations joined with the council members to form the DC Fair Elections Coalition. The group is in the process of collecting signatures on a petition to support the legislation.

The new bill is the second introduced by Grosso in response to FreshPAC, the PAC established by Bowser supporters. In October, Grosso and more than half of the other council members introduced a bill that will close the loophole that brought the PAC into existence.

Under current city law, political action committees can raise an unlimited amount of money during non-election years, as long as the PAC doesn’t directly coordinate with the candidate.

Following a deluge of bad publicity and threats from the council, the PAC announced in November it will disband and return the more than $300,000 it had already raised in donations.

Most of the $300,000 donated to the PAC came from corporations and developers who do business with the city or who would like to start.

Several developers actively bidding for parts of the city’s revamping of the Southwest Waterfront donated $10,000 or more. Three other men appointed to boards by Bowser also donated $10,000 each to the PAC.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.