This bill would reform the way that Congressional elections are financed by allowing certain House candidates to earn grants, matching funds, and television vouchers based on small-dollar contributions they receive rather than relying on larger donors. House candidates could choose to participate in this voluntary public financing system, but they would have to agree to limit their campaign spending to what they receive from small-dollar contributions (defined as less than $150 per donor) and money provided by the Fair Elections Fund.
During a primary, small-dollar contributions would be subject to a 6-to-1 match up to a certain cap, and once that cap is reached candidates could raise an unlimited amount of $150 or less contributions. Candidates would also receive a base grant that’s proportional to their state’s population. In a general election candidates would get an additional grant, continued small-dollar contribution matching, and media vouchers to buy television advertising while raising an unlimited amount of $150 contributions.
Funding for this campaign finance system would come from a .05 percent fee assessed on annual federal contracts over $10 million in value, though the fee would be capped at $500,000 per year for larger contracts.
A new type of political action committee (PAC) would be created called a “People PAC” which can only receive contributions of $150 or less from individuals, which could make donations of up to $5,000 per election to a candidate that’s qualified for Fair Elections funding. Standard federal PACs are able to accept up to $5,000 per year in donations from individuals, while Super PACs can accept unlimited contributions.
People would be able to utilize a new “My Voice Tax Credit” to encourage individuals to make small donations to political campaigns. The maximum tax refund an individual could receive would be limited at $25, while joint filers could get $50. Only people who contribute less than $300 to a candidate or political party in a given year would be eligible for the tax refund.