About a week ago, I publicly asked readers whether the idea of a gift ban, a proposal that has taken on a bipartisan momentum since the revelation of corruption among numerous Philadelphia politicians, was enough to fix our political system. I wondered whether this was the opportunity for legislative allies in Harrisburg to propose seriously the idea of campaign finance reform. I guess either I spoke too soon, or I have far more influence than any 24 year old should have on the public political process!
As ABC27, the Harrisburg affiliate reports, State Senator Daylin Leach (D – 17) is calling for publicly funded elections, something that has been very popular with citizens in New York City and in 25 states other than Pennsylvania.
In a statement released Friday, Leach said, “there is a problem in our system of government when a candidate for office must either know wealthy donors or be one. 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.”
If Leach’s proposal becomes law, there would be a “Clean Election Fund”, open to candidates seeking office in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, the Pennsylvania State Senate, as a gubernatorial candidate, an auditor general candidate, an attorney general candidate, or treasurer candidate. Each candidate would need to raise a certain number of $5 donations, based on benchmarks for each level of office, and once they met that requirement, they’d receive a certain amount of public financing from the fund. Once this public financing is received, candidates and their respective committees and campaigns would not be able to seek financing for the duration of their campaign.
Leach’s bill is circulating for potential co-sponsors.