Money in Politics Reform Victory!

This measure, approved by the voters on November 6th, 2018, authorizes the creation of a fund to provide for public campaign financing for city candidates and a commission to oversee the public financing program.

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Baltimore is part of the biggest wave of anti-corruption reform in US history.

Question H, Charter Amendment:
Fair Election Fund

Baltimore Public Financing Bill: Matching Funds Small Donor System

Check out the Story: The Baltimore City Council unanimously passed Council Bill 18-0229, a charter amendment that supporters say is designed to limit big money’s influence in Baltimore politics by offering candidates a way to leverage the money they raise in smaller amounts from citizens. The bill’s approval means the council has cleared a major hurdle in creating a “Fair Elections Fund” and a commission to control it.

Citylab: The charter amendment calls for the creation of a fair elections fund commission, and a matching program that would be implemented in 2024—inspired by record-breaking spending in Baltimore’s 2016 election, in which $9 million total was spent between the mayoral candidates. More than $2 million of it was spent by the winner, Mayor Pugh.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for folks to run competitive races,” Baltimore councilman Kristerfer Burnett, the bill’s lead sponsor, told the Baltimore Sun. “You don’t want money to be the barrier keeping people with good ideas out of a race.”

Scale: Municipal
Type: Legislative
Category: Money in Politics/Ethics
Policy Summary: Public Campaign Financing
Status: Legislation was introduced in April 2018, and is on the ballot in November’s general election, as all amendments to the City Charter must be approved by voters.

Read the full text of Bill 18-0229.