Public Financing of Campaigns: People-Powered Elections

Public financing of campaigns are programs that provide public funds to help candidates run for office. In exchange, candidates voluntarily agree to meet certain qualifications and adhere to various restrictions. They can be used to fund candidates for a local city council all the way up to the President of the United States. Funding is determined by the jurisdiction; sometimes funding comes out of the general fund and sometimes it is paid for by a specific revenue source, like a parcel tax. Numerous states and cities have enacted public financing such as Arizona, Maine, New York City, Los Angeles City, and Seattle. There are a number of public financing systems, small donor matching funds, vouchers and clean money.