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Small Donor Matching System Bill Passes State Senate

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via – The Beachwood Reporter

“The Illinois Senate voted 31-23 to lessen the influence of big money in Illinois elections by passing Senate Bill 1424. The legislation, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Daniel Biss and championed by good government groups Fair Elections Illinois, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, and Illinois Public Interest Research Group, would create a small donor matching system, wherein candidates would be eligible to receive public matching funds for small contributions by voluntarily agreeing to forgo big money and corporate contributions. A similar system has existed in New York City for decades and has been adopted by other jurisdictions in recent years.

“After Citizens United, there is little we can do to limit candidates funding their campaigns by relying on a small number of mega-donors” said Illinois PIRG director Abe Scarr. “However, we can level the playing field by raising the voices of ordinary Americans through small donor matching programs. Small donor matching programs allow candidates who have broad support from voters but don’t have access to, or choose not to curry favor with, big money to compete and win against big money candidates.”

Public opinion polls consistently find that voters of all political backgrounds want to reduce the influence of big money in politics. Seventeen states have passed resolutions urging congress to take action to amend the constitution to overturn Citizens United, including Illinois where it passed with bipartisan support. Amending the constitution is a long and difficult process, and small donor programs allow cities and states to act now to lessen the influence of big money in elections.”

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