Montgomery Council Refining Local Public Campaign Finance Bill

While efforts stalled prior to the summer recess, a committee of the Montgomery County Council met yesterday to discuss and approve a series of amendments to legislation that would create a system of  public campaign financing in the county. One amendment reversed an original provision in the bill.

As reported by the Washington Post:

By a 2-to-1 vote, the council’s government operations committee reversed a provision in the bill that would allow only Montgomery County residents to make campaign contributions that could be matched with public money. The amendment, offered by council member Hans Riemer (D-At-Large) would allow residents outside of Montgomery and the state of Maryland to contribute.

Council Member Riemer stated that allowing campaign contributions from residents outside the county could assist first time candidates for office who may rely on friends and family elsewhere in the State.  The legislation’s sponsor, Council Member Phil Andrews, disagrees with the change stating it will dilute the purpose of the bill which is to expand participation in the county.

The bill, which could go before the full council next week,

…would allow donors to leverage individual contributions of up to $150 with a system of matching public money. Candidates for county executive and County Council who opt into the voluntary system — by raising a certain amount of seed money in small donations — would have the first $50 of each contribution matched at the highest ratio: 6 to 1 for county executive contenders and 4 to 1 for council candidates. The next $50 increments would be matched at lower ratios.