How to empower small campaign donors


Jonathan Alter looks at a proposal by Adam Skaggs and Fred Wertheimer to strengthen the impact of small donors in the face of big donors and so-called super PACs.

“Once millions of small donors have a little skin in the game, they’re much more likely to assist with registration and get-out-the-vote efforts. This willingness to help can’t be purchased by super-PACs at any price.”

The plan: “Contributions of $250 or less would be matched by federal funds at a 5-to-1 ratio. Thus, $250 would yield $1,250, which would be the upper limit on allowable contributions for the candidates who participate… The system would require a certain threshold of in-state donations to encourage local participation and would be capped at $2 million for a House campaign and $10 million for a Senate race. The total price — $700 million a year — is an enormous bargain for taxpayers because the changes would help prevent big donors from buying tens of billions in tax breaks, subsidies and other favors.