D.C. Council member David Grosso is seeking a radical makeover for the city's troubled campaign finance system, but says the details still need to be hashed out.
Grosso envisions a four-to-one matching system for small donations — $100 or less, which means if a candidate received a $50 contribution, the city would match it with $200.
"This is another way to get more people engaged," he says. "They will think their donation is more important and have more value, and more people will step up and run for office because they wont see raising the money as some huge hurdle."
Critics might question why taxpayers would want to help fund campaigns when there is the threat it could be misused.
But Grosso says stronger monitoring and regulation on the money would help prevent finance abuse, as would the increase in the number of candidates.
"You are never going to get rid of criminal acts, but you would have more candidates and hopefully with that, more ethical candidates who come forward," he says.
Candidates would have to meet certain thresholds to qualify, such as obtaining signatures and fundraising.
Grosso is introducing the plan along with Council member Kenyan McDuffie. Hearings on the proposal are scheduled for the fall.