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Michael Brown Wants Publicly Financed Council Races

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D.C. Council member Michael Brown will introduce legislation to publicly finance political campaigns in the District.
Mallory Noe-Payne
D.C. Council member Michael Brown will introduce legislation to publicly finance political campaigns in the District.

D.C. Council member Michael Brown, who recently disclosed that more than $100,000 was stolen from his campaign bank account, wants the city to consider publicly funded elections. 

Brown is introducing legislation to study public financing and craft a model that could be put in place for the 2016 elections, he says. He's suggesting D.C. mirror New York City's public financing system with it's "small donor match" program.

"The New York City program works like this: it matches every dollar of the first $175 dollars of donations from NYC residents with a six dollar public match," Brown says.

New York's system excludes donations from political action committees, corporations and out of area residents, and sets guidelines for which candidates can qualify and how the money is to be spent. 

"This approach has been very successful at increasing the power of small donors and has brought more residents into the process," he says.

Brown, who's an at-large member of the D.C. Council, is running for reelection in November. 

Earlier this year, he alleged that someone on his campaign embezzled more than $110,000 dollars from his campaign's bank account. Authorities are investigating but no arrests have been made. An audit of Brown's 2008 campaign also found issues, including more $150,000 in unreported expenditures.

While Brown fully expects others to bring up what he calls "the recent issues" relating to his campaign finances, he says he has been a proponent of public financing for years. 

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