News & Politics

Seattle Now Handing Out $100 Vouchers to Give as 'Campaign Contributions'

In this Nov. 12, 2015 photo, Alan Durning, author of an initiative passed by Seattle voters that created the nation’s first voucher system for campaign contributions, poses for a photo in his office in Seattle while holding an artist's depiction of a possible design for the vouchers. Starting with city council and city attorney elections in 2017, and the mayor’s race in 2021, all registered Seattle voters will receive four $25 coupons which they can sign over to candidates for office that meet certain conditions. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Why didn’t Tammany Hall think of this?

Many voters don’t have the money to donate to political candidates or don’t care enough to bother. But what if the government gave them $100 to dole out as they saw fit?

That’s the experiment underway in Seattle after voters this month adopted the nation’s first voucher system for campaign contributions. The idea is to get those who don’t normally donate more involved in politics as a way to counteract the influence of big corporate donors and wealthy individuals.

“We’re very eager to see how it works,” said Michael Malbin, executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute in Washington, D.C. “One of the major problems people have with the political system is that it’s financially controlled by too few people. Nothing’s going to stop wealthy individuals from making independent expenditures, but those will be less powerful if more people are engaged.”

You can always count on the Left to frame their brazen raids on the public (i.e. all of us) treasury in order to recycle money back into their own pockets as a “moral” issue. Fight the evil Koch Brothers with your neighbor’s money! That’ll show ’em!!

Seattle’s voters decided to tax themselves $3 million a year — $6 million for each two-year election cycle — in exchange for four $25 vouchers that they can sign over to candidates for mayor, city council or city attorney, beginning with the council and attorney elections in 2017 and the mayor’s race in 2021.

To be eligible to redeem the vouchers, candidates must collect a threshold number of small-dollar donations and agree to strict spending limits, private contribution limits and participation in at least three debates. The measure, which also bars political giving by some city contractors, passed with 63 percent of the vote.

There really is a sucker born every minute.