Lawmakers Propose New Campaign Finance Rules
By Philip Rucker
A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation today that would create a voluntary public campaign financing system that would provide federal money to candidates who adhere to strict limits on other sources of campaign cash.
Advocates, including "Law & Order" actor Sam Waterston, were in Washington last week rallying support for the measure, which they said would ban contributions from lobbyists to candidates that join the public financing system. But the bill introduced today does not include such a ban.
"We thought it was included in the bill and we just had our signals crossed with the sponsors' offices," said David Donnelly, national campaigns director for Public Campaign Action Fund, the advocacy group campaigning with Waterston.
The proposed overhaul of campaign finance law, called "Fair Elections Now," was introduced by Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and Rep. John. B. Larson (Conn.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
Under the proposal, participating candidates must limit their campaign spending to only funds raised from small donors and matching public funds.
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