"Outsized political influence by wealthy corporations and individuals has discouraged everyday Americans from participating in the political process. In the 2014 election, the top 100 campaign donors alone spent nearly as much as all 4.75 million small donors combined. Meanwhile, 2014 also marked the first time in almost a quarter century that the total number of donors reported to have given to political campaigns decreased from the prior midterm election.
The current system creates disincentives for voters to feel like their participation matters and for candidates to focus more of their attention on regular voters. It also sets up barriers to ordinary people with extraordinary ideas seeking elective office and serving their country, especially women and people of color. Clinton believes we need a system that empowers all citizens to fully participate and have their voices heard. She will… [e]stablish a small donor matching system for presidential and congressional candidates that will incentivize small donors to participate in elections and candidates to spend more time engaging a broad, representative cross-section of constituents, and will include: Matching funds for small donations... [and] Lower contribution limits."
Source: Hillary for America, "Hillary Clinton's Proposals to Restore Integrity to American Elections," hillaryclinton.com (accessed Jan. 21, 2016)
"[U]ltimately, we need to have a system of public funding [of election campaigns], and the way that can be affordable is by making the public airwaves free for public purpose. The minute you do that, the bottom falls out of campaign funding. It’s no longer needed, and they can raise all the money in the world that they want, but they don’t have an advantage for it. We could solve this problem in a heartbeat, but you can’t solve it unless you also democratize the airwaves and make them a tool for democracy and for educating the public about things that matter, like elections. The minute you do that, the funding campaigns go away. It’s totally within arm’s reach."
Source: Candice Bernd, "Q & A with Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein," ecowatch.com, June 30, 2015
"No. Absolutely not. Any sort of public financing empowers incumbency. Any sort of limiting of campaign contributions, any sort of public funding, is just going to give advantage to those who already have a name.”
Source: Phone Interview with ProCon.org, June 14, 2016
"[Kyle] CHAPMAN: Pork-barreling is a term that I learned recently. And it just kind of refers to the idea of how big donors get rewarded with government projects and public contracts. What do you think about the idea of publicly financed campaigns in order to try to curtail that kind of activity?
TRUMP: Enh, I think it's fine but you know, it's the least of our problems."
Source: Jon Schwarz, "Trump Responds to Idea of Public Campaign Financing with an 'Enh,'" theintercept.com, Aug. 6, 2015
(Candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria appear below in black and white and in alphabetical order.)
"Real campaign finance reform must happen as soon as possible. That is why we must overturn, through a constitutional amendment, the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision as well as the Buckley v. Valeo decision. That is why we need to pass legislation to require wealthy individuals and corporations who make large campaign contributions to disclose where their money is going. More importantly, it is why we need to move toward the public funding of elections...
AS PRESIDENT, I WILL...
Fight for a publicly financed, transparent system of campaign financing that amplifies small donations, along the lines of the Fair Elections Now Act that I have been pleased to co-sponsor, and an effective public financing system for president."
Source: Bernie 2016, "Getting Big Money out of Politics and Restoring Democracy," berniesanders.com (accessed Mar. 7, 2016)
"Prohibit nothing, disclose everything, and disclose it on the spot and let the voters make up their mind… If you want to beat me up for having taken a check from someone, ok, do it. If somebody wants to give you a lot of money, give it to the campaign. Let the candidate stand up and say 'Yes, Joe Scarborough wrote me a $25 million check and I'm a wholly owned subsidiary of Joe Scarborough. That would be less disingenuous than what we have now which is this utter separation, no coordination which sometimes doesn’t even work in favor of the candidate."
Source: Ben Kamisar, "Huckabee Bashes Campaign Finance System," thehill.com, June 2, 2015
"I believe, that as long as it's being disclosed [campaign contributions], the people have a right to participate in our political process, and that includes firms that have an interest, and that includes individuals who have an interest."
Source: Lydia Wheeler, "Where the 2016 Candidates Stand on Money in Politics," thehill.com, Feb. 15, 2016
"First of all we did campaign finance reform with McCain-Feingold [Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002]. Now we have a campaign finance system that we don't like. It's like every time we change it, we have this system, then we don't like that system and we have to change [to] another one. I think campaign finance has to constantly be looked at and I don't like a system where, frankly, billionaires can decide who will be the next president. I don't like that…. Let me just suggest this to you. We can have all of these rules. It's hearts we need to change. It's not rules… We can have these sort of legalistic changes and I'm all in favor of constructive ones. But it's all about what is going on up here [points to his head]. Whether you're more interested in serving, than you are in serving yourself or worrying about re-elections."
Source: Olivia Zink, "Kasich: 'I Do Not Like a System Where Billionaires Decide,'" gui.afsc.org, May 8, 2015