Corporations and mega-donors have too much influence over who can run for office, the issues they debate, who wins, and the public policies they produce. And they certainly understand how important Maryland elections are.
Preliminary analysis by Common Cause Maryland of the 2010 election cycle shows the
increasing role of big money in these localized elections:
Candidates for the state Senate on average spent $95,000 and candidates for the House of Delegates spent $47,000.
Candidates for the Howard County Council raised between $44,000 and $182,000; an average of $95,505. The County Executive raised over $1.4 million.
It doesn't have to be this way. In county government and the legislature, we can create a system that empowers small dollar donors in the political system and makes elected officials accountable to the people that elected them, not their special interest donors.
Small donor incentive programs would put the citizens of our state back in charge of elections. It has the potential to significantly reform Maryland politics. Here's how:
Cut the corrupting influence of large campaign contributions out of our democracy.
Allow incumbent legislators to spend more time focusing on big issues and the needs of their constituents.
Help ensure that policies adopted by legislators are more in line with the public's preferences.
Increase citizen participation in elections.