How to empower small campaign donors

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Jonathan Alter looks at a proposal by Adam Skaggs and Fred Wertheimer to strengthen the impact of small donors in the face of big donors and so-called super PACs.

“Once millions of small donors have a little skin in the game, they’re much more likely to assist with registration and get-out-the-vote efforts. This willingness to help can’t be purchased by super-PACs at any price.”

The plan: “Contributions of $250 or less would be matched by federal funds at a 5-to-1 ratio. Thus, $250 would yield $1,250, which would be the upper limit on allowable contributions for the candidates who participate… The system would require a certain threshold of in-state donations to encourage local participation and would be capped at $2 million for a House campaign and $10 million for a Senate race. The total price — $700 million a year — is an enormous bargain for taxpayers because the changes would help prevent big donors from buying tens of billions in tax breaks, subsidies and other favors.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.