How Clean Money, Clean Elections

Campaign Reform Works

The Clean Money, Clean Elections (CMCE) approach is designed to provide a clear alternative to the current system of raising and spending largely special-interest money to finance election campaigns. It allows qualified candidates to run for public office without compromising their independence since they won’t have to ask for money from those with a vested interest in public policy. The system is completely voluntary and candidates who do not wish to participate are able to raise and spend private money for their campaigns, as they do today.

Qualification — Candidates first must meet ballot access requirements, and then must meet the eligibility threshold for Clean Money funding. Most CMCE proposals require candidates to collect, during a pre-defined qualifying period, a prescribed number of signatures and $5 qualifying contributions from registered voters in their state or district. To cover minor costs during the qualifying period, candidates are permitted to raise a limited amount of seed money from private sources in amounts not exceeding $100 per contributor.

Primary funding — Candidates who meet CMCE requirements and agree not to raise or spend private money during the primary and general election campaign periods receive a set amount of money from the Clean Money fund.

General election funding — Candidates who win their party primaries and qualifying independent candidates who agree to the voluntary restrictions receive a set amount of general election funding from the Clean Elections, Clean Money fund.

Non-participating candidates and independent expenditures — In order to maintain a financially level playing field, Clean Money, Clean Elections candidates who are outspent by privately financed opponents, or targeted by independent expenditures, are entitled to a limited amount of matching funds.