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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: April 26, 2022 11:53 AM
From: Representative Kevin J. Boyle
To: All House members
Subject: Small Dollar Financing of State Legislative Campaigns

The 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. FEC, opened the door for corporations and political action committees (PACs) to spend big money on elections, at both the national and the state level.  Since then, super PAC spending on elections has surged, from just $63 million in 2010 to a record high of $1.1 billion in 2016 – and that’s just for federal elections. Pennsylvania has not escaped this phenomenon. During 2021, not even a major election year in Pennsylvania, a total of $308.6 million was spent on donations to Pennsylvania state candidates and PACs, with the top 10 donors accounting for a whopping $22.1 million in contributions.

With that amount of money changing hands, the individuals and corporations donating are bound to have influence over candidates once they get elected. What’s more, candidates without much personal wealth or backing from large corporations or PACs may struggle to gain traction or get their name out to voters. In an effort to level the playing field for candidates who receive primarily small-dollar donations,  I plan to introduce legislation that would create a small dollar public financing program. This program would support Pennsylvania General Assembly candidates that have received at least $10,000 in small-donor donations, which are contributions ranging in value from $1 to $200. The program would provide payments to candidates equal to 600 percent of the amount they received in small donor contributions. There would be an upper limit in place so that no one candidate receives too much funding from the program. The program would be funded by a surcharge imposed on top of any fine levied as part of a criminal conviction, settlement, or civil or administrative penalty against a business entity in Pennsylvania.

Please join me in reducing corporate influence on General Assembly campaigns and attracting quality candidates to serve our Commonwealth.

Introduced as HB2624