Dana Beyer, MD

Our campaign finance system needs reform. The Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2013 created more trouble than it repaired. It created a new class of PACs called the “Legislative Party Caucus Committee." Central Committees can now create “Administrative Accounts” to fund “non-electoral” causes.

Beginning in 2015, personal contribution limits increased from $4,000 to $6,000 for any single campaign account, and from $10,000 to $24,000 in aggregate. State Central Committees or LPC's have single candidate limits of $1 for every voter in the state, while local Central Committees are limited to $1 for every voter in the County, and which will be linked to the CPI in 2019.

One positive advance - the law allows counties and local jurisdictions the opportunity to develop public campaign finance systems. This season Montgomery County’s is fully funded and being broadly used, and Howard County is planning on joining during the next cycle. That’s a start, but it applies only to local races, not state ones.

The need to raise money to campaign makes it harder for candidates to concentrate on getting out the vote and discussing the issues. And for elected officials the dinners and other perks at best lead to subtle bias and at worst to legislation that benefits corporate interests over public interests. An official who has been elected with public financing owes her seat to the public, not to corporate interests.

Fixing the campaign finance system in the state will go a long way to restoring the state to the control of the people’s representatives. I will work to pass a public campaign finance bill similar to the better ones introduced repeatedly over the past six years. I will also work to reform election law, including the referendum process with which I have been closely involved, and the management of elections in the state and the county. We cannot afford confusion and mediocrity when it comes to the fundamentals of our system of representative democracy. The voters of Maryland demand it.