During the campaign for the at-large special election in April, then-candidate Bryan Weaver often spoke of the need for significant ethics and campaign reform in the District. Far-reaching changes were so important, Weaver noted at one candidate forum, that city officials should just consider blowing up the existing system and starting over.
Maybe things won’t be that dramatic, but a raft of proposals and ideas that have emerged in recent months point to a potential overhaul of the District’s laws governing everything from campaign finance to how elections are run and who investigates ethical transgressions.
Last week, a local D.C. fundraiser, Bernard Demczuk, wrote an op-ed in the Post in which he pledged to stop raising money for local candidates unless campaign and elections rules were tightened up to avoid some of the scandals we’re seeing today. Demczuk proposed making it harder for candidates to jump into local races by increasing the number of signatures they’d have to collect (citywide candidates would have to gather 6,000 instead of the current 2,000, while ward-based candidates would need 2,000 instead of the current 500). He also suggested that every candidate that gets on the ballot receive $25,000 in public funds for their campaign, that all private contributions be limited to $25 (currently contribution limits stand at $1,000) and that terms be extended from four to five years to allow elected officials to settle in and learn how to govern.
[Continue reading Martin Austermuhle’s post at DCist.com.]