In their Jan. 14 Local Opinions essay criticizing the District's recently passed Fair Elections Act, "Giving more power to the already powerful," David Keating and Thomas Wheatley contended that public financing of political campaigns will not work perfectly and may be subject to abuse. We agree that, as with any campaign finance system, the new act could be subject to abuse — but the abuse is likely to be far less than the continued abuse inherent in the current system.
In fact, based on our study of experiences in other jurisdictions, we are convinced that the Fair Elections Act will achieve three important purposes that are clearly in the public interest: It will help address the widespread perception that big donors unduly influence decisions made by our elected officials; it will allow our elected officials to spend more time developing good public policy and less time raising money; and it will encourage more residents to become engaged in the electoral process, including by running for office. All these benefits will help advance democracy in the District.
Walter Smith, Washington
The writer is executive director of DC Appleseed.
Jon Bouker, Washington
The writer is chairman of the board of DC Appleseed.