In a turnaround that caught many by surprise, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Tuesday signed a bill creating a public financing program for local campaigns — and said she would fund it in her upcoming budget.
“Over the past few weeks at budget engagement forums and community meetings across the District, residents have shown up to share their belief that the [Fair Elections Act] would strengthen our democracy,” Bowser tweeted this afternoon, alongside a picture of the signed bill. “I have heard them and I have been moved by their passion.”
The bill, which was approved unanimously by the D.C. Council last month, creates a program to provide candidates for office in D.C. with public funds to run their campaigns. Proponents say public financing — which is used in 28 jurisdictions nationwide, including Montgomery County — could help wean candidates from big-money donors and dampen the influence of business and corporate interests in the Wilson Building.