Represent Maryland Small Money Commission and Criteria
Represent Maryland volunteers have formed a "Small Money Commission" to certify candidates for public office who meet our small money criteria. The influence of "big money" which includes contributions from corporations, corporate PACs, foundations and non profits, unions* and industry associations*, lobbyists and lobbying firms, party PACs*, leadership PACs* and Slate PACs*, has taken over our political process, to the point that if a candidate cannot secure these types of donations, they are very unlikely to win their race.
Montgomery County MD has taken steps to remedy this problem by establishing county wide public election funds that include matching funds for candidate who "prove" their ability to connect with voters at the grassroots level by collecting at least 250 individual donations of $150 or less. The Candidate must raise $20,000 before qualifying for three times matching funds (so raising at least $20,000 will earn them $60,000 from the fund for a total operating budget of $80,000). Represent Maryland strongly believes that public election funds are integral to restoring democracy and liberty in America, and therefore advocates for the expansion of this project across the state.
All MoCo Candidates who opt in and qualify for the program will automatically be certified as "Small Money Candidates" by our commission. Candidate who do not have the option of receiving matching funds can qualify by meeting our criteria as outlined below. Because we know that it's incredibly hard to raise enough to be competitive by accepting individual donations only, we have allowed a number of organizational/PAC donations for this election cycle. As the public election fun program expands, and more candidates choose to use it, we hope to eliminate the need for this sort of certification all together.
The RepMD Small Money Certification criteria disqualified any candidate for public office who takes contributions from the following:
Registered Lobbyists, Federal or State
Lobbying firms, Federal or State
For Profit Corporations
Real Estate Firms and Developers
We have also set a standard that all candidates should strive to raise at least 80% of the total number of contributions received from individuals and at least 60% of the total number received from individuals. Candidate should not receive more than 25% of their individual donations from outside the state of Maryland.
We believe giving candidates these strong but reasonable guidelines will help them remember who they work for (all voters) and strengthen their dedication to working for the betterment of society as a whole, not special interests or for profit entities.
See the full criteria below. You can also download a pdf below for reference.
Candidates who would like to apply to be Small Money Certified can do so by clicking here. Certification requires that a candidate has filed at least one campaign finance report with the State Board of Elections. If a candidate has not yet filed, their certification research will begin after the next filing date. Incumbents, who have filed multiple reports with the SBE, will be researched for their most recent term. Incumbents who did not file the January 10 2018 report will be researched after the next filing deadline.
If a candidate qualifies, they will be added to our website, under "Small Money Certified" candidates and be send our certification seal to add to their campaign materials as needed. Small Money Certification DOES NOT equal an endorsement by Represent Maryland. RepMD never endorses candidates for public office.
Represent Maryland’s Clean Money Commission
Criteria for Certification
Part 1: Super PACs
Candidate will sign our pledge to not collude with superPACs*, as well as ask superPACs to not work on their behalf or against their opposition. Pledges will be shared through our social media and email channels. The candidate must also share this pledge through their website, social media and email channels. (*Collusion is already illegal, but candidates who believe in small money elections should be willing to publicly reinforce the law).
Part 2: Small Money Commission Acceptable Campaign Contribution Sources
Option 1-Public Campaign Funds
If available in their district, candidate must elect to use public campaign funds, and if so follow their mandated guidelines.
If a candidate uses this option and meets the criteria above, they will automatically be certified as a small money candidate.
Option 2-Traditional Fundraising
The following pertains to candidates with no public financing option available. Because we understand that it’s incredibly hard to run a successful campaign when only taking individual donations, the following criteria takes steps in the right direction while still allowing candidates to be competitive. As more public finance options become available, our criteria will become more strict.
1) Candidate will strive to collect at least 80% of their total number of contributions from individual donors
2) Candidate will strive to collect at least 60% of their total money collected from individual donors
3) Out of state individual donations should not exceed 25% of total money raise
4) Candidate will publicly disclose all bundlers working on their behalf, including union PACs
5) Incumbents or those seeking a higher office only:
Non-accepted contribution sources and types-Incumbents and New Candidates
For Profit Corporations/Corporate PACs
*Added in 4.13.2018
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Authorized by B Tabatabai, Treasurer
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