WASHINGTON (CNN) – After giving more than $16 million in political contributions, a group of Democratic donors is saying enough is enough – it's time for Congress to scrap the current campaign funding system and encourage a new hybrid model of small dollar donations and public financing.
The 58 deep-pocketed donors, under the umbrella of the Public Campaign Action Fund, will make their plea in a letter Wednesday to be delivered to every Democratic member of Congress, CNN has learned.
"With so much at stake in Washington today, we believe it is shortsighted to continue down the present unsustainable path of skyrocketing campaign spending," the donors write in the letter obtained by CNN. "The Fair Elections Now Act is a common sense idea whose time has come, a change that will set us on a better path in the years ahead."
The legislation would require candidates, who opt into this voluntary program, to collect contributions capped at $100 from a minimum number of in-state donors to prove viability. Once a candidate achieves viability, the candidate would receive a 4-to1 match – which varies from state to state – from the federal government. The candidate would still be able to raise money, but only in $100 or less increments.
Bottom line, a donor would only be allowed to contribute $300 per candidate, per election: $100 for candidate viability, $100 for the primary, and $100 for the general election.
In the Senate, Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Illinois, and Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pennsylvania, are sponsoring the legislation, while Rep. John Larson, D-Connecticut, and Rep. Walter Jones, R-North Carolina, have a similar bill in the House.
List of Democratic donors who signed the letter after the jump
Amb. Elizabeth Bagley
James Kimo Campbell
Francis W. Hatch
John S. Johnson
Arthur D. Lipson
Anna Hawken McKay
Guy T. Saperstein