DC Fair Elections Coalition



The D.C. Fair Elections Coalition was founded in 2015 to advance the D.C. Fair Elections bill, which would establish a small donor empowerment program for D.C. elections. The bill was introduced in March of 2017 with 10 co-sponsors, including Councilmembers David Grosso, Charles Allen, Robert White, Kenyan McDuffie, Trayon White, Sr., Elissa Silverman, Brianne Nadeau, Mary Cheh, Phil Mendelson and Anita Bonds.

Small donor empowerment programs provide public matching funds to candidates who only accept small contributions, rather than relying on wealthy donors and special interests to bankroll their campaigns. This way, candidates can run for office, and win, even if they don’t have access to wealthy friends or a message that appeals to wealthy donors.

It’s no secret that our democracy is out of balance in D.C. These days, it is all but impossible to run for office without relying on big checks from wealthy donors and special interests. More than 60% of campaign contributions in recent cycles come from either non-District residents or corporations, while only 5% of campaign contributions come from D.C. residents giving $100 or less.

Why does this matter? Policy bends in the direction of those who fund campaigns. Right now, D.C.’s donor class is older, whiter, wealthier, and more male than our population as a whole. More than 62% of Council and Mayoral donors are white, compared to 37% of D.C.’s population.

When candidates spend their time fundraising from wealthy donors and big corporations, who don’t represent the diversity of the district, they aren’t hearing the concerns of everyday residents, who are concerned about skyrocketing rents and making a decent living. Too often, the priorities of big developers and other special interests are reflected in local policy, rather than the needs and concerns of D.C. voters.

Small donor empowerment is a proven solution, designed to amplify the voices of average people. A similar program in New York City has successfully increased both the number and diversity of small donors in their City Council elections. And public financing of elections has recently been introduced in Maine and Seattle.

Now, we’re working to bring this solution to Washington, D.C.

Become a coalition member!



American Friends Service Committee – DC


American Postal Workers Union

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance – DC Chapter

Bread for the City

Brennan Center for Justice

Code Pink DC

Common Cause

Communication Workers of America

DC 350.org

DC Area Transmasculine Society

DC Citizens Federation

DC Coalition for Housing Justice

DC Divest

DC Environmental Network

DC Fair Budget Coalition

DC Fiscal Policy Institute

DC for Democracy

DC For Responsible Development

DC Jobs with Justice

DC Latino Caucus

DC National Organization of Women

DC Nurses Association

DC Peace Team

DC Public Banking Center

DC Re-Entry Network

DC Solar United Neighborhoods

DC Statehood Green Party

DC Tenants’ Rights Center

DC Vote

DC Women in Politics

DC Working Families Organization

Democracy Initiative



Eckington Civic Association

Employment Justice Center

Every Voice

Food and Water Watch

Franciscan Action Network

Gertrude Stein Democrats

Green Neighbors DC


Health Alliance Network

James Reeb Project at All Souls Unitarian Church

Jews United for Justice

Justice First

League of Conservation Voters

League of Women Voters of DC

MayDay DC

Metro DC – Democratic Socialists of America

Miriam’s Kitchen


Pax Christi – Francis of Assisi Community (DC)

People for the American Way

Postive Force DC

Public Citizen

Restaurant Opportunities Center-DC

SEIU Local 500

Senior High Alliance of Parents, Principals and Educators (SHAPPE)

Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ

Sierra Club – DC Chapter


Stop Police Terror Project DC

The Potter’s House

United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 400

U.S. Public Interest Research Group

Ward 3 Democratic Committee

Washington Ethical Society

Washington Peace Center

We Are Family

William H. Lamar IV, Pastor, Metropolitan AME Church