Take action to protect the spirit of public financing in MoCo!

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Take Action To Protect the Spirit of MoCo Public Financing

Friends, I want to share an important update with you on qualifying for public finance and ask you to take action to protect the spirit of public financing. Help me make sure it works as designed to promote fair competition for first time, volunteer led, grassroots campaigns.

I have been improperly excluded from the public list of those who are eligible to qualify for matching funds. Montgomery County and State Board of Elections officials have misread the law when reviewing my request for certification. And because there is only one opportunity to certify, I won’t have another chance to qualify this election. This means that my campaign, which is gaining amazing grassroots momentum, will be unfairly penalized by the system that is designed to help first-time candidates like me compete with established politicians. 

Thanks to the contributions made by my supporters —  just a few months after I filed for public finance — I raised a little more than $20,000 of qualifying contributions from more than 310 Montgomery County donors. In January I filed my report with the State Board of Election and submitted a request for matching funds from the County. My campaign worked diligently to ensure that we fully complied with all of the requirements of the Montgomery County Public Financing Law.

While I have not received an official notice from the County and State Board of Elections officials about my status, they have disputed whether my two in-kind contributions can be counted towards qualifying for public financing matching funds -- even though these are grassroots donations and the rules clearly allow these to count toward the threshold. Under the rules, these contributions can’t be matched, but they are clearly within the definition of a qualifying contribution.

This is a new law and the State Board and the County are deciding after the fact what it means. It's not fair and it's not right. This issue is not only important for our campaign but impacts the very spirit of public financing. I am continuing to fight for fair treatment as a first-time candidate under a new law. I know other first-time candidates are also being penalized by the single certification rule, but I am the most impacted because I have actually already met the $20,000 threshold – in a very short period of time.

Please support my efforts by signing my Change.Org petition to ask the County Council to waive the rule that candidates may only seek certification once. Let’s make sure our public financing system provides a real level playing field.

Please spread this message among your friends. You can also visit my website www.shrutibhatnagar.com to find out more.