The idea behind the Fair Elections bill was that candidates could solicit small donations from people in their state or district — whether up to $100, $250 or $500 — and if they crossed a threshold of support designed to avoid subsidizing fringe candidates, they would receive $4 of public matching funds for every dollar they raised. It wouldn’t cost taxpayers a dime. Ending the oil subsidies the Senate rejected, for example, would provide as much as $4 billion every two years — roughly twice what all Congressional candidates combined spent in the 2010 elections. In effect, the savings in corruption would finance campaigns.
via How to Get Our Citizens Actually United – NYTimes.com.