Fair Elections Now Act introduced to change political culture

Fair Elections Now Act introduced to change political culture

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Okay, looks like people are serious about fixing politics, key to which is reducing the role on money in campaigns. I've been talking for years to people who really know this stuff, boiling it down to:

  • He who pays the piper calls the tune.
  • Money has a major corrupting influence in politics
  • If someone is going to own the politicians, it might as well be us.

You can read more about it at Common Cause but here's the gist:

  1. 1. To reduce the influence of big donors over federal
    elections. Under current law, individual contributions are limited to
    $2,300 per candidate per race, a level far beyond the means of the vast
    majority of citizens – and bundlers are often able to acquire
    unparalleled access to members of Congress when they combine individual
    contributions to present candidates with bundles of anywhere from
    $10,000 to $50,000 or more.

  2. 2. To
    bring campaigns and campaign finance reform into the 21st century.
    Thanks in part to the Internet; campaigns are able to reach out to more
    people and to raise greater amounts in small individual donations. The
    Obama presidential campaign raised more from small donors than anyone
    in history, but the trend in Congressional races is exactly the
    opposite. We believe Congressional candidates could raise more in small
    donations than in years past, but only if they are weaned from their
    extreme reliance on big donors.

  3. 3. To
    offer a system that candidates – incumbents and challengers – will find
    attractive. Candidates will be freed from the burden of constantly
    seeking funds from lobbyists and powerful interests. A combination of
    small donors and public financing will put an end to that distracting
    and debilitating hunt for big dollars. Candidates will still have to
    spend time raising money, but for only a portion of their campaign
    funds; and that fundraising activity will be redirected to broader
    groups of citizens. Also, by basing our bill on data from the most
    recent elections, we can provide a level of funding that realistically
    allows candidates who opt into the new system to compete successfully
    with candidates who do not.

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2 Comments

Evan Ravitz

1. "Campaign finance reform" is passed by Congress regularly, and it hardly changes the game. There was a flurry of "change" after Watergate. I was in the House "peanut" Gallery with "Granny D" Haddock (who walked across America at age 90 for campaign finance reform) in 2002 when the McCain-Feingold act was passed. Money still talks: Congress is now giving trillion$ to the people who crashed the econonomy -and gave generously to their campaigns.
2. 6 of 7 states with publicly-funded campaigns got them by ballot initiative. ONLY Maine's legislature has voluntarily made such real reform. Maine is a very poor state. Most real reforms of all kinds come by ballot initiatives. See http://Vote.org/initiatives for more examples and references.
3. The best project for better and NATIONAL ballot initiatives (with which national public campaign funding would pass in a heartbeat, along with single-payer health insurance, an end to proxy wars & debt, torture, etc.) is the National Initiative for Democracy, led by famed former Senator Mike Gravel: http://Vote.org

John Thacker

The Obama presidential campaign raised more from small donors than anyone in history, but the trend in Congressional races is exactly the opposite.
He also raised more in big donors, too. Obama raised a lot of money.
He also continued the trend that GWB did of the guy who can raise more money rejecting federal campaign money and the limits it imposes.
Obama, just like GWB, help kill the current system of public funding for campaigns, by demonstrating that only the loser would take the money. Winners can raise more money outside the system. Perhaps there will be a new system.

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