Today is the 5th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that let wealthy corporations and specials interests spend as much as they wish in elections to expand their political power. There's no silver bullet policy to completely remove big money's corrosive effect on our system, but there are some things we can do to help build a more inclusive democracy.
In our new report – Whose Government? Whose Voice? – we propose these reforms to limit the power of big political spenders while empowering small donors and voters:
(1) Demand Disclosure:
Dark money groups are secretly pouring millions into attack ads and electioneering at the state and federal level -- and we have a right to know who's behind them. That's why we're pushing Congress, state legislatures, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to require full disclosure.
(2) Empower Small Donors:
Implementing small-donor, matching-fund at all levels of government would allow candidates to compete and win without relying on big money and govern without needing to "pay back" wealthy donors.
(3) Stop Secret Coordination:
SuperPACs are forbidden to work directly with the candidates they support, but this isn't meaningfully enforced. We demand stronger ethics and transparency laws to end coordination between "independent" political groups and politicians.
(4) Overturn Citizens United:
The 2010 Citizens United decision opened the floodgates to unlimited secret money in our elections. We need to amend our Constitution to overturn this awful ruling and permit Congress and the states to impose sensible limits on political spending.
(5) Expand Voting Rights:
2014 was the most expensive midterm election ever, but voter turnout was abysmal. If we ensure every eligible American can -- and does -- make their voice heard at the polls, our elected officials will have to listen to them, instead of whoever writes the biggest campaign check.
None of these things will be easy. Common Cause has been working to get money out of our system for 45 years, and it may take another 45 to win this fight.
But the stakes are too high to give up. We can’t do this alone. We need your help. Join us to help fight for a democracy that is of, by, and for the people.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Money in Politics
Tags: Fighting Big Money