For Immediate Release Major Party Donors Tell Speaker Pelosi: Pass Fair Elections

Posted on February 17, 2010

Nearly 60 major Democratic party donors sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) today urging her to push the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 752, H.R. 1826) as the response to the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC.

"Allowing corporations to fund political speech deeply undermines Congress' ability to take strong stances without fear of corporate retribution," said Jonathan Rose, president of Jonathan Rose Companies* and a signer of the letter. "It makes no sense, for example, that foreign corporations have been given rights to America's natural resources since the 1870s without adequately bidding for that right, making it harder to pay down our national deficit. The only logical explanation is that far too many members of Congress and Senators are more influenced by corporate contributors than the public's concern about our deficit. We need legislators brave enough to pass the Fair Elections Now Act."

According to the letter:

"Congress should fully focus on serving its constituents and solving our country's problems. Instead, as we well know from the solicitation calls we receive, our political leaders must fundraise constantly.

"We agree with President Obama's concern, as expressed in his State of the Union address, that Congress must address the harm done by the Citizens United ruling. We urge that you embrace the Fair Elections Now Act (HR 1826) as a leading measure to ensure, in the words of our President, that American elections are not "bankrolled by America's most powerful interests."

The signatories are all major donors to the Democratic National Committee or the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The letter is also being sent to several hundred additional major party donors today urging them to join.

Sponsored by Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.), the Fair Elections Now Act would give candidates for Congress the option of running for office on a system that blends limited public funds with a 4 to 1 match on donations of $100 or less. With Fair Elections, candidates would be able to use their grassroots base of support to defend against the political retaliation now available because of Citizens United. The legislation has the bipartisan and cross-caucus support of 134 U.S. House members. Companion legislation in the Senate is sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)

Today's letter is the latest of many from a variety of audiences urging Speaker Pelosi to make Fair Elections a priority. Letters pushing Fair Elections from 40 American business leaders, 200 faith leaders, and 30 national constituency groups have all been delivered to Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). In addition, 177,000 petitions from Americans across the country have been delivered to House and Senate offices in Washington, D.C. and in districts across the country.

The full letter is available for download here.

Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Voting and Elections

Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

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