For Immediate Release
February 4, 2010
Mary Boyle, Common Cause, (202) 736-5770
Adam Smith (202) 997-8929
Bipartisan Fair Elections Now Act
Reaches Majority of Majority in US House
134 co-sponsors a sign of growing momentum following a week storming the hill, pressing Congress to act
Washington, DC-- On Thursday, the House Fair Elections Now Act (H.R. 1826), championed by House Democratic Caucus Chairman John B. Larson (D-Conn.), gained its 134th co-sponsor, pushing the number of supporters to more than half of the Democratic Caucus. This high level of support is a sign of the growing momentum for changing the way campaigns are financed in this country, according to Public Campaign and Common Cause.
"The country needs both parties to work to solve the political crisis created by the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United, and the bipartisan solution that has the broadest support within Congress is Fair Elections," said Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Public Campaign. "Not only is it the best policy response to the escalating cost to run for office, it will take candidates off the fundraising treadmill and encourage them to seek support from voters back home. This bill is democracy-in-action."
"The Supreme Court has left no room for doubt that we need a campaign finance system that makes elected officials beholden to the people they're supposed to represent instead of the wealthy special interests," said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. "The Fair Elections Now Act would do that."
In the two weeks since the Citizens United decision was released, the groups have stormed the Hill, working with others to mount a significant campaign to:
- Organize a letter of 41 top business executives to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) urging them to include Fair Elections in any legislative package.
- Deliver 177,716 petition signatures to district and Capitol Hill offices for both House members and Senators.
- Place nearly 5,000 calls to targeted congressional offices.
- Line up more than 200 faith leaders, including prominent individuals within denominations, to sign a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid to urge that the response to Citizens United include Fair Elections.
- Brief more than 100 congressional offices on Fair Elections.
- Launched a "fax" day today, when thousands of faxes will be sent to targeted congressional offices.
"Over the past two weeks, we have brought Americans' concerns about the big money-dominated system directly to Congress," said David Donnelly, campaign manager of the joint effort. "From business executives to faith leaders to ordinary Americans, everyone is sick of the time Congress spends courting Wall Street and other special interests. We will continue to direct the voices of concerned and angry Americans to urge our elected officials to act in the people's interest and pass Fair Elections."
The Fair Elections Now Act (H.R. 1826) would create a voluntary system that blends limited public funds with a 4 to 1 match on donations of $100 or less. Candidates would be freed from the eternal chase for big campaign checks, able to spend their time talking with voters and addressing our country's challenges. With Fair Elections, candidates would need to rely solely on their grassroots base of support and not Wall Street lobbyists or PACs. Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is the sponsor of companion legislation in the Senate.
The 134 co-sponsors represent a broad, ideologically diverse array of the House, with strong support across caucuses and party lines. Supporters include 66 percent of new members, 62 percent of Democratic women, and half of all Congressional Black Caucus members.
Click to learn more about the Fair Elections Now Act and view the full list of House co-sponsors.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy, reinventing an open, honest, and accountable government that works for the public interest, and empowering ordinary people to make their voices heard.
Public Campaign is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to sweeping campaign reform that aims to dramatically reduce the role of big special interest money in American politics.