Reform Groups Say New Proposal Would Leave Job Undone
- Dale Eisman
Washington, D.C.- A legislative response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizen United vs. FEC unveiled today by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) is a good start and Congress should move to pass the legislation, but it doesn’t address Congress’ reliance on Wall Street and other big special interests, Public Campaign and Common Cause said. The two reform groups urge Congress to pass the Fair Elections Now Act to give voters back a voice in government.
“These are good first steps but as a package they fall short of getting to the heart of the problem of money in politics,” said Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Public Campaign. “At the end of the day, these proposals still leave members of Congress dependent on money from Wall Street interests, insurance companies, and the other deep pocket interests who control Washington, D.C. Congress needs to move quickly to enact the Fair Elections Now Act that gives voters control, and do so without delay.
“Voters want bold campaign reform measures,” continued Nyhart. “Polling conducted last week showed that four in five Americans believe Congress is controlled by special interests. Americans want a comprehensive plan to end pay-to-play politics, not just a plan to fix what the Roberts Court just did. We will continue to press Congress to address the elephant in the room – their own fundraising.”
“Strengthening the regulatory system in wake of the Roberts Court decision is important but inadequate,” said Bob Edgar, President and CEO of Common Cause. “The bottom line is that the already bad situation before Citizens United is only getting worse, and the Fair Elections Now Act must be part of the legislative package. Congress needs to take seriously voters’ anger against Washington, D.C. and move now to give government back to the people.”
Sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), the bipartisan Fair Elections Now Act (S. 752, H.R. 1826) would let members of Congress opt out of the broken pay-to-play political system. The legislation has 134 cosponsors in the House. Under Fair Elections, candidates run by raising small contributions from people in their home state to qualify for Fair Elections funds.
Since the Citizens United decision was announced, nearly 180,000 petitions have been delivered to members of Congress urging them to pass the Fair Elections Now Act. Top business leaders, faith leaders, and over 30 national advocacy organizations representing tens of millions of Americans have all sent letters to Congressional leadership urging them to pass the legislation. For more information on the Fair Elections Now Act and the coalition supporting the bill go to http://www.commoncause.org/FairElectionsNowAct.
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.