Support For Fair Elections Now Act at All-Time High

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  • Dale Eisman

Citizens United ruling and fundraising fatigue help build momentum, support among congressional Democrats and Republicans

Washington, DC–Today marks the one-year anniversary of the introduction of the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 752/H.R. 1826), legislation that would allow candidates to run competitive congressional campaigns on a blend of unlimited small donations and limited public funds. The bill was introduced in the Senate by Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and in the House by Democratic Caucus Chair John Larson (D-Conn.) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.). The bill is supported by more than 40 local and national organizations representing tens of millions of Americans.

“Since the Fair Elections Now Act was introduced one year ago, members of Congress have come on board in support of this game-changing policy at a steady pace,” said Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Public Campaign. “With our nation facing critical problems-an economy still in distress, an uncertain energy future, and an unregulated Wall Street-now is the time to end the campaign money chase. This bill would let our elected officials focus solely on these important issues without regard to where their next campaign check comes from and what paybacks might be expected.”

“As the November midterm elections approach, Members of Congress are forced to spend even more of their time ‘dialing for dollars’ instead of legislating and meeting with constituents,” said Bob Edgar, president and CEO of Common Cause. “The Fair Elections Now Act would reverse this trend by giving Members more time to do what they were elected for: meet with their constituents and develop sound public policy.”

The Fair Elections Now Act is modeled on the successful Clean Elections programs established in states and localities across the country, including statewide programs in Connecticut, Arizona, and Maine.

The Fair Elections Now Act would offer Congressional candidates the option to qualify for a limited public grant by collecting a set number of small contributions from constituents. Once qualified, candidates could continue to raise additional funds of $100 or less that are matched on a four-to-one basis. In the U.S. House, where the bill could get a vote this spring, 141 members have signed on as co-sponsors.

In the wake of the U. S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United vs. FEC decision that allows corporations to spend unlimited treasury funds to influence elections, the Fair Elections Now Act is the best policy proposal to blunt the impact of this disastrous decision. As the Roberts Court slowly chips away at regulatory campaign reform laws, the Fair Elections Now Act, would withstand constitutional scrutiny because it is voluntary. Over the past week, the White House and Congressional sources have said in news reports that a legislative response to the decision is on Congress’ list of priorities for the rest of the year-the Fair Elections Now Act should be included.

Public Campaign Action Fund and Common Cause are working with other state and national organizations to pass the Fair Elections Now Act.

View the full list of co-sponsors at