Today, Common Cause filed comments with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in support of a petition for rulemaking filed by former congressional candidate Nabilah Islam to allow candidates to utilize their campaign accounts to pay for health insurance and include a living-wage floor as part of the salary formula to make the funds available from the beginning of a candidate’s campaign.
In 2020 Ms. Islam ran in a primary for a congressional seat in Georgia without a living wage or medical insurance during a global pandemic. At the time, the Federal Election Commission lacked the quorum required to issue an advisory opinion, requested by the candidate, as to whether she could use campaign funds to pay for health insurance. The agency now has a quorum that can act on the petition and the comments filed today by Common Cause strongly support Ms. Islam’s proposed amendments to the regulations in order to allow more Americans the opportunity to seek federal office.
“Expanding the eligibility of candidates to use campaign funds to pay themselves a living wage and purchase health insurance while running for office would open up the doors of Congress to more working-class Americans,” said Beth Rotman, Common Cause Director, Money in Politics & Ethics. “The Members who make up our Congress do not reflect the people they represent. Working-class Americans, who make up the backbone of our nation, are woefully underrepresented in a Congress where the majority of members are millionaires.”
The comments filed today by Common Cause emphasize that amending the rules as proposed in Ms. Islam’s petition would lift barriers to allow more working-class Americans to run for federal office. The comments note that only 2% of the members of Congress have working-class backgrounds, and millionaires make up more than half of Congress, even though they amount to fewer than 5% of the national population.
To read the comments, click here.
To read an op-ed by Beth Rotman on the petition, click here.