US PIRG Applauds the Introduction of the Government by the People Act

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Emma Boorboor, 856 264 3808, eboorboor@pirg.org

US PIRG Applauds the Introduction of the Government by the People Act

WASHINGTON - U.S. PIRG proudly endorses the Government By the People Act, legislation introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives that would put ordinary Americans back in charge of our elections.

The bill, H.R. 20, sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes (MD), would allow candidates to run for office by relying on a large number of small donations from people back home.

“It’s time we return to government of, by, and for the people, not special interests,” said Emma Boorboor, Democracy Associate with U.S. PIRG. “The Government By the People Act would reduce Congress’ dependence on big money campaign donors and help ordinary citizens get their voice heard.”

A recent report by U.S. PIRG and Demos found that the current post-Citizens United election system allows large donors to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens. In fact, in 2012 the top 32 donors to Super PACs spent as much money as every single small donation to Obama and Romney combined, equaling the gifts of over 3.7 million Americans.

The Government By the People Act would change the way our elections are financed through a combination of matching funds for small donations, and a “My Voice” tax credit. Instead of relying on Wall Street executives or lobbyists, participating candidates would rely on the ones the founding fathers intended them to represent: we the people. Here’s how it would work:

  • People would be encouraged to give small contributions through two parts of the proposal: first, contributions of under $150 would be amplified on a six-to-one basis by a newly-created “Freedom from Influence Fund.” No large contributions would be matched at all.
  • Second, the first $25 dollars people contribute would qualify for a “My Voice” refundable tax credit.

“The American people deserve a political system that makes sure all of our voices are heard, not just special interests that can afford to spend the most,” said Boorboor. “This legislation will help to make that a reality.”

Learn more about the Government By the People Act at: www.ofby.us

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U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.

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