For Immediate Release
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 - 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
- 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.
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
- 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 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.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.