For Immediate Release
Support For Fair Elections Now Act at All-Time High
Citizens United ruling and fundraising fatigue help build momentum, support among congressional Democrats and Republicans
WASHINGTON - 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
“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
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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 in that response.
Public Campaign and
Common Cause are working with other state and national organizations to
pass the Fair Elections Now Act.
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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. Public Campaign is laying the foundation for reform by working with a broad range of organizations, including local community groups, around the country that are fighting for change and national organizations whose members are not fairly represented under the current campaign finance system. Together we are building a network of national and state-based efforts to create a powerful national force for federal and state campaign reform.