For Immediate Release
Congress’ Response to Citizens United Must Go Further
Package a good start, but legislation doesn’t address big money fundraising
WASHINGTON - Legislation introduced today by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) to blunt the impact of the Supreme Court's
decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Elections Commission
is important, but must go further to address the problem of big money in
our political process, according to campaign finance watchdogs Public
Campaign and Common Cause.
"Sen. Schumer and Rep. Van Hollen should be commended for their concern
over undue corporate influence in our elections, but the U.S. Supreme
Court's blockbuster decision needs a response that carries equal force,
one that ends Congressional dependence on deep-pocked lobbying
interests," said Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Public Campaign.
"Congress must act boldly to restore the country's faith in our
"Now is the time for Congress to free itself from Wall Streets' grip so
Main Street can get a fair shake," said Bob Edgar, president and CEO of
Common Cause. "The legislation introduced today is important, but to
give Americans a voice in their democracy we need an alternative for
candidates who don't want to spend all their time courting special
interests. The Fair Elections Now Act would do that, and must be part of
Congress' legislative response to the Citizens United decision."
In Citizens United, the Roberts Court eliminated decades of
common sense restrictions on corporate and union spending giving these
wealthy special interests nearly unlimited ability to influence our
elections. Now faced with the threat of political reprisal for a tough
vote, candidates will have to spend even more time raising money from
major donors, instead of their constituents.
Any legislative response to the Roberts Court decision and growing
concern over ethical issues in Congress must include the Fair Elections
Now Act (S. 752, H.R. 1826), legislation that would end the reliance on
campaign cash from Wall Street lobbyists and entrenched special
interests. With Fair Elections, candidates can run for office on a blend
of limited public funds and small donations of $100 or less. The House
bill currently has the broad bipartisan and cross-caucus support of
nearly 150 members-more support than any campaign finance reform measure
currently before Congress.