In 2010, the Supreme Court struck down modest limits on special interest money in our politics. The Citizens United decision opened the floodgates for big money to further corrupt our democracy.
In the seven years since then, the results have been staggering.
By 2015, campaign spending by super PACs and other special interest groups more than doubled. By April of 2016, donors had given more than $600 million to 2,300 super PACs, which can accept unlimited contributions from individuals and corporations. Of those donations, 41% came from just 50 super-rich donors and their relatives. This means a tiny fraction of our population has a massive impact on the outcome of our elections.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has called Citizens United one of the worst rulings by the current court, saying “The notion that we have all the democracy that money can buy strays so far from what our democracy is supposed to be."
That's why in every session of Congress since 2013, I've introduced the Government By The People Act. This legislation will take our government back from big money, billionaires and special interest groups and empower the American people to participate more in our elections.
This bill will accomplish those goals in a few different ways.
Empower everyday citizens by providing a tax credit for campaign contributions, to help encourage more small-dollar grassroots donations;
Provide a 6-to-1 match for small-dollar donations to candidates who build broad-based support from small donors; and
Allow grassroots-powered candidates to combat super PACs and dark money groups so the voice of the people is not drowned out.
There is broad support in Congress and in our communities for this kind of reform. Our bill has over 150 current co-sponsors in the House, and is supported on both sides of the aisle by those who realize the voices of average American people are being drowned out by wealthy and well-connected special interests.
It’s also supported by 55 progressive organizations, from labor unions like AFL-CIO to environmental organizations like the League of Conservation Voters to social justice organizations like the NAACP.
The American people have lost faith in many of our public institutions. They feel ignored by a system driven by multi-million dollar political campaigns and politicians who spend more time fundraising than they do legislating and focusing on the real problems our communities are facing.
Getting big money out of politics is the most important reform we can fight for to ensure our nation can live up to the values put forth in our Constitution: that we are a republic of, for and by the people. I have dedicated my career to this cause because I believe our democracy works best when we are all involved and all our voices can be heard.
Together, we can make sure that the voice of the American people can be heard in our elections again, loud and clear.
All my best,