July 3, 2019
Ensuring elections 'free from foreign intrusion'
John Sarbanes and Brian Frosh, THE BALTIMORE SUN (OP-ED)
On July 4, Americans of all political stripes join together to celebrate our nation’s independence from overseas monarchs, from foreign influence, from interference in our democracy.
This is the moment to apply the lessons of 2016, when our election infrastructure — the core of American democracy — was attacked by a foreign adversary in a choreographed and coordinated effort. State and local election systems across the country were probed and, in some cases, breached. Outsiders exploited digital platforms to wage a full-scale disinformation campaign. And secret foreign money was deployed to influence the electoral outcome.
June 18, 2019
Senator McConnell: Protect U.S. elections
The Editorial Board, THE BALTIMORE SUN
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not shame easily. Ask anyone — including Jon Stewart, the former Comedy Network star who has found a second life as an impassioned advocate for the victims of the 9/11 attacks. His wilting denunciation of Congress and Senator McConnell, in particular, became must-watch viewing on a wide array of social media platforms last week. But has it softened the Republican leader’s heart? Hard to say. Mr. McConnell recently expressed support for fully funding the Victims Compensation Fund as Mr. Stewart has sought, but legislation to do so remains stalled in the Senate.
Still, if the embarrassment Mr. Stewart heaped on the majority leader actually did the job, perhaps the former “Daily Show” host can be recruited to express similar outrage that Congress has so far done so little to protect the upcoming 2020 election from foreign interference. Maryland’s own Rep. John Sarbanes is looking to rectify that situation shortly. He’s at the vanguard of the effort by House Democrats to strengthen election security — and address many of the criticisms contained in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that have been echoed by U.S. intelligence agencies. There’s simply no question that Russian agents attempted to interfere in the 2016 election and are expected to be at it again next year.”
May 14, 2019
Sarbanes: Need to ‘prepare against the Russians coming again in 2020’
MSNBC (Meet the Press with Chuck Todd)
May 2, 2019
Leader McConnell, let us vote
John Sarbanes and Vanita Gupta, THE HILL(OP-ED)
The day after our nation commemorated the 54th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Ala., the House of Representatives passed H.R.1, the For the People Act, to strengthen voting rights, take big money out of politics, and clean up corruption on Capitol Hill.
Before the vote on March 8, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a foot soldier for civil rights who marched in Selma, implored lawmakers to recognize their moral responsibility to restore access to democracy. He asked his colleagues, “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”
April 24, 2019
Trump obstruction is ‘disrespecting American public’ – Dem Congressman
MSNBC (The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell)
April 12, 2019
It's been a busy 100 days for House Democrats
Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, CNN (OP-ED)
In November, the American people elected Democrats to take back the reins of power in the House of Representatives and put it back to work on their behalf. In our first 100 days in the majority, we have begun to deliver on that promise. With a dynamic, diverse and energized freshman class of 63 new members, Democrats are moving ahead with our agenda for the people: Lower health care costs and the price of prescription drugs, increase paychecks by rebuilding the infrastructure of America in a green, modern and job-creating way, and clean up corruption in Washington so that the government works for the public interest, not the special interests.
One of the first acts of our new majority was to enable the House to defend the Affordable Care Act in court against efforts by Republican-led states and the Trump administration to dismantle it. This was soon followed by the introduction of a comprehensive bill to stabilize our health care system and lower health care costs for consumers. Already, committees are holding hearings and marking up legislation to keep Democrats' promises to take action to make health care and prescription drugs cheaper.
March 14, 2019
To Clean Up the Planet, Clean Up Washington
John Sarbanes and Michael Brune, COMMON DREAMS(OP-ED)
For decades, majorities of Americans have favored swift, meaningful action on climate change. They understand that we must transition away from dirty fuels and toward clean, renewable energy. Yet despite this overwhelming support, Congress has repeatedly failed to act.
This jarring disconnect between what the public wants to see and what Washington is prepared to deliver doesn’t just threaten the health and safety of everyone in our country—it undermines the very principle of representative democracy.
March 8, 2019
House Democrats pass H.R. 1, their answer to draining the swamp
Mike DeBonis and John Wagner, The Washington Post
The House approved a far-reaching elections and ethics bill Friday — one that would change the way congressional elections are funded, impose new voter-access mandates on states and, in one of several provisions targeting President Trump, force disclosure of presidential candidates’ tax returns.
Democrats dubbed the bill H.R. 1, a designation meant to signal its place as a centerpiece of their congressional agenda. The measure, which has more than 500 pages, contains dozens of provisions favored by liberal advocacy groups, labor unions and other Democratic allies.
March 8, 2019
House Democrats Pass Landmark Campaign Finance And Voting Rights Reform Bill
Paul Blumenthal, The Huffington Post
Democrats’ landmark campaign finance, voting rights and ethics reform bill passed the House of Representatives on Friday.
The For The People Act, which passed 234-193, was Democrats’ top priority upon winning control of the House in the 2018 elections. It would dramatically expand voting access, create publicly funded House elections, enhance the transparency of money in politics, restore voting rights to millions of ex-felons, strengthen executive branch ethics law and end partisan gerrymandering.
March 8, 2019
House Passes Extensive Election And Campaign Finance Overhaul Bill
Miles Park, NPR
The House passed an extensive bill Friday that would overhaul the way Americans vote and take aim at the money currently flowing through the U.S. political system.
The bill was dubbed the "For The People Act" by House Democrats who want election accessibility and weeding out corruption to be core tenets of their majority agenda the next two years. The bill passed along straight party lines, 234-193.
In the News: 'Restores the people's faith': House passes a broad anti-corruption and voting rights bill
March 8, 2019
'Restores the people's faith': House passes a broad anti-corruption and voting rights bill
Ledyard King, USA TODAY
Create automatic voter registration. Force presidents to make their tax returns public. Turn over congressional redistricting to independent commissions. Bar federal lawmakers from settling discrimination cases with public money.
The House passed a sweeping anti-corruption and government ethics package Friday that would fundamentally reshape how campaigns are run, how elections are conducted and how officeholders conduct themselves.
March 6, 2019
Rep. John Sarbanes On HR 1, The House's Sweeping Anti-Corruption Legislation
John Sarbanes, David Keating and Meghna Chakrabarti, WBUR ('ON POINT')
The House votes on a sweeping anti-corruption proposal this week. It could have major implications for campaign finance, voting rights and ethics.
Rep. John Sarbanes, Democratic congressman from Maryland. He’s the lead author of House Resolution 1, and has been spearheading the bill in his chamber.
March 6, 2019
Democrats flex power by taking aim at money in politics
Matthew Daly, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Flexing their new majority, Democrats are moving to push through the House a comprehensive elections and ethics reform package they say will reduce the role of big money in politics, ensure fair elections and restore ethics and integrity to Washington.
The legislation, called H.R. 1 to signify its importance, would make it easier to register and vote, tighten election security and require presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns.
November 25, 2018
The Democratic majority’s first order of business: Restore democracy
Nancy Pelosi and John Sarbanes, The Washington Post
November 25, 2018
Earlier this month, Americans went to the polls and sent a powerful message: The election not only was a resounding verdict against Republicans’ assault on Americans’ health care and wages, but it also was a vote to rescue our broken democracy.
In the face of a torrent of special-interest dark money, partisan gerrymandering and devious vote-suppression schemes, voters elected a House Democratic majority determined to bring real change to restore our democracy.
During the campaign, Democrats declared unequivocally that we would clean up corruption to make Washington work for the people. We pledged to reduce the role of money in politics, to restore ethics and integrity to government, and to strengthen voting laws.
September 18, 2018
Sarbanes Prepares for Elevated Role as Leading Reformer in Congress
Josh Kurtz, MARYLAND MATTERS
As Democrats push to retake the U.S. House of Representatives in November, government ethics and political reform have become an increasingly important part of their message. And that means an elevated role for Maryland Congressman John P. Sarbanes (D).
Sarbanes is House Democrats’ apostle of political reform, the chairman of the Democracy Reform Task Force. He’s the architect of the party’s multi-pronged good government agenda. If the Democrats seize the majority, he will play a leading role in shaping the suite of reform bills that Democrats will try to advance through Congress.
“I’m focused on trying to map out what a reform package would look like,” Sarbanes said in a recent interview in the Capitol, a few steps away from the House chamber, where votes were taking place.
In the News: House Democrats’ top priority if they win in November is a sweeping anti-corruption bill
September 11, 2018
House Democrats’ top priority if they win in November is a sweeping anti-corruption bill
Ella Nilsen, Vox
“I’m hoping that it’s the first or second bill this fall. It’s just that important.”
If Democrats win back the House in 2018, a consensus is emerging on what they need to do first: Pass a sweeping anti-corruption bill.
One specific legislative package has emerged, largely crafted and sponsored by the chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force, Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD). The agenda — recently formalized by a House resolution — is designed to rein in the influence of money and lobbying in Washington, expand voting rights in the United States, and increase public financing of campaigns. Democrats are prepping a final version of a bill to be ready to go if they are in charge by January 2019.
In the News: House Democrat: here are 8 scandals Congress should investigate instead of Twitter bias
September 5, 2018
House Democrat: here are 8 scandals Congress should investigate instead of Twitter bias
Tara Golshan, Vox
Twitter’s Jack Dorsey is testifying in Congress. Democrats think it’s a waste of his time.
Congress is wasting Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s time when it should be investigating the Trump administration’s wrongdoing, Maryland Democrat Rep. John Sarbanes told Dorsey at one of his two congressional testimonies Wednesday.
Dorsey spent Wednesday fielding questions in the House about how Twitter’s efforts to combat dangerous information and misinformation shared on the social media platform is actually censoring conservative voices.
August 22, 2018
Trump’s Corrupt Inner Circle Won’t Be Democrats’ New Midterm Focus
Kevin Robillard, The Huffington Post
The party will focus on a culture of corruption, not the Trump administration’s wrongdoing.
The nearly simultaneous, split-screen convictions of President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and one-time campaign chairman on Tuesday seemed designed to give the Democratic Party a powerful message heading into the 2018 elections, the same one Trump successfully deployed in 2016: “Drain the swamp.”
The narrative builds itself: The number of close Trump associates linked to criminal wrongdoing is growing, the first two members of Congress to endorse him are both under indictment, his cabinet has already seen two members resign over corruption allegations and Trump has never separated himself from his businesses, turning Mar-a-Lago into an invitation for bribery. And for armies of armchair campaign strategists, railing against the Trump administration’s corruption is a message Democrats can ride to victory in 2018 and 2020.
August 22, 2018
Trump, Republican corruption issues give Democrats opening for midterm elections
Fredreka Schouten and Eliza Collins, USA Today
WASHINGTON – Leading Democrats in Congress are seizing on the tidal wave of legal troubles hitting President Donald Trump's allies to cast the Republican Party as deeply corrupt ahead of the fast-approaching midterm elections.
Democratic leaders say they plan to make ethics a key pillar of their push to take the House majority this fall, arguing their party will serve as a check on what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., calls the Trump administration's "brazen corruption, cronyism and incompetence."
Trump and his allies suffered a triple hit Tuesday: The conviction of Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on bank and tax fraud, a guilty plea by his former attorney Michael Cohen that implicated the president in violating campaign-finance laws and the federal indictment of one of Trump's earliest congressional supporters, California Rep. Duncan Hunter. Prosecutors say Hunter and his wife used $250,000 in campaign funds for family vacations, private-school tuition and other personal expenses.
In the News: In fallout from Trump controversies, Republicans warn Democrats will seek his impeachment. Democratic candidates are avoiding the word.
August 22, 2018
In fallout from Trump controversies, Republicans warn Democrats will seek his impeachment. Democratic candidates are avoiding the word.
Michael Scherer, The Washington Post
A day after President Trump’s former lawyer implicated him in directing a crime, Democratic leaders sharpened their election-year attack on the GOP as the party of corruption. But in an effort to keep the electoral focus on bread-and-butter issues, they largely steered clear of any discussion of impeachment.
Party leaders encouraged candidates and elected members to talk instead about demanding protection for the ongoing Justice Department investigations of Trump and his allies, offering a clear sign that they feel confident that grass-roots energy against Trump will show up at the polls without the need for a divisive rallying cry from the stump.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent a letter to her caucus members asking them to keep speaking about economic issues, while also urging them to call out what she described as the “cesspool of self-enrichment, secret money and ethical blindness” that exists in Washington under unified Republican rule.