Commuting to Congress: Episode 7

Congressman John Sarbanes discusses the Supreme Court's decision regarding the McCutcheon case, and its implications.


This is John Sarbanes, I wanted to give you a quick update on the McCutcheon decision that the Supreme Court handed down, I guess within the last ten days. A terrible decision, it gives more money influence to the big donors out there who already have plenty of influence. Let me tell you quickly what it did, and why I think the Government by the People Act is a terrific response to McCutcheon. The McCutcheon case basically said that, whereas before there was an aggregate limit on the amount that a single individual could contribute to all federal candidates, that’s congressional candidates and senate candidates. Now that limit has been lifted. So, a single individual can give the maximum amount, which is $2,600 dollars, in a primary and in a general election. They can give that maximum amount to all members of Congress, all candidates who are running. They can give even more money to political committees. And so, a single individual now, which before was somewhat constrained, because there was an overall limit on how much they could put into all federal races combined, now is not subject to that restraint, and can wield influence over the entire institution of Congress in the same way that previously they were only able to wield influence over, sort of, one member at a time. So all it does is that it makes big money donors, like Sean McCutcheon, who’s the one who brought that case to the Supreme Court, more powerful than they’ve already been up until now. And it makes the everyday citizen wonder how their voice can ever count and ever make a difference. Now I think there’s a way to do it. I think there’s a way to fight back against the McCutcheon decision, and I think it’s the Government by the People Act, which would create a small donor driven, public financing system, that candidates could turn to. If you think about it, the reason Sean McCutcheon and people like him have so much influence right now in our system, and in our politics, is because they’re the only game in town when it comes to raising the big dollars that you need to run a competitive campaign. But what if we could find another place where people could turn to run their campaigns, where candidates could go to power their elections? Everyday citizens, what if that was the place that candidates turn? Then, you could begin to reduce the influence that Sean McCutcheon has, and the big money campaign donors have, because there would be somewhere else to get the money. That’s what the Government by the People Act would do, it would create a system like that, and it would begin to push back on the influence that people like Sean McCutcheon have, and give that power to everyday Americans out there who are demanding to have their voice be heard. So that’s the McCutcheon case, stay tuned for the Government by the People Act and our efforts to move it forward and empower everyday citizens. Thank you.