Public Campaign Responds to SOTU: Important, But Small Step
Washington, D.C.—President Obama’s proposal to reduce the influence lobbyists can buy through their ability to raise campaign cash for lawmakers is important, but it does not go far enough toward putting everyday people back in charge of our elections, said campaign finance watchdog Public Campaign in response to the president’s State of the Union speech tonight.
“This is an important but small step toward severing the ties between elected officials and the special interests hoping to influence them through campaign cash,” said Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Public Campaign. “It is the big money behind the lobbyists that’s the problem. It’s not the hired guns, but those that hire them. You’ve got to go after the boss. We need big solutions.”
“President Obama should be commended for his speech to address the ‘corrosive influence of money in politics,” said Nyhart. “But he and Congress must also push a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and pass legislation like the Fair Elections Now Act that would emphasize small donors in our political system.”
In his prepared remarks tonight, President Obama said:
“I’ve talked tonight about the deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street. But the divide between this city and the rest of the country is at least as bad – and it seems to get worse every year. Some of this has to do with the corrosive influence of money in politics. So together, let’s take some steps to fix that. Send me a bill that bans insider trading by Members of Congress, and I will sign it tomorrow. Let’s limit any elected official from owning stocks in industries they impact. Let’s make sure people who bundle campaign contributions for Congress can’t lobby Congress, and vice versa – an idea that has bipartisan support, at least outside of Washington.
Under the Fair Elections Now Act, candidates would raise small donations of $100 or less from people back home that would be matched on a five-to-one basis. Instead of raising money from Washington lobbyists or Wall Street bankers, candidates could focus on their constituents. They’d be accountable to them—not wealthy special interests.
Several House members and Senators have introduced constitutional amendments to address the Citizens United decision, but Public Campaign has not yet endorsed any one in particular.
Public Campaign is a national nonpartisan organization that fights to raise the voices of everyday people in our democracy through changing our campaign finance laws and through holding elected officials accountable. Learn more at www.publicampaign.org.