Public Campaign Applauds Sen. Durbin for Hearing to Address Our Big Money Political System
Washington, D.C.-National campaign finance watchdog Public Campaign applauded Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and his colleagues for holding a hearing on the disastrous impact of Citizens United and other recent Supreme Court decisions and ways we can begin to restore our government to one that is truly of, by, and for the people.
The hearing, “Taking Back Our Democracy: Responding to Citizens United and the Rise of Super PACs” was held today by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, chaired by Sen. Durbin.
“Our elections are rapidly becoming little more than a playground for the country’s wealthiest Americans,” said Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Public Campaign, who submitted written testimony to the committee. “Sen. Dick Durbin recognizes that and he should be commended for wanting to make our elections of, by, and for the people—not bought and paid for by special interests.”
“While increased disclosure of deep pocket political money and exploring changes to the constitution are strong and needed steps, we also need to enact policies that will ensure the voices of everyday voters are heard loud and clear by our elected officials,” said Nyhart. “That will take ending political dependency on special interest dollars and substituting a Fair Elections funding system for the current big dollar regime.”
Public Campaign’s written testimony for the hearing outlines an “all of the above” approach to address our broken system—one that includes a small donor matching system like the Fair Elections Now Act, a constitutional amendment, and increased transparency:
“This debate is not just about campaign finance reform, though; it is fundamentally about who should be included: the many or the money? Everyday Americans or just the wealthy? Five Supreme Court justices chose the money over the many. Too often, many congressional Republicans are protecting wealthy donors and their moneyed interests at the expense of hardworking Americans. Congress must ensure that all Americans, not just the wealthy, have the opportunity to participate in the political process and have their voices heard. Pursuing a voluntary small-dollar matching system, coupled with robust disclosure and a Constitutional amendment, is the most comprehensive way to put everyday citizens back in charge of elections.”
The Fair Elections Now Act would allow candidates to run competitive campaigns for office on a blend of small dollar donations and matching public funds. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Durbin in the Senate and Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) in the House. The House bill has 100 co-sponsors.
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.