CITIZEN FUNDED ELECTIONS
SUPPORT THE "FAIR ELECTIONS NOW ACT",
PUBLIC FUNDING FOR CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION CAMPAIGNS


The Fair Elections Now Act provides matching public funds for congressional candidates who are able to raise a significant number of small contributions (under $100). This voluntary program provides both incumbents and their challengers with an alternative source of campaign money. Candidates will no longer be dependent on large checks from lobbyists, PACs and wealthy self-interested people.

The bill is designed to survive court challenges and to attract enough support to pass both houses of Congress. In 2008, Senator Barack Obama was a co-sponsor of a similar bill. Given his many statements on the issue, it is likely that he would sign a public funding bill into law.

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in the Citizens United case that corporations and unions are free to spend unlimited amounts of money in support of or in opposition to candidates for office, it is absolutely necessary that every candidate for Congress have available to them an alternative source of campaign money sufficient to make themselves known to the voters, to make their positions known to the voters, and to respond to attacks.


THE FAIR ELECTIONS NOW ACT HAS BEEN INTRODUCED
IN THE U.S. SENATE
(S. 750) AND IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES (H.R. 1404)

ARE YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS CO-SPONSORS YET?

LIST OF SENATE CO-SPONSORS
LIST OF HOUSE CO-SPONSORS


Here are some links to learn more about publicly funded elections, Citizens United, and advocacy groups.
Stay up-to-date by getting on their mailing lists. Consider making a donation to help with their work.

The Coffee Party is a grassroots meeting place for Americans seeking common ground and collective action to strengthen our democracy.
A broad based group of organizations dedicated to the mission of focusing public attention on federal public financing as the best politically viable, constitutionally acceptable, and practical response to the never-ending campaign money chase and pay-to-play scandals that have plagued our democracy. A summary of the bill.

Video about what needs to be done, now, after the Citizens United Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited special-interest intervention into our elections.
"It is not enough for us to get back to the world we had the day before the decision came down; that world was already corrupted by a Congress dependent upon special interest funding."
No other reform could be as important right now as passing the Fair Elections Now Act.

Americans for Campaign Reform, "We are a community of citizens who believe passionately that public funding is the single most critical long-term public policy issue our nation faces. What’s at stake are nothing less than the health of our democracy, the quality of our leadership, and our government’s ability to tackle the serious problems that affect us all: health care, energy policy, education, the environment and the economy. Chaired by former Senators Bradley (D, New Jersey), Kerrey (D, Nebraska), Rudman (R, New Hampshire) and Simpson (R, Wyoming).

Common Cause
Overview of the “Fair Elections Now Act” with FAQs.
Legislating Under the Influence a report on how major health care interests have spent $1.4 million per day this year lobbying Congress.
The latest news about the "Fair Elections Now Act" and public funding around the country. This page from Public Campaign gives a brief history of publicly funded elections in states and cities.
Public Citizen, many issues at the intersection of politics, policy, and campaign money including efforts to remedy the ruling in the Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
Part think tank, part public interest law firm, part advocacy group – the
Brennan Center combines scholarship, legislative and legal advocacy, and communications to win meaningful, measurable change in the public sector. Read Monica Youn's informative statement about the Fair Elections Now Act from the April 2011 Senate hearing on the bill.
Blue America is an on-line fundraising group that has raised over $500,000 for congressional candidates. This blog, posted by Howie Klein one of the founders of Blue America, announces that Blue America will be using support for Fair Elections as criteria for selecting candidates to support in the future. Blue America is a community on the ActBlue fundraising site. If you are a contributor or a fundraiser through ActBlue or any other fundraising site, ask the organizers to follow the example set by Blue America.
OpenSecrets.org is a nonpartisan guide to money’s influence on U.S. elections and public policy. Whether you’re a voter, journalist, activist, student or interested citizen, use this free site to shine light on your government.

POLLING
January 2011 - Nationwide Voter Survey by Hart Research Associates for Free Speech for People showing overwhelming support to end corporate personhood through a constitutional amendment. Results (PDF).
November 2010 - Polling of 1,200 general election voters shows broad, bipartisan support for proposed legislation to reduce the role of big money in U.S. Senate and House races. This support is fueled by the concern these voters have over the role money played in the recent election. (MORE)
September 2010 - Polling in Key Battleground Districts Finds Voters Will Reward Candidates who Support Fair Elections Now Act. Support is bipartisan, with 76% of Democrats in support, 65% of Independents backing the measure, 56% of Republicans supporting, and 57% of Tea Party members supporting Fair Elections. Detailed results (PDF).
Strong Campaign Finance Reform: Good Policy Good Politics.
This February 2010 survey of likely voters found that voters supported the Fair Elections Now Act, 62 percent to 31 percent. Among independents, support rose to 67 percent. The poll also found that voters were more likely to support a candidate who backed such reforms. Detailed results (PDF).
National polling on support for a proposal to tackle big money in Congressional elections.
Here (PDF) is polling from February 2009.
"More than two-thirds of voters (67%) support providing qualified congressional candidates a limited amount public funding if they agree to take no large contributions, while just 20% are opposed and 11% are undecided."
Attention candidates! The public is ready for Fair Elections. Link to research showing that public support for Fair Elections-style reform is strong and a majority of every subset of Americans—regardless of demographic and political identities—supports the measure.
June 2010 - More than three in four voters say Congress should support a Constitutional amendment if needed to limit the amount corporations can spend.
95% agree that “Corporations spend money on politics mainly to buy influence in government and elect people who are favorable to their financial interests.” (74% strongly agree)
74% say that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate for Congress who pledged to support a Constitutional Amendment limiting corporate spending in elections. (STORY) (POLL)
February 2010 - Strong majorities disagree with the Citizens United decision. Poll finds that 80 percent of Americans oppose the ruling, including 65 percent who “strongly” oppose it. " The court’s ruling is opposed, respectively, by 76, 81 and 85 percent of Republicans, independents and Democrats; and by 73, 85 and 86 percent of conservatives, moderates and liberals." (STORY) (POLL)

HISTORY OF PUBLICLY FUNDED ELECTIONS

The push for publicly funded elections started over 100 years ago with President Theodore Roosevelt. As recently as 1992, and again in 1994, both houses of Congress passed public funding bills. In 1992, the bill was vetoed and the Senate would not override the veto. In 1994, the Senate again passed the bill but a filibuster kept it from reaching the President's desk. For more history see, "A Long and Honorable History", on page 5, of "Breaking Free with Fair Elections: A New Declaration of Independence for Congress" (pdf).


LOOK WHO'S SPEAKING UP IN SUPPORT OF FAIR ELECTIONS
  • About 40 current and former corporate executives have a message for Congress: Quit hitting us up for campaign cash. ARTICLE
  • More than 200 national religious leaders have sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, ""We believe Congress must address both the Citizens United decision and the problems of the current campaign finance system by passing the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 752 and H.R. 1826)". LETTER
  • Former Senator Warren Rudman (R-NH) tells his former colleagues in Congress, "It's time to return to our roots and take up Teddy Roosevelt's challenge from over a century ago by enacting the only real and lasting solution I know: citizen-funded elections." COLUMN
  • Professor Lawrence Lessig of Harvard on "How To Get Our Democracy Back". ARTICLE
  • Tea Party support.
  • Coffee Party support.
  • Former Congressman Tom Osborne (R-NE) in support.
  • Four former U.S. Senators (two Democrats, two Republicans) chair group in support of Fair Elections.
  • Thirty former Members of Congress (Ds & Rs) in support.
  • National Business Groups in support.
  • New York Times Editorial in support.
  • List of supporting organizations.
  • Big Donors write to Pelosi in wake of Citizens United decision: "We want Fair Elections." ARTICLE AND LINK TO LETTER.
  • President Teddy Roosevelt in support !
Heard any good arguments against Fair Elections? Neither have we! LINK
 

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