small donors

BIG NEWS: Government By the People Act Introduced

Today, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) will be joined by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and over 100 House members as original co-sponsors of the Government By the People Act (H.R. 20), a bill to lift up the voices of everyday people in the political process through empowering and encouraging small dollar donors.

The Government By the People Act would allow candidates to run for office by relying on a large number of small donations from people back home—instead of big donations from lobbyists or Wall Street bankers.

Here’s how it would work:

Poll: Voters Want Major Changes, Support Efforts to Empower Small Donors

Voters are angry with the status quo in Washington and want politicians to make “major changes” to the way our elections are financed, according to new polling from Lake Research Partners that was commissioned by Public Campaign Action Fund.

Two-thirds of likely voters support a proposal to fund campaign with small contributions and limited public funds, with majority support across Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.

The policy, a way to raise up the voices of everyday people in the political process, is also good politics, according to the survey. 

Fair Elections, Other Small Donor-based Legislation Introduced in 113th Congress

Democratic Congressmen John Yarmuth (Ky.), John Sarbanes (Md.), and David Price (N.C.) each introduced public financing legislation last night. Congressman John Larson, chair of the Caucus' DARE Task Force on campaign finance and electoral reform issues, will work with the members to develop a bill that combines the best parts of all three. Rep. Yarmuth is taking over for Rep. Larson on the Fair Elections Now Act (HR 269), legislation Public Campaign has endorsed since its House introduction in 2009.

David Donnelly on MSNBC: We need policies that bring people back in

Public Campaign Action Fund Executive Director David Donnelly appeared on Melissa Harris-Perry's show on MSNBC today to talk about all the money flooding into this year's elections.

Declaration for Accountable Democracy

Public Campaign Action Fund, Public Citizen, Common Cause, and People For The American Way--organizations representing hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens—announced a new campaign today urging federal candidates to declare their support for legislation to restore transparency and accountability in political spending, limit corrosive influence of big money on campaigns, make elections fair, and enhance the opportunity to participate.

Congressman Sarbanes op-ed in the Huffington Post

Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.), a strong supporter of the Fair Elections Now Act  and a co-chair of the House Democratic Task Force on Fair Governance, wrote this

John Sarbanes: Fighting back against super PACs

Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) went on Up with Chris Hayes Sunday morning to talk about his plan for empowering small donors, modeled after the Fair Elections Now Act in Congress. As National Journal reported, "Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., says that super PACs could influence Congressional races in the same way they have the presidential race—and he may have a way for candidates to fight back."

Check out the video below that also features Public Campaign Action Fund board member Zephyr Teachout.

How Much for Dessert?

Heralded as he is for drawing a huge number of small donors to his presidential campaign, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is still collecting plenty of $1,000+ plus checks, as this story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune explains. Obama was in the Minneapolis area for a big fundraising event, at which attendees ponied up $1,000 for dinner and $5,000 for a picture with the candidate.

Building the Web

While we work to give Congress a chance to run for office without taking big money, other tools have made it easier for ordinary voters to jump into the political fray and take on the entrenched powers that enjoy such influence on our elections. Adam Bonin, an attorney who specializes in the intersection of politics and the internet, writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the importance of keeping the internet open as a channel of open, civic participation.

Headed for the Small Time

One of the interesting peripheral stories on the presidential campaign has been the innovative online donation strategies of candidates like Sen. Barack Obama and Rep. Ron Paul to recruit small donors to their effort. This Los Angeles Times story talks about what that shift in strategy has yielded for Obama, and what it means for a move away from traditional big donors politics.