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Friday, September 30, 2016

WATCH: Is Small Donor Matching The Antidote To Citizens United?

In the Citizens United era, when billionaires and corporations can pour unlimited sums of money into elections to advance their own narrow interests, it is more difficult than ever for average voters to make their voices heard and make a difference in elections.

That’s why Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and David Price (D-NC) have introduced the Empowering Citizens Act, which would enact a public small donor matching program in American elections.

The Act, which builds on a proposal from Democracy 21 and the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, would create a voluntary 5-to-1 public matching program on small contributions of up to $250. It would also cut contribution limits for participating candidates in half, institute a cap on public funds available per race, and strengthen the ineffective rules preventing Super PACs and candidates from coordinating with each other.

Brennan Center for Justice Senior Counsel Adam Skaggs and Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer further explain the program in this video:

Although the Empowering Citizens Act would not prevent party committees or independent groups like Super PACs from spending in elections, it would greatly enhance the public’s role in electing its own government.

For more information on small donor matching programs, see the Brennan Center and Democracy 21’s proposal.

  • The most effective way to reject the ability of special interests to determine who should be elected and what kind of government we should have is to VOTE. We must make sure our voices are heard and the only tool we have to do that is to VOTE!!!

  • Jim Lou

    How does that bill get passed in today’s atmosphere?

    There isn’t much time to pass anything in this Congress.

    This is just publicity.

    • jarheadgene

      Beside that this DO NOTHING…Congress have proved they are only interested in legislating women’s vaginas, and nothing else…certainly not jobs.

      • onedonewong

        That’s what happens when you have a moron like Harry Reid running the Senate who hasn’t passed a budget in 4 years

        • jarheadgene

          Senator Reid is not a stonewalling blocker like the GOP Congress and Filibusting GOP Senate.

          • onedonewong

            Under his stellar leadership the Senate hasn’t passed a budget in over 4 years

          • jarheadgene

            Uh don’t you need a Senate that won’t filibuster and a congress that would vote>

          • onedonewong

            for 2 of those 4 years jarhead he had a filibuster proof majority, or are you just in love with the messiah and reid

          • jarheadgene

            Why are you still on here? At this point you aren’t persuading anyone, who is already set to vote for Obama, to change their vote. I know how most of you, GOP supporters, try to kindly persuade and politely reason with the Democrats to seek the truth and vote for your guy because we have been misled. *sarcasm* (In case you missed it like an antecedent) And RYAN was publicly crying about the unfairness of the media just yesterday. But most of the people voting for OBAMA have decided they will vote for OBAMA because he doesn’t have a hidden agenda to do away with Medicare and Medicaid. And he is not seeking to end Social Security benefits. And “WE the PEOPLE” are tired of the “Tax cuts solve everything” BS, Romney and Ryan want to sell. ….oh and filibuster proof….no…that started some 83 days into his Presidency, maybe sooner.

          • onedonewong

            It started 20 Jan 2009

  • TheOldNorthChurch

    Here is a simple solution. No one can lobby a House member outside their home district office and who is not a citizen of the district. No one can lobby a Senator outside their home State office who is not an elected official of their respective State. Monies can only be donated from individual citizens (residence) in their districts, no other entities.

  • daniel bostdorf

    I respectfully disagree with the view that all it takes is to simply vote. Unless you believe that the Democrats can take over the house. That is not realistic given the current polling data in the House seats up for grabs, particularly the “red states.” It would take a Romney/Ryan like “47% blunder” on the part of at least a dozen “red states” Republican House members up for re-election.

    I don’t think that is going to happen. Therefore, voting won’t solve the problem.

    Karl Rove and his billionaire friends have written off Romney, and are now dumping hundreds of millions into maintaining and/or gaining House seats to effectively block Obama and any Constitutional amendment challenge.

    But let’s say Democrats do take back the House….During an appearance on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show yesterday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi promised that Democrats would take on the task of overturning CITIZENS “on the first day we’re there.”

    Regarding Obama’s view on a Constitutional Amendment.

    This past August, Obama (a Constitutional law scholar) wrote that:

    “Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it….Even if the amendment process falls short,” he said, “it can shine a spotlight on the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change…Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs. They fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.”

    This article’s author, Henry Decker, distills Reps Holland and Price’s proposal that will probably lead to an interim solution:

    ” Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and David Price (D-NC) have introduced the Empowering Citizens Act, which would enact a public small donor matching program in American elections. The Act, which builds on a proposal from Democracy 21 and the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, would create a voluntary 5-to-1 public matching program on small contributions of up to $250. It would also cut contribution limits for participating candidates in half, institute a cap on public funds available per race, and strengthen the ineffective rules preventing Super PACs and candidates from coordinating with each other.”

    Currently, Super PACs are required to disclose their donors, but nonprofit advocacy groups that have dominated the 2012 race do not have to.

    This is where we must begin….Force the “nonprofit” fascist advocacy groups controlled by Rove and Koch Brothers to disclose all donors.

    Finally, we need Obama re-elected so that if any Supreme Court vacancy should occur, he may have an opportunity to shift the right wing court, a 5-4 court, to a more centrist Democratic view.

    “TheOldNorthChurch” has an interesting proposal, however, it still falls under the controll of a Republican controlled House, and I assure you, “Bonehead Boehner” won’t allow it even to come to the floor.

    • Considering the fact that there are more Democrats than Republicans running for re-election this year our chances of taking back the House are not very good. Hopefully, we will be able to narrow the gap but that, and keeping control of the Senate, is the best we can hope for.
      If it was up to me I would ban lobbying, but since such an approach would be challenged on Constitutional grounds and rejected, I think what OldNorthChurch suggested is something worth considering.

    • onedonewong

      Centrist democratic view??? You mean like Germany in the 1930’s and 40’s. That’s obama’s idea of a true socialist movement

      • english_teacher

        You’re confused about the party that’s like Germany in the ’30s and 40s. Which party is demonizing non-whites, gays, women? Which one is going for the “big lie”? Which one wouldn’t know a fact if it bit them on the nose when half-truths, deceptions, and spin are so much more fun? It’s the RINO right-wing party.

        • onedonewong

          The socialist party in Germany is the EXCAT same party that barak is a card carrying member of. Which party is demonizing non whites why the dems that’s why barak is know as the foodstamp president … he believes that non whites can achieve anything without govt assistance, he doesn’t want to teach them to fish he just wants to give them the fish. Demonizing gays?? who cares what they do, they are after societies approval for their deviant life style just like ax murders and child molesters.
          Women there are 1 MILLION fewer women with jobs thanks to the policies of barak.
          As for the big lie if it was easier to tell the truth barak and his minions would still lie, even with something as simple as the terrorist attack in Libya

          • english_teacher

            The Nazi party may have had socialism in its name. But, under Hitler, it developed into a fascist, not a socialist party.
            The rest of your response just reflects your personal opinions and are not backed up by any valid, factual information.
            If I thought it would do any good, I would find the facts to refute your opinions. But it would be a waste of my time because I doubt that you would be persuaded by facts because they would be too threatening to your world view.

          • onedonewong

            The democratic party may have democracy in its name but it has communism as its only goal.
            Don’t waste your time trying to refute my facts… they are 99% correct something no one else on this blog could ever justify

  • onedonewong

    What a joke…. The $3 check off on the 1040 has never generated enough $$$ to fund a single presidential election.
    Maybe these do goooders need to cough up their OWN $$$$ if this is such a great idea. How about eliminating there tax exempt status to pay for it???