Friday, April 20, 2012

Fair Elections Now Act

This act has both Senate (S 750) and House (HR 1404) versions which are very similar in content.  Basically a line is drawn at $100 per voter per candidate for federal primary and general elections.  Very substantail public funding is provider for qualifiers:  for House seats one needs 1,500 contributors ($5.00 to $100) and for a Senate seat 1,500 plus 500 per instate CD, same financial limits.  Only in-state residents may participate.  The Senate bill has all of 15 co-sponsors and the House version 79 co-sponsors.  These provisions are similar to the Arizona Clean Elections Act which just survived the effort by the Arizona legislature to eliminate it. Instead a deal was struck to eliminate the matching funds in accord with the recent Supreme Court dicision, although there is still public funding of a significant amount for qualifiers (for instance, 220 $5.00 contributers for a House seat).

Every candidate for Senate and the House should be pressed to support of this bill, which, if passed, would go a long way to cutting back on the river of money flowing unrestricted into the political process.  Two problems:  it is voluntary, and there is only low level support by those already in office (shocking, isn't it?).  But there is strong support by a large number of prominent past legislators and others.  Check out the group Americans for Campaign Reform (;  there are 50 on the advisory committee, from the  right (Peter Peterson) to the  left (Walter Mondale) and many others inbetween.   Sen. Bob Kerry is the ACR Chair.  His quote:  "You say you want to serve your country by running as a candidate for Congress today?  Show me the money.  Otherwise, you will be shown the door."

To me this issue is #1 with the Glass-Steagal reinstatement #2 of the questions we should press the candidates on, among others of course. 

Rick Graap,  Clean Elections IOT

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