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Americans want—and deserve—a government that’s truly of, by, and for the people. One in which the men and women they elect to Congress are free to do what’s best for their constituents and their country, what founding father James Madison called a government “dependent on the people alone.”
Unfortunately, today, the voices of everyday Americans aren’t being heard because big money dominates the financing of campaigns. Big money campaign donors fill the bank accounts of candidates from both parties, fund super PACs, and hire lobbyists to bend policy in their direction.
We must break the dependence on big money so that Congress can focus on the people’s priorities. We must return our government to one that is of, by, and for the people, not of, by, and for the big money donors. To do that in the U.S. Senate, let’s start with the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 2023).
1. EMPOWER EVERYDAY AMERICANS TO PARTICIPATE
Provide everyday Americans with a $25 refundable My Voice tax credit to help spur small-dollar contributions to candidates for Congressional office. With Americans newly empowered to participate in campaign giving, candidates will be able to re-engage with everyday voters, improving our representative democracy and reducing Congress’ dependence on big money interests.
2. BROAD PUBLIC SUPPORT
To participate, candidates would first need to prove their viability by raising a minimum number and minimum dollar amount of small-dollar qualifying contributions from in-state donors. Once a candidate qualifies, that candidate must limit the amount raised from each donor to $150 per election.
3. AMPLIFY THE VOICES OF EVERYDAY AMERICANS
For the primary, participants would receive a base grant that would vary in amount based on the population of the state that the candidate seeks to represent. Participants would also receive a 6-to-1 match for small dollar donations up to a defined matching cap. After reaching that cap, the candidate could raise an unlimited amount of unmatched $150 contributions if needed to compete against high-spending opponents.
For the general election, qualified candidates would receive an additional grant, small-dollar matching, and media vouchers for television advertising. The candidate could continue to raise an unlimited amount of $150 contributions if needed.