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About the Government By the People Act
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. Let’s start with the Government By the People Act. Here’s how it would work.
(The full text of the bill is available here.)
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. AMPLIFY THE VOICE OF EVERYDAY AMERICANS
Establish a Freedom from Influence Fund to multiply the impact of small-dollar donations ($150 or less). Everyday Americans will have their small-dollar contributions matched if they give to a Congressional candidate who foregoes traditional PAC money and focuses on earning broad-based support from small-dollar donors. That turns a $50 contribution into a $350 contribution – matched at a rate of $6 to $1. For those candidates who agree to take only small-dollar donations, the $50 contribution can become a $500 contribution – matched at a rate of $9 to $1.
3. FIGHT BACK AGAINST BIG MONEY SPECIAL INTERESTS
Prevent super PACs and dark money interests from drowning out the voice of everyday Americans. In the wake of the Citizens United decision, unlimited outside spending has monopolized the airwaves in the final weeks of elections. Citizen-funded candidates who are able to raise at least $50,000 in additional small-dollar donations within the 60-day “home stretch” of the general election would be eligible for additional resources to help break this monopoly.
The full text of the bill is available here.