In the 2012 election cycle alone, big interests such as the oil and gas industry and Wall Street contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to Congressional campaigns and equally vast sums to lobbying groups. Meanwhile, upwards of $1.3 billion poured in from Super PACs and “dark money” groups that float outside the reaches of our campaign finance laws.He has just proposed the following new law:
That’s why I am introducing the Government By the People Act. This sensible and straightforward piece of legislation will do the following.It is very strange that he did not mention such special interest groups as trial lawyers, teachers, labor unions, environmental groups, feminist groups, Black American groups, and Hispanic groups. Will his legislation equally suppress their freedom of speech as will his attempt to make taxes more unfavorable for groups who do not always reliably support Democrats? It is clear that the only way to get the taxes to pay for this is to attack businesses and milk them. His legislation can hardly acquire the funding it needs from labor unions, non-profit environmental, feminist, Black, and Hispanic groups. This proposal is a very clearly anti-business proposal and makes no attempt at all to control many special interest groups. What it does is force businesses to fund anti-business special interests.
First, it will encourage the participation of everyday Americans in the funding of campaigns by providing a refundable $25 My Voice Tax Credit. This will bring the voices of the broad public into the funding side of campaigns and democratize the relationship between money and speech.
Second, the bill will establish a Freedom From Influence Matching Fund to boost the power of small-dollar contributions. To be eligible for these matching funds, a candidate must agree to a limit on large donations and must demonstrate broad-based support from a network of small-dollar contributors. Amplified by the Freedom From Influence matching fund, the voices of everyday Americans would be just as powerful as the voices of the big donors.
Third, the Government By the People Act will provide candidates with an opportunity to earn additional resources in the home stretch of a campaign so that the voices of the people are not completely drowned out by Super PACs and other dark money interests. In the wake of the Citizens United decision, this kind of support is critical to ensuring that citizen-backed candidates have staying power.
We can pay for these changes just by closing a few of the tax and regulatory loopholes that are the decades-old legacy of special interest influence in Congress. It’s only fair that those who are responsible for breaking the policy-making machinery in Washington should bear the cost of fixing it.