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Fair Elections Now Background
The Fair Elections Now bill would allow federal candidates to choose to run for office without relying on large contributions, big money bundlers, or donations from lobbyists, and would free candidates from constant fundraising in order to focus on what people in their communities want. Participating candidates would seek support directly from their own communities and constituents. Candidates would need to raise a large number of small contributions from their communities in order to qualify for Fair Elections funding.
The recent Supreme Court ruling (Citizens United) provides large corporations with even more influence in controlling election outcomes. The money now flooding the system is coming from organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which alone will spend more than $200M this year. This and other organizations like it represent companies that don’t value what we value. The bill does not bar private funding of campaigns, but it provides the option for candidates to run for Congress on a blend of small private donations and limited public funds, including a four-to-one federal match on donations of $100 or less. With the Fair Elections Now Act, candidates could finance a viable campaign based solely on contributions from their local grassroots base of supporters.
The Fair Elections Now Act, HR 1826, has approximately 160 Congressional co-sponsors. There is also a Senate version of the bill, S. 752.
Green America will also continue to focus on economic strategies that address corporate political contributions and lobbying — such as shareholder action. We will update our shareholder focus list in the spring and expect to include a number of proxy resolutions that address corporations’ role in elections and policy-making.