Fair Elections Now Act

The Money in Politics Connection

The Public Campaign Action Fund released a report today regarding Sen. Ben Nelson's decision to oppose a public insurance option. The report includes an in-depth money in politics analysis - linking Sen. Nelson to over 1.2 million dollars in contributions from insurance interests.

To learn more and read the report, click here.

Deep-pocketed Donors Want Campaign Finance Reform

A group of Democratic donors is clamoring for campaign finance reform. The 58 donors, who have collectively given over $16 million in political contributions, sent an open letter to Democratic members of Congress calling for the Fair Elections Now Act. The letter was organized by Public Campaign Action Fund and can be found on their site by clicking here.

The CNN Politicalticker covers the story here.

Larry Summers' Speaking Fees Targeted by Watchdogs

David Donnelly, director of Campaign Money Watch, discusses what would appear to be a conflict of interest for Larry Summers, the director of the National Economic Council, who continues to accept large speaking fees from bailed out banks.

"Most of the companies paying Summers' speaking fees are found at top the list of contributors to politicians from both parties, leaving voters to wonder if there is anyone left who isn't in Wall Street's pocket."

Better Than You Think

Bob Bernick Jr. acknowledges he feels like he's going out on a limb with this editorial in support of full public financing campaign. Bernick is writing in Utah's Deseret News, a paper that has covered its share of money in politics/lobbyists/corruption stories so this seems like a logical progression in their exploration of the topic, but Bernick has dim hopes about support in the state, and in Congress, for public financing.

News You Can Use

The Calvin College chapter of Democracy Matters makes the news for their efforts to rally support behind the Fair Elections Now Act in the Senate, and public funding of elections as the state and federal level. Great work by the students, and a very positive story!

New Reform Venture

Stanford law professor and noted copyright law expert Lawrence Lessig launched his new venture today, Change-Congress.org, designed to track the position of members of Congress on key reform issues, and put them on the record in support of things like the Fair Elections Now Act, which would publicly finance congressional campaigns. Read more about his project here.

Change for Congress

Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Stanford who has spent much of his career focused on copyright law is taking up the cause of cleaning up Congress. His new project, change-congress.org will track the positions of congressional candidates in this year's elections on a number of reform proposals and allow people to direct donations to candidates based on their support for these proposals.

Keep Your Caps On

Laura MacCleery of the Brennan Center for Justice challenges a recent proposition in Roll Call to deal with the largely unregulated activities of independent "527" committees in elections by loosening campaign contributions limits, suggesting that a much better alternative is a robust full public financing program for federal elections.

The article, which is available in full only to subscribers gives some perspective to the immense amount of money being spent this election cycle:

About Speech

Kentucky lawyer Edward Bonnie attacks the "free speech" arguments against public financing of elections in the Courier Journal op-ed. Arguing that Fair and Clean Elections programs promote, rather than limit, speech Bonnie talks up the promise of the Fair Elections Now Act introduced in the Senate while questioning whether we want to continue to have Sen. Mitch McConnell-style elections where money is the yardstick for a candidate's worth.

Ahead of the Curve

A candidate hoping to challenge Sen. Saxby Chambliss in Georgia is making addressing our campaign finance problems a central focus of his campaign. He has decided to follow the parameters of the Fair Elections Now Act that was introduced in the Senate last year, but hasn't yet passed.