Ahead of the Curve

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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.

John Lanier worked for many years in Washington and has no doubt seen the dirty underbelly of campaign fundraising. So he has decided to make getting big money out of politics one of the cornerstones of his campaign for the Democratic nomination to challenge Chambliss:

 

At a time when voters are expressing frustration bordering on contempt for Congress - and Washington in general - Lanier will bill his campaign as a referendum on the corrupting influence of money on politics, particularly campaign finance reform.

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One of the key decisions Lanier made about his campaign is that, unlike any other contenders, he will raise money according to restrictive campaign-finance proposal that, because Congress hasn’t passed it yet, no other candidates will held to.

“What we want to do is make Georgia ground zero for campaign finance reform,” he said. I won’t play the money game. I have spent exactly zero hours dialing for dollars.”

The proposed law, the Fair Elections Now Act, would require Lanier to test his support by generating $5 contributions, first from 500 people and then 4,000 statewide. His largest contributions would limited to $100.

The Fair Elections Now Act was introduced in early 2007 by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) to create a full public financing option for Senate races, modeled on the successful Clean Elections programs in Maine, Arizona, and several other states. Companion legislation has also been introduced in the House.