Today, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) will be joined by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and over 100 House members as original co-sponsors of the Government By the People Act (H.R. 20), a bill to lift up the voices of everyday people in the political process through empowering and encouraging small dollar donors.
The Government By the People Act would allow candidates to run for office by relying on a large number of small donations from people back home—instead of big donations from lobbyists or Wall Street bankers.
Here’s how it would work:
· Empower Everyday Americans to Participate
The bill would provide Americans with a $25 refundable My Voice tax credit to help spur small-dollar contributions to candidates for Congressional office.
· Amplify the Voice of Everyday Americans
Establish a Freedom from Influence Fund to multiply the impact of small-dollar donations ($150 or less). Donations of $1 to $150 to participating candidates would be matched on a six-to-one basis. 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.
· Fight Back Against Special Interests
It will allow candidates to run competitive campaigns for office even with the threat of super PACs or dark money groups. Participating 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 break this monopoly.
From creating jobs to the budget to issues concerning the environment and health care, big money warps Congress’ priorities and erodes public trust. Too often, special interests and wealthy donors are calling the shots, and the American people are fed up. The Government By the People Act strikes at the heart of our big money problem, empowers ordinary voters by matching their small donations, and would hold members of Congress accountable to the people that elected them, not the wealthy donors who currently fund their campaigns. It’s time we return to government of, by, and for the people, not government bought and paid for by big money campaign donors.
Leader Pelosi and Rep. Sarbanes wrote and op-ed on the legislation that appeared in the Washington Post today.
From the op-ed: "Our Founders established a government of the many, not a government of the money. That’s what the American people deserve."
Learn more about the Government By the People Act and find out how you can get involved in the campaign to pass the legislation at www.ofby.us.