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Reform Groups Applaud House Democrats Comprehensive Reform Package to Fix Political System

July 14, 2016 | Adam Smith

The following statement is being issued today by the Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause, CREW, Democracy 21, Democracy Matters, Every Voice, People For the American Way, Public Citizen, Rootstrikers project at Demand Progress, U.S. PIRG and Voices for Progress.

Our organizations applaud House Democrats for the comprehensive reform package they offered today to fix our political system. The reform package addresses the most important problems undermining the ability of ordinary Americans to be fairly and honestly represented in our democracy.

These problems include the destructive role of big money in American politics, the suppression of citizens’ voting rights and the partisan redistricting that is eliminating competitive elections. These problems have combined to deprive the American people of the representative system of government promised to them by the United States Constitution.

The American people want their elections to be of, by and for the people. They want everyone’s voice to have a chance to be heard in Washington, D.C. They want the barriers reduced that prevent qualified people from running for public office. They want to empower citizens in the political process and curb big money. They want every qualified citizen to be able to cast a vote and have it counted. They want fair, not gerrymandered, districts.

National polls have made clear that citizens overwhelmingly object to the existing campaign finance system and the central role it plays in rigging decisions made in Washington.

The reform plan offered by the House Democrats contains the critical elements essential to repairing the campaign finance system, including proposals to overturn destructive Supreme Court decisions, to provide small donor public financing for presidential and congressional candidates, to end secret money in elections, to curb super PACs and to create a new approach to enforcing the campaign finance laws. The plan also addresses lobbying and revolving door abuses.

We applaud House Democrats for injecting campaign finance reform into the national debate and elections. This effort reflects recognition that we have to fix our political system as a prerequisite to effectively addressing other major issues facing our country. The effort also shows that, contrary to some assertions, they are viewing campaign finance reform as an important and viable policy and voting issue.

House Democrats have correctly identified the essential policy reforms. Additionally, it is also critical that they pursue a plan of legislative and executive branch action that treats fundamental reform of our broken electoral system as a national priority in 2017 and for as long as it takes to win this battle for the American people.

Many of the proposals in the comprehensive reform package unveiled by House Democrats are also contained in the 21st Century Democracy Agenda developed and distributed last year by reform groups and publicly advocated this year by the groups as part of the national debate taking place during the 2016 national elections.