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Americans want—and deserve—a government that’s truly of, by, and for the people. One in which the men and women they elect to Congress are free to do what’s best for their constituents and their country, what founding father James Madison called a government “dependent on the people alone.”

Unfortunately, today, the voices of everyday Americans aren’t being heard because big money dominates the financing of campaigns. Big money campaign donors fill the bank accounts of candidates from both parties, fund super PACs, and hire lobbyists to bend policy in their direction. Those with the money get the access and influence with politicians, those without it are left behind.

There is no one silver bullet policy to solve everything. Certainly we need increased transparency on where the money is coming from for political ads and we need a nonpartisan election watchdog agency with teeth. We will need to change the courts or change the Constitution — through an amendment — to address wrong-headed court decisions. These are all important steps to address a political system that far too often works for the well-connected. We believe, though, the most important solutions that would do the most good are those that give everyday Americans a much bigger say in elections.

To do that, we must change the way our elections are financed through legislation like Congressman John Sarbanes Government By the People Act (HR 20). Instead of relying on Wall Street executives and lobbyists for campaign contributions, participating candidates could rely on their constituents back home. Here’s how it works:

The Government By the People Act, and the companion Fair Elections Now Act (S. 2023) in the Senate, are modeled on successful small donor systems in effect in cities and states across the country. In places like Connecticut, Maine, and New York City, hundreds of candidates have been able to run and win competitive campaigns for office by relying on a blend of small donations and public matching funds.

Learn more about the Government By the People Act and Fair Elections Now Act at OfBy.Us