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Free and Fairer Elections

Throughout his career in Congress, Rep. Larson has continually fought for free and fair elections for the American people.  As an early proponent of publicly-financed congressional elections that would put the power in the hands of the people instead of wealthy individuals and big corporations, his work has been recognized by good government groups such as Common Cause and Demos.  
 
In the 113th Congress, Rep. Larson served as Chairman of the Task Force on Election Reform, leading the Democratic Caucus’s efforts to shed light on the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FECThis laid the groundwork for H.R. 1, a historic government reform bill which passed the House of Representatives in March of 2019 and is awaiting a Senate vote. This package contained a number of priorities he has fought for throughout his career. 

Rep. Larson speaks at a campaign finance reform forum in West Hartford
Rep. Larson answers a question from a constituent at a 
campaign finance reform forum in West Hartford.

Overturning the Destructive Citizens United Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court decision oCitizens United opened a Pandora’s Box of unintended consequences by allowing nearly unlimited money to flow into our elections. Since then, Rep. Larson has cosponsored constitutional amendments that would reverse this disastrous ruling. Such an amendment would once again empower Congress to enact strong campaign finance regulations such as laws limiting large contributions and governing campaign spending. It would also give Congress and the States the power to enact common sense laws to restrict the unlimited flow of money into our elections without facing objections from the Court.  

H.R. 1 expresses support for this proposal. 

Promoting Transparency

Rep. Larson is a longtime cosponsor of the DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 2977), a direct response to the Citizens United decision intended to pull back the curtain on campaign finance reports. The DISCLOSE Act would mandate timely disclosure requirements for corporations, labor organizations, and other entities, and require those organizations to clearly share such information with the shareholders and members they represent. 

Citizens United empowered corporations to funnel vast sums of money into elections while keeping the public in the dark. The DISCLOSE Act would shine a light on those contributions and ensure the American people know who might be influencing attack ads and other communications. 

H.R. 1 includes the DISCLOSE Act., Rep. Larson is also a cosponsor of the standalone legislation.  

Ensuring All Voices Are Heard

Our nation was founded on the principle that all citizens are entitled to an equal voice in their government. When corporations or the very wealthy flood elections with untold amounts of money, the voices of countless middle-class Americans are drowned out. Rep. Larson first introduced the Fair Elections Now Act in 2008, a proposal modeled after Connecticut’s successful publicly funded elections program.  

H.R. 1 creates a 6:1 small dollar match for candidates who refuse large money donations.   

Protecting the Right to Vote

It is critically important that we stand up and confront any attempt to make it harder for Americans to exercise their right to vote— whether though restrictive ID laws, selective elimination of neighborhood polling places, or cutting back on early voting opportunities which are particularly important to young, working class, and minority voters.  

Rep. Larson was shocked that the U.S. Supreme Court moved to undermine key portions of the historically bipartisan Voting Rights Act in the 2013 Shelby County decision. Since that ruling, we have seen a wave of the most blatant attempts at making it more difficult for particular groups of people to vote since the early days of the Civil Rights movement. 

We cannot allow our society to lose ground in our quest for equality by giving up the hard-won gains of the last generation. The right to vote is fundamental to retaining a free and open government that works on behalf of all Americans.  That’s why Rep. Larson is proud to support and co-sponsor the Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4), which passed the House of Representatives in December of 2019. This bill would restore and strengthen the protections guaranteed under the original Voting Rights Act while addressing concerns identified by the Court. 

 

More on Free and Fairer Elections

July 16, 2014 Press Release
Washington - Today, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01), Chairman of the House Election Task Force, introduced an amendment to reverse Citizens United and other rulings that have given corporations and wealthy donors the right to buy unlimited influence in our elections.
April 2, 2014 Press Release
Washington – Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01), Chairman of the Task Force on Election Reform, condemned today’s decision by the Supreme Court to remove restrictions on total dollar amounts of aggregate contributions a donor may make in our elections.
February 5, 2014 Press Release

Washington – Today, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01), Chairman of the Task Force on Election Reform, continued his efforts to reduce the influence of big money in politics by joining as an original co-sponsor of the Government By the People Act (H.R. 20). The bipartisan bill establishes a voluntary, competitive alternative to big money politics in House races by empowering everyday Americans in our elections and providing resources to fight against big, outside spending.

January 14, 2014 Press Release

Washington – Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01), Chairman of the Task Force on Election Reform, released the following statement today on the announcement that Miles Rapoport will serve as the new president of Common Cause:

“From his time in Connecticut to his work with Demos, Miles Rapoport has fought to lessen inequality and improve our electoral system. A champion of every voter’s rights, Miles exemplifies the values of Common Cause. I offer my congratulations on his new position and know his experience will serve him well moving forward.”

October 9, 2013 Press Release
Washington – Today, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01), Chairman of the Task Force on Election Reform, continued calls to the Supreme Court to uphold portions of the "McCain-Feingold" Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 that restrict the total dollar amount of aggregate contributions a donor may make.
September 23, 2013 Press Release

Hartford – Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01), Chairman of the Task Force on Election Reform, released the following statement today after the U.S. Senate confirmed Democrat Ann Ravel and Republican Lee Goodman to the Federal Election Commission (FEC):

July 25, 2013 Press Release
Washington – Today, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01), Chairman of the Task Force on Election Reform, joined Ranking Member Robert A. Brady (PA-01) of the Committee on House Administration, and Ranking Member John Conyers Jr. (MI-13) of the House Judiciary Committee, in submitting an Amicus brief to the Supreme Court regarding the upcoming McCutcheon v. FEC case.
June 26, 2013 Press Release

Washington – Today Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01), Chairman of the Task Force on Election Reform, released the following statement on the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. The Court's decision strikes down the formula within the Voting Rights Act that determines which states and municipalities with past instances of discrimination must be required to seek approval of changes in voting laws that may affect minority populations, effectively ending the Act's ability to require that approval:

June 17, 2013 Press Release

Washington – Today Rep. John B. Larson (CT -01), Chairman of the Task Force on Election Reform, released the following statement on the Supreme Court decision on Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. In a 7-2 decision, the Court ruled that States cannot institute additional voter requirements to the existing federal registration process:

May 16, 2013 Press Release

Washington – Today Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01), Chairman of the Task Force on Election Reform, released the following statement on the introduction of the Election Assistance Commission Improvements Act of 2013 by Rep. Robert Brady, Ranking Member and other Democratic members of the Committee on House Administration:

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