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Congressman John Larson

Representing the 1st District of Connecticut

Larson: We Must Empower Everyday Americans in our Elections

February 5, 2014
Press Release
Cosponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Reduce Influence of Big Money in Politics

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.

Introduced by Congressman John Sarbanes (MD-D), the bill is a piece of the comprehensive approach to reforming campaigns and elections promoted by the Task Force which also includes increased disclosure and transparency of PAC donations, amending the Constitution to undo Citizens United and upholding voting rights nationwide.

“Bringing our elections back to the people empowers everyday Americans and strengthens our democracy. We must protect the voice of every voter in the face of efforts to drown them out,” said Larson. “That’s why I have advocated for taking big money out of politics and why we must continue to push initiatives that support small donors. This bill would create incentives for candidates to seek out small-dollar donations from average Americans so that their voices can be heard over the outsized spending of the super-wealthy and Washington special interests.”

“I want to thank Representative Sarbanes for his impassioned leadership on this issue, as well as acknowledge the contributions of Representatives Price, Yarmuth, Pingree and other members of the Task Force on Election Reform, and Leader Nancy Pelosi for continuing to make election reform a top priority.”

The Government By the People Act includes provisions that:

  • Empower everyday Americans by creating the My Voice Tax Credit. Encouraging all Americans to participate in campaigns with a $25 tax credit for small donors and generating more small contributions to candidates for Congress will reduce Congress’s dependence on big money interests.
  • Amplify the voice of the people. To strengthen the voice of everyday Americans in campaigns, small contributions will be matched by a new Freedom From Influence Fund, provided the candidate forgoes big money special interests and enjoys broad-based support from small donors.
  • Prevent Super PACs and other dark money interests from drowning out the voice of the people. To counter the unlimited spending that bombards the airwaves in the final weeks of elections, citizen-funded candidates would have access to more resources to fight back against outside spending and ensure the peoples’ voice is heard in the last 60 days of a campaign.

Previously introducing the Fair Elections Now Act (FENA) in the House, Congressman Larson has long called for comprehensive election reform. In order to fix our broken electoral system, the Task Force on Election Reform’s approach also includes disclosing the sources of the money in our campaigns, amending the Constitution to overturn the grievous error of the Citizens United decision and empowering citizens everywhere to exercise their right to vote. The Government By the People Act has received support from Americans for Campaign Reform, Common Cause, Public Campaign, Public Citizen, U.S. PIRG, NAACP, Sierra Club and United Auto Workers.