The “Swiftest and Surest Way” to Purge Corruption
The current campaign finance system in Washington creates innumerable opportunities for corrupting government decisions.
The American people understand this simple reality: big money buys influence and results in Washington at their expense.
The top 100 donors to Super PACs in the 2020 elections, for example, gave more than $2 billion. And that’s just one example of the big money that is flooding our elections.
These are contributions with a purpose: to influence government decisions on the great policy issues facing the country — healthcare and drug prices, financial and investment policies, climate change, guns, and energy, to name just a few.
A product of the Supreme Court decisions in Citizens United and McCutcheon, the current campaign finance system traps federal officeholders in a system that makes them heavily dependent on, and obligated to, influence-seeking big money funders.
The solution to this core problem for our democracy is included in H.R. 1/S. 1, which creates a small donor, public matching funds system for federal candidates.
This alternative way for candidates to finance their campaigns frees them from the iron grip of political influence money. It empowers tens of millions of citizens from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, and from all points of view to participate in the political process.
This system would democratize the financing of our elections. And it does so at no cost to taxpayers, as the public matching funds are financed with a new, small surcharge on penalties and settlements paid to the government.
Furthermore, small donations do not have the ability to exercise corrupting influence like big money does.
This is particularly important for ordinary Americans who believe their interests are being overwhelmed by the interests of big money funders, and for women and people of color who are repeatedly shortchanged in raising the money needed to run for Congress.
The bottom line is this: if an alternative way is not provided for officeholders and other candidates to finance their campaigns, Washington political money corruption will grow far worse in the years to come.
President Biden recognized the essential need for a different campaign finance system when, decades ago at the beginning of his Senate career, he said that public financing is “the swiftest and surest way to purge our elections system of the corruption, that, whatever the safeguards, money inevitably brings.”