Reforming the system will never be Congress's first priority until a grassroots movement gives politicians a choice: You can have our support or special interest money, but not both.
What is the Fair Elections Now Act?
The bipartisan Fair Elections Now Act was offered this year by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Arlen Specter (D-PA), and Reps. John Larson (D-CT) and Walter Jones (R-NC). With senior leaders in the Senate and House taking the lead, and 135 co-sponsors in the House alone, the bill has strong champions in both houses of Congress.
Under this legislation, congressional candidates who raise a threshold number of small-dollar donations would qualify for a chunk of funding—several hundred thousand dollars for House, millions for many Senate races. If they accept this funding, they can't raise big-dollar donations. But they can raise contributions up to $100, which would be matched four to one by a central fund. Reduced fees for TV airtime is also an element of this bill, creating an incentive for politicians to opt into this system and run people-powered campaigns.