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Raising a barn in Congress: Let's get lawmakers to support Fair Elections

By       Message Craig Salins     Permalink

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Watching the health care debate in Congress - and the TV ads by every lobby group in the country - is there really any doubt that we need fundamental reform of campaign finance laws?

In the U.S. House, there are now 108 members who have agreed to co-sponsor the Fair Elections Now Act (HR 1826).

It's time for other lawmakers to step up to the plate.

A candid comment: Of course we're unlikely to achieve public financing in Congress quickly or without a fight, and the results won't come until a future election cycle. But let's take a step forward. First, the bills need Congressional co-sponsors. Then they need approval on the floor of Congress. And then, when signed into law, the programs can take effect, for future elections.

And the result? Perhaps, the promise of government of the people, by the people, and for the people, would have a slim shot at becoming reality in America - instead of political favors for Wall Street banks, investment houses, A.I.G. and similar insurance and pharmaceutical profiteers. Remember: the cost of this corruption is passed along to all of us.

You can make a difference!
When raising a barn, first comes the blueprints. Then comes the organizing. All the neighbors work together, to raise the walls and install the roof.

We need such a barnraising - to spur Congress to action. We have the blueprint: Fair Elections bills introduced in Congress. There's even a favorable climate: wide and growing public awareness that we need serious change in campaign financing.

It's time for lawmakers - ours, the ones that represent us - to co-sponsor this needed reform.

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Believe me, they will not act without a shove from the grassroots. That's what we're about. Let's push them to take action - now!

This week - in fact today or tomorrow - please contact your member of Congress.

Best is to make a call to his/her office, or send them a short, personalized email or letter. Ask them why their name is not already these bills. Ask them to support the only fundamental reform that will restore governance by the people, instead of by lobbyists and campaign financiers.

Information on the Fair Elections Now Act -Click here.
Or, on WPC's home page, click the button "Legislative Action" in the left column.

Contact information for members of Congress - Click here.

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In Washington State, where WashClean has its office, only two members of Congress from Washington state have signed on: Reps. Jim McDermott (7th CD) and Adam Smith (9th CD).

Rep. Jay Inslee's office said he wants to know how the program would be funded.
The answer: through a surcharge on large federal contracts (like Blackwater, or Halliburton) .. how appropriate!

Weeks ago, we met with Rep. Norm Dicks' staff, who said he would think about it.

Rep. Rick Larsen? - we don't know. We're told he receives significant campaign donations from business financiers, certainly self-interested in keeping him in office. No surprise, there.

Rep. Brian Baird, at a town hall meeting in Olympia with 1,000 people, answered a question about undue influence by the health insurance industry, by saying he thought there should be public financing of election campaigns to Congress. So, Congressman -will you join 108 other members and co-sponsor HR 1826?

Other members, Reps. McMorris-Rodgers, Hastings, and Reichert- so far - have blown it off. Perhaps they think democracy works better when the lobbyists and Wall Street banks write federal legislation - even though that's what led to the economic crash, followed by huge taxpayer bailouts of A.I.G., Goldman-Sachs and corporate America.

Or, do those members prefer to "dial for dollars" and appear to be for sale?

We expectwith a few more House members on board, we mightget Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to add their names as co-sponsors of the Senate companion bill, S.752. But they need a shove from our grassroots, too.

Lastly, if you believe - as I do - that public financing of campaigns is an essential first step to accountability in government, so thatCongress works forMain Street Americans instead of for corporate lobbyists and their wealthy clients, then please support the organization that is organizing to achievethis reform.

Thank you!
Our movement is only as strong as our supporters - and only as active as you make it.


P.S. There's a lot of information on our website,

Check out the WPC Resources page, for a wide variety of articles and downloads, organized by issue area.

Check out the Links page - for links to short videos and other national and local partners.

And check out the WPC NewsBlog page- for short news and opinion articles and postings.

Craig Salins, WPC Director (now as a volunteer)
Washington Public Campaigns


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Craig Salins is executive director of Washington Public Campaigns, a statewide organization advocating for public financing of campaigns at local, state and national levels.

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Raising a barn in Congress: Let's get lawmakers to support Fair Elections