Demos Statement Supporting “Fair Elections Now Act”

Release Date: 
July 26, 2017

Washington, DC – Today, Adam Lioz, Demos Counsel and Senior Advisor of Policy & Outreach, released the following statement in support of the Fair Elections Now Act, introduced by Sen. Richard Durbin.

“Demos applauds Senator Durbin and his colleagues for re-introducing the Fair Elections Now Act, the strongest public financing legislation in the U.S. Senate. 

“Four decades of misguided Supreme Court decisions and congressional inaction have left most Americans with the accurate perception that our big money system, infected with racial bias, stacks the deck against them and in favor of wealthy donors and special interests.

“Supporting public election campaigns with a limited pool of public funds is the best way to raise the voices of Americans across race, gender, and economic lines and blunt the power of big money. Providing qualified candidates with grants to get their campaigns off the ground and matching the contributions they earn from small donors gives great leaders without big checkbooks a path to elected office. It enables all candidates to focus on voters and a diverse set of small donors rather than depending upon the wealthy, white donor class.

The Fair Elections Now Act amplifies the voices of average voters and shifts power to the many rather than the money. The legislation uses public funds efficiently to boost the power of truly small donors and rewards candidates and civic leaders who do the hard work of mobilizing more allies around their campaigns.

“Senator Durbin’s bill is an excellent complement to Rep. John Sarbanes’ Government By the People Act, the leading public financing legislation in the House.  Both proposals enjoy robust support from pro-democracy, environmental, workers’ rights, and economic and racial justice organizations, and Demos is proud to stand with this broad coalition to strongly endorse the legislation.

“Passing the Fair Elections Now Act would be a strong step towards finally building a democracy in which the strength of Americans’ voices no longer depend upon the size of our wallets.”

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Demos has long been a leader in providing fresh research and new policy ideas to address the economic challenges facing the working and middle class in this country, including groundbreaking research on credit card debt, big money in politics, college affordability, and the growing economic insecurity of a new generation, especially those without college degrees.

Read Demos’ recent report about the importance of public funding for electoral campaigns here.  Read the Washington Post Editorial Board’s support of public financing in the District here