Public financing of elections, as a state and local democracy reform, can help enhance the political voice and power of working-class people and people of color. It is an effective antidote to the outsized influence corporations and major donors currently have on both politics and policy.
In 2012, just 61 large donors to Super PACs giving an average of $4.7 million each matched the $285.2 million in grassroots contributions from more than 1,425,500 small donors to the major party presidential candidates.
After getting the First Amendment supremely wrong in Citizens United, the Supreme Court now faces its next money in politics case. In McCutcheon v. FEC, the challengers are attacking a law that says that no one person can contribute over $123,000 directly to federal candidates, parties, and committees—that’s over twice the average American’s income.
Thank you for this opportunity to submit testimony regarding the damage that Citizens United and the rise of Super PACs has done to our system of democratic government. In the text below I will discuss why rules that govern the role of money in politics are important to our democracy; the impact of Citizens United and related decisions on our electoral system; and what Congress can and must do to promote the core American value of political equality.