House Panel to Take up Historic Fair Elections Bill

On Thursday, September 23rd, the House Committee on Administration will vote on the Fair Elections Now Act, historic legislation that would make our elected officials accountable to everyday Americans.

And with voter anger at Washington, D.C. raging, it's never been more necessary. New polling from the New York Times and CBS News seems to make this case. While the American people generally have a dim view on Congress, they historically support their own representative. This week's poll, though, says just 34 percent of Americans believe their own member of Congress should be re-elected.

It's really not surprising. Whether it's questionable fundraising activities around votes, wannabe-Speaker of the House John Boehner selling access for $100,000, or a Supreme Court giving corporations and unions free rein to buy our elections--the American people see an election system that doesn't work for them.

This isn't a partisan issue either. We've released
showing that attendees at last month's Glenn Beck rallies and self-identified progressives all agree that corporations have a stranglehold on our democracy. As one conservative woman told our interviewers (in the video to the right), "big money definitely affects the Republican Party and we're just as sick about that as we are about the effects it has on the Democratic Party."

The Fair Elections Now Act would allow candidates to run competitive campaigns for office by relying on small contributions from back home. The measure would reduce lobbyists' clout and not cost taxpayers a dime. With Fair Elections, candidates can focus their time on their district's needs, instead of focused on where to find their next campaign check.

Committee Chairman Robert Brady's (D-Pa.) decision to push forward with the Fair Elections Now Act is a clear sign that Congress is ready to end this broken system and put elections back in the hands of voters. Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) must be commended for their leadership in pushing the bill to this point. The legislation will easily pass out of committee--and we believe there are the votes to pass it through the House as well.

The time is now. The anti-incumbent tide that surged through the primary season is now headed for the general elections. Officeholders who want to keep their heads above water would be wise to support reform that changes business as usual in Washington, D.C.