Giving me some hope that the above doesn’t have to be the norm forever, a number of years ago a group was formed to help address some of the reforms so desperately needed in government. It is called the Reformers Caucus. It is made up of 200 plus former members of Congress and Governors from both parties who know from experience the necessities for change and that, without outside pressure, the changes will not be made. I joined a number of years ago. Titled Issue One, their first priority was to deal with the excessive impact of outside non transparent money influencing our politics.
“We the People of the United States,” our Constitution begins with these sacred words. The Preamble statement should remind us that the power and legitimacy of our democracy resides directly with us, its citizens. It is in that spirit that the Reformers Caucus is focused.
The priority for now is promoting transparency and disclosure. Given the Supreme Court and Citizens United using free speech as the anchor of their decision of no limits, we think the only logical change available to us at this time is making sure everything is disclosed and in a timely manner. That will allow citizens to factor in where the money is coming from in determining who they support. This would include super PACs and 501(c)(4) nonprofits.
Secondly, we want to encourage increased participation in the political process by providing incentives for small contributions. This would include allowing political parties to add together their small contributions and have no limit on how it is divided up. This would change the dynamic between large and small contributors and could help grow the political parties. Our package would also reduce Pay-to-Play by banning registered lobbyists from making contributions or becoming fundraisers for congressional campaigns. Then of course strengthening enforcement would be a necessity.
It is just a start, but the Reformers Caucus is making progress in getting Congressional support. What we need now is public pressure to really succeed. That is where you come in. Please learn more about how excess money is corrupting our democracy. You can make a difference.