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Lawmakers Propose New Campaign Finance Rules

By Philip Rucker
A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation today that would create a voluntary public campaign financing system that would provide federal money to candidates who adhere to strict limits on other sources of campaign cash.

Advocates, including "Law & Order" actor Sam Waterston, were in Washington last week rallying support for the measure, which they said would ban contributions from lobbyists to candidates that join the public financing system. But the bill introduced today does not include such a ban.

"We thought it was included in the bill and we just had our signals crossed with the sponsors' offices," said David Donnelly, national campaigns director for Public Campaign Action Fund, the advocacy group campaigning with Waterston.

The proposed overhaul of campaign finance law, called "Fair Elections Now," was introduced by Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and Rep. John. B. Larson (Conn.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

Under the proposal, participating candidates must limit their campaign spending to only funds raised from small donors and matching public funds.

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 31, 2009; 8:45 PM ET
 
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Comments

Lobbying was first created by the founding fathers to enable citizens to approach their representative or Senator on matters these citizens wanted enacted into law. Lobbying was not created to become a money making machine. As a citizen, one did not have to pay to speak to a representative or Senator. Giving money to representatives and Senators has created a government of corruption. If a representative or Senator is given money for his/her PAK, the representative and Senator then pushes for legislation to help that party, whether it be a corporation, insurance co., bank, credit card cos, etc. This makes citizens, who do not have money to contribute, powerless to have legislation enacted to benefit the citizen. I believe representatives and Senators should receive federal money in order to run for office. They should not be allowed to take money from lobbyists. A lobbyist, as originally planned, can approach a representative or Senator to request legislation but no money should pass hands from the lobbyist to people representing the citizens of the US. Our government has come to be a "Pay to Play" due to the influence of money from lobbying groups. This must cease. The money to run for office must come from the federal govt to eliminate corruption of our government officials, including free travel, hotel stays, repair of homes, and other freebies offered to these govt officials as money from lobbyists passes to the PAK's of govt officials.

Posted by: irichman | April 1, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

There is only one campaign finance bill that should be considered.

All contributions must be listed, period.
No contribution except by individuals.
No bundling.
No favors from outside parties period.
Get rid of all campaign finance funds in Congress.
All members of Congress should have to empty their campaign fund accounts within 90 days after every election.
Everyone takes public finance money and follows the same rules. The rules will be the same whether they take the money or not.
No campaign finance account can be opened before January 1, of the year of the election.
No one can announce to run for office officially, or raise any money until January 1, of the year of the election.
Set one national primary/caucus date for ALL 50 states.

Let there be no exceptions to the rules. This bill would be less than one page in length and easy to understand because the language is absolute. This is the only way we will ever have a balanced playing field, and allow American voters to really choose.

Posted by: Tawodi | April 1, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

It is so dis-hearting to see how little our representives know about what they are signing into law. They must really think the citizens of the United States are fools and that they are not accountable to the people that have voted them into office. They are only accountable to the special interest lobbyist that pays to play.

Can we the people say, "Senategate".

I think it is time to find out exactly who got what from whom.

Posted by: glillis | April 2, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

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