Clean Campaign Finance
Elections ought to voice the will of the people. Each person’s vote should count equally and voices shouldn’t be drowned out by big corporations and special interests. But in the 2018 election cycle, a minute proportion, .47%, of Americans gave more than $200 in campaign contributions. Their influence was massive, accounting for 71% of all contributions. In that cycle, super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited funds, raised over $1.5 billion. With industries and elites working to elect candidates who will protect their interests, our campaign finance system doesn’t just cede power to corporations, it subverts our democracy, allowing candidates who raise the most money from corporate interests to win, often at the cost of more qualified and promising leaders.
Why We Need It
In the 2018 election, the insurance industry used political action committees (PACs) to funnel over $28.5 million worth of support to candidates across the nation, like my opponent, a corporately-funded incumbent, whose large and corporate/PAC donations make up 98.8% of his total campaign donations. It’s no wonder that insurance reform faces major opposition in Congress despite broad public support. Across every issue, special interests, enabled by campaign finance policy, shape elections.
From defense technology, with Lockheed Martin, Northrup Gruman, and Boeing PACs contributing a combined $7 million, to oil and gas, where corporate PACs contributed $7.2 million, large corporations’ massive influence impacts decision-making in Washington. A 2019 Georgetown study on donors and climate change found that political donations had significant influence on senators’ votes on climate issues. Our government is nothing more than a legalized system of bribery. The recent Covid-19 stimulus packages featured massive corporate bailouts, benefiting some of the same companies that helped fund and elect policymakers, perpetuating a cycle of reciprocity that silences the average American.
In our district, banks, developers, large insurance corporations, pharmaceutical companies, student debt collectors, and the military industrial complex help to fund the incumbent’s campaign. But our message is unfiltered by the interests of industries and special interests because we don’t accept any PAC contributions. It’s time every candidate follows the same democratic principles we do.
What We Are Fighting For
We’re fighting for campaign finance reform that eliminates the undue influence of corporations and super PACs. We will work to:
- Increase transparency of political donations by requiring all political nonprofits to disclose all donors
- Implement the Democracy Dollars program, which will dilute the impact of corporate money in politics by providing every voter with $100 in publicly-funded campaign contribution vouchers per election cycle. In Seattle, a similar program has increased low-income voter participation in the campaign finance system, and even in its first year, increased Seattle resident contributions by 300%. Nationally, each American voter using a $100 campaign contribution voucher would wash out lobbyist spending by seven to one. In our district alone, Democracy Dollars would provide $3.5 million per election cycle if only half the residents used their voucher—drowning out the money supplied by special interest groups.
- Overturn Citizens United v. FEC, which allows unlimited political spending by corporations and empowers super PACs.
What It Will Do
Campaign finance reform will amplify the voice of the people. When large corporations and super PACs can no longer interfere in our electoral process, elections will be decided by ballots, not banks. When campaigns, from state offices to the presidency, are driven by regular Americans, not the .47% who can afford to donate large amounts every year, we’ll achieve more responsive, more representative government. And with a truly democratic system, we’ll realize policies that make the world a better place for all.