Skip to content

September 28, 2017

King Announces Support for Campaign Finance Reform Legislation

Bills aim to fix broken campaign finance system, restore accountability to elections, & empower voters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME), a member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, announced his support for a series of campaign finance bills called the We the People Democracy Reform Act of 2017. This bicameral legislation proposes a series of wide-ranging electoral reforms to restore integrity, accountability, and transparency to our broken political system. The legislation includes proposals to comprehensively reform campaign finance laws, increase transparency and accountability in the political system, end gerrymandering, increase voter participation, and strengthen lobbying and revolving door laws. Senator King has been a long-time advocate for election transparency as a means of increasing voter faith and engagement in our electoral process.

“In Maine, we still have town meetings. These meetings are the finest examples of democracy at work: anybody with an opinion can walk into the meeting and work to sway the voters to their side,” said Senator King. “What you can’t do, however, is walk into the meeting with a bag over your head, or pay to anonymously plaster the room with negative ads. You have to let people know who you are and stand by your word. Unfortunately, those same rules don’t apply to our current campaign finance system. Anonymous people and groups can spend huge amounts without ever revealing their true identity – it’s not healthy, it’s not right, and it needs to be stopped. That is why I’m proud to join with my colleagues to introduce this important legislation, and will continue pushing for serious campaign finance reform – like greater transparency – as I have throughout my time in the Senate.”

Specific reforms the bill aims to enact include:

  • Require all candidates for federal office to report major campaign contributions within 48 hours.  This provision is similar to the Real Time Transparency Act, introduced by Senator King last year that would require all candidates for federal office, including those for the U.S. Senate, to report contributions of over $1000 to the FEC within 48 hours. Today, not all candidates for federal office report campaign contributions in real-time.
  • Require disclosure of donations more than $10,000 to organizations spending at least $10,000 in an election. This mirrors the DISCLOSE Act, a bill cosponsored by Senator King. Includes new provisions to prohibit domestic corporations with significant foreign control, ownership, or direction from spending money in elections. It also cracks down on shell companies, which can be used to launder foreign money into elections, by requiring companies spending money in elections to disclose the true owner of the company, so election officials and the public know who is behind the company.
  • Replace the Federal Election Commission. This provision would replace the FEC with a newly formed Federal Election Administration. This new body would have 5 members rather than 6 in an effort to break through the FEC’s existing partisan gridlock, and be given enhanced enforcement powers. This language aligns closely with the Federal Election Administration Act, which Senator King cosponsored in the 114th Congress.
  • Expand the existing “Stand By Your Ad” requirements. To increase transparency, this legislation would require the leader of a Super PAC, corporation or special interest group to appear in an ad to take responsibility for its content and disclose their top five donors on screen.

A summary of all of the provisions are available here. We the People builds upon a number of bills introduced, cosponsored and supported by Senator King to improve our voting and political system. This package would make significant strides toward repairing our broken political system and would serve as a model for states and localities to implement reform at the local level. 

The bill was introduced by U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) in the Senate and U.S. Representative David Price (D-N.C.) in the House of Representatives yesterday and has received endorsements from The Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause, Democracy 21, the League of Women Voters, People for the American Way, the Center for American Progress, and Public Citizen as well as policy leaders such as Norman Eisen, board chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and chief White House ethics lawyer for President Obama (2009-2011) and Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer for President Bush (2005-2007).  

Next Article » « Previous Article