March 28, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today announced that he has cosponsored the For the People Act, a sweeping package of legislative reforms that would strengthen anti-corruption laws and address the dominance of big money in politics; the bill is the Senate’s companion legislation to H.R. 1 in the U.S. House of Representatives, which passed the House earlier this month.
To further strengthen campaign finance reform laws, Senator King also announced his reintroduction of the Real Time Transparency Act to increase transparency in campaign contributions and help inform voters about who is funding the candidates on their ballot, requiring all political contributions of $1,000 or more be filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) within 48 hours.
“Our republic was built on the principle of equality before the law,” Senator King said. “But years of voter suppression, gerrymandering, and big money in politics have eroded the American people’s trust in our elections and institutions. No one voice should count more than another and by tackling these issues head on, we can help lift up the voices of people from Maine to Hawaii and help restore faith in American democracy.”
The For the People Act would:
Make It Easier, Not Harder, To Vote:
· Improve Access and Secure Voting Rights – Expands access to the ballot box by taking aim at institutional barriers to voting, such as cumbersome registration systems, limited voting hours and many other roadblocks. The bill creates automatic voter registration across the country, ensures that individuals who have completed felony sentences have their full voting rights restored, expands voting by mail, promotes early voting and online voter registration, and modernizes the U.S. voting system.
· Promote Integrity – Fights back against the assault on voting rights by reaffirming Congress’s commitment to restoring the Voting Rights Act; prohibiting voter roll purges like those seen in Ohio, Georgia and elsewhere; and ensuring that discriminatory voter ID laws do not prevent Americans citizens from exercising their rights. This bill would also end partisan gerrymandering to prevent politicians from picking their voters and making Americans believe their voices do not count.
· Bolster Election Security – Ensures that American elections are decided by American voters without interference by foreign actors or adversaries. The bill creates a national strategy to protect voting infrastructure, increases oversight over election vendors, and enhances federal support for state voting system security upgrades, including paper ballot voting systems.
End The Dominance of Big Money In Politics:
· Guarantee Disclosure – Shines a light on dark money in politics by requiring all political organizations to disclose their donors, which will break the nesting-doll system that allows big-money contributors and special interests to hide their spending in networks of so-called “social welfare” organizations; expands “Stand By Your Ad” provisions; and harmonizes internet disclosure rules with existing broadcast rules.
· Empower Citizens – Builds a 21st-century campaign finance system to increase the power of small donors, reaffirms Congress’s authority to regulate money in politics, and pushes back against Citizens United. This bill levels the political playing field for everyday Americans, creating a matching system for small donations and allowing the American people to exercise influence in a post-Citizens United world, while reaffirming that Congress should have the authority to regulate money in politics. The new system of citizen-owned elections will break special interests’ stranglehold on Congress and the White House and lay the groundwork for an agenda that serves the American people.
· Strengthen Oversight – Repairs and restructures the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to break gridlock and enhance enforcement mechanisms, tightens rules on super PACs, and repeals policy riders that block sensible disclosure measures.
Ensure Public Officials Work For The Public Interest:
· Fortify Ethics Laws and Slow the Revolving Door – Breaks the influence of special interests in Washington and increases accountability by expanding conflict of interest law and divestment requirements, slows the revolving door, prohibits members of Congress from serving on for-profit corporate boards, limits first class travel for government officials, ends taxpayer-financed settlements for officeholders, and requires presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns.
· Impose Greater Ethics Enforcement – Gives teeth to federal ethics oversight by overhauling the Office of Government Ethics, requires the Supreme Court to create a new ethics code, and closes registration loopholes for lobbyists and foreign agents.
The full text of the legislation is available HERE. A one-page summary of the bill is available HERE. A longer summary of the bill is available HERE. A section-by-section summary of the legislation is available HERE. A list of organizations supporting the legislation is available HERE.
The Real Time Transparency Act would:
Amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to:
· Require all candidates for federal office to report contributions to the FEC within 48 hours.
· Apply reporting requirements for transfers from Joint Fundraising Committees to candidates as well as for contributions from individuals directly to candidates.
· Modify the $1,000 threshold to make it cumulative within one calendar year, mandating that any individual must report donations whenever total donations equal a multiple of $1,000.
· Require a “loop back” to a year before the date of enactment, meaning if an individual made a contribution of $1,000 or more, the candidate must report within 48 hours.
Under current law, a contribution of $1,000 or more to a U.S. Senate campaign must be filed with the Secretary of Senate on a quarterly basis, and all political action committee or campaign contributions of $1,000 or more must be filed with the FEC on a quarterly basis. Currently, only contributions made within 20 days preceding the election must be disclosed within 48 hours.