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Issue Position: Corporate Influence on Elections

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The old expression "money talks" certainly rings true when it comes to determining the results of an election. According to an article posted on www.opensecrets.org after the 2008 elections, 93 percent of the House of Representative races were won by candidates who spent the most money. The average amount spent on a House race in 2008 was nearly $1.1 million and in 2010 special interest groups contributed more than $7 for every $1 received from small donors.

The Fair Elections Now Act (S. 750 and H.R. 1404) was re-introduced in 2011 in the Senate by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and in the House of Representatives by Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.), Walter Jones, Jr. (R-N.C.), and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine). The bill would allow federal candidates to run for office without relying on large contributions from corporations and lobbyists. More importantly, it would allow our elected representatives to focus on helping the people in their communities, not raising money for the next election.

Corporations and political action committees know the value of advertising. In the final weeks before an election, we are bombarded with radio and television ads, campaign mailers and signs posted along our streets, trying to influence our vote. Regardless who is more qualified to represent the people, the startling fact is that the great majority of elections results are determined by the amount of money spent by a candidate. If we are to return to a government of the people, by the people and for the people, we need to level the playing field for all candidates. We need a fair election system that will eliminate the constant chase for money and allow elected officials to listen to the voices of the people.


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