U.S. Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined Maryland PIRG at a rally to overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and put an end to big money in politics. As we near the three-year anniversary of the decision that opened the floodgates for unlimited outside spending in America's elections, concerned citizens, federal, state and local lawmakers, and members of the reform community gathered to raise awareness about the dire state of affairs in our country's campaign finance laws.
During the last election, political groups, including Super PACs, tax exempt "social welfare organizations," and traditional PACs, spent over $1 billion to influence the outcome of the cycle. Never before have special interests had so much power.
"The voices of individual Americans are being drowned out by moneyed special interests with millions of dollars to spend and no limits in sight," said Congressman Sarbanes, author of the Grassroots Democracy Act. "I'm dedicated to pursing reforms that amplify the voice of the grassroots, giving our citizens and the candidates they support the tools they need to push back against the influence of special interests. Without action, Congress' dependency on big money will continue to corrode the institution's ability to process the will of the people."
In an effort to fight back, Congressman Sarbanes reintroduced the Grassroots Democracy Act (H.R. 268), a three pronged reform proposal that empowers everyday Americans with a refundable tax credit to participate in campaign giving; amplifies the impact of grassroots donations with a multiple match framework to fund campaigns of grassroots candidates; and fights back against unlimited outside spending with a People's Fund, which provides additional financial support in races where the voices of grassroots candidates are being drowned out.