The For the People Act would reform our campaign finance and electoral systems to restrict the excessive power of billionaires and corporations and give ordinary people – especially those suffering from voter suppression – their voices back.
The American political system is broken. Our government is no longer by, of, and for the people – rather, millionaires, billionaires, and corporations use their money to buy our political system and choose the outcomes themselves. Look no further than the 2017 GOP Tax Scam that sent $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to the nation’s corporations and donor class in exchange for millions in campaign donations.
At the same time, Republican lawmakers use unfair gerrymandering and racist voter suppression laws to keep themselves getting elected. They’ve rigged the game so that no matter how unpopular their policies are, they remain in power.
The For the People Act is the boldest attempt ever to rebalance the scales and unrig the system. It’s a sweeping reform bill that, if passed, will overhaul campaign finance, election law, and ethics rules. By limiting the corrupting influence of money in politics and making voting easier, not harder, the For the People Act will take the reins of power out of the hands of the wealthy and give them back to the people.
The For the People Act – at a glance
Bill number(s): H.R. 1 / S. 949
Sponsors: Rep. John Sarbanes, Sen. Tom Udall
Status: Passed in the House, introduced in the Senate
What it does:
Gets big money out of politics by reforming our campaign finance system:
- Creates a system for public financing of Federal elections. Our current system makes candidates dependent on wealthy donors and corporations for large contributions. H.R. 1 sets up a system that incentivizes candidates to collect small-dollar donations from ordinary people in exchange for substantial public funding. This allows them to run competitive campaigns without being dependent on big donors and PACs. You can learn more about how public financing works here
- Dark money organizations must disclose their donors. Right now, billionaires and corporations can anonymously funnel millions of dollars into shady 501(c)4 nonprofits that spend money on elections. H.R. 1 requires any 501(c)4, PAC, or SuperPAC spending on elections to disclose the names of donors who contribute more than $10,000. By pulling back the veil of secrecy, Americans will know who’s trying to buy their vote
- Keeps foreign money out of our elections: The bill bans contributions and expenditures from corporations with significant foreign ownership or control, preventing foreign actors from using shell corporations to secretly influence our elections.
- Restricts the power of SuperPACs. The bill increases enforcement against SuperPACs that break the law and cracks down on single-candidate PACs that operate as arms of a campaign.
- Calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision.
Stops attacks on voting rights and ensures all Americans can vote:
- Outlaws Partisan Gerrymandering: H.R. 1 ends unfair gerrymandering by requiring states to adopt independent redistricting commissions that draw congressional districts in a fair, nonpartisan manner.
- Makes it easier for all Americans to vote. The bill fights back against voter suppression by helping millions more Americans access the ballot. H.R. 1 implements early voting, vote-by-mail, same-day registration, and makes Election Day a national holiday, among other reforms.
- End voter suppression: To combat the current wave of Republican voter suppression, H.R. 1 restores the Voting Rights Act, which requires states with restrictive voting policies to conform to federal standards. It also prevents states from wrongfully purging voters from the rolls.
- Prevents election hacking: H.R. 1 invests millions in election security, ensuring our election infrastructure is immune from foreign or domestic interference.
“The For The People Act is a monumental step forward for our country that will hopefully lead to the people retaking control of our government from special interests, lobbyists, and billionaire donors.”
Patriotic Millionaire Morris Pearl