Conservative Campaign Finance Reform Group calls on
Elected Officials “to Come Together and Fix the System”
Contact John Pudner, Executive Director at 334-329-7258
November 8, 2016 (Auburn, AL) – In the wake of the most expensive presidential election in US history, Take Back Our Republic, the only conservative organization leading efforts in campaign finance reform, calls on Congress and the President to take immediate, bipartisan action to help restore voters’ confidence in the political process.
“There are a lot of things American voters agree on – and one of those things is the need to protect our political system from the influence of foreign money,” said Take Back Our Republic Executive Director John Pudner. “Nine out of ten voters are concerned about foreign money, and Congress can start fixing that as soon as the House and Senate return to work on November 14th. Take Back’s bill, HR 4177, is cosponsored by every member of the House Administration Committee – that’s every member, from both political parties. The bill has bipartisan legislative support, and there’s overwhelming public support. The ‘Stop Foreign Donations Affecting Our Elections Act’ should be passed by this Congress before Christmas.”
Pudner also called on President Obama to issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to disclose political contributions. “He’s had a draft on his desk since 2011. Now that the election is over, it’s time for the President to sign it and finally bring transparency to the government contracting process,” Pudner said. “Right now, companies can receive billions of tax dollars in government contracts while also spending unlimited amounts of secret money to influence the very people making the decisions on those government contracts. Without the Executive Order, there is absolutely no disclosure required for companies winning the deals from government insiders.” A 2015 analysis showed that only 27% of the largest federal contractors fully disclose their political spending – and even those disclosures usually take place long after an election.
Pudner noted that both presidential candidates faced questions about the influence of foreign money. The Trump campaign made headlines by soliciting political contributions from foreign government officials at their official email addresses and Secretary Clinton’s campaign was dogged by concerns about foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation. The Center for Responsive Politics has tracked more than $16 million in political contributions by foreign-related PACs so far this election cycle.
Voters in four states – California, Missouri, South Dakota and Washington – are considering ballot questions on campaign finance reform today.
- Washington’s Initiative #735 calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. So far, 17 states have called for such an amendment; most recently, a bipartisan majority of New York legislators issued letters to Congress calling for an amendment to overturn the ruling.
- California has already called for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Proposition 59 would instruct California’s elected officials to “use all of their constitutional authority” to overturn Citizens United and limit campaign contributions.
- Missouri (see St. Louis Post-Dispatch story)voters are considering whether to amend their state constitution to place strict limits on political contributions.
- South Dakota voters are considering Initiated Measure 22, the Anti-corruption Act, to stop the state’s unique system of unlimited and undisclosed gifts from lobbyists and out-of-state interests. A University of Indiana study indicated that corruption caused by the system costs each South Dakotan $1,300 per year. Pudner and TBOR Board member Richard Painter toured the state in September to support the measure.
- Washington state voters are also considering Initiative #1464, which would implement a variety of campaign finance reforms.
The Center for Responsive Politics estimates that $6.6 billion has been spent on the 2016 elections.
“This hasn’t just been the most expensive election ever, it’s also been incredibly divisive,” Pudner said. “Poll after poll shows broad bipartisan support for fixing our campaign finance system. There are things that can be done immediately that will help restore people’s faith in our democracy. We’re calling on Congress and the President to act now, to help heal wounds and work together to fix the system.”