Just when it looked like no one could get anything done over the partisan divide, surprise bipartisan co-sponsors emerged in both the House and Senate for legislation based on an Educational Paper written by Take Back Our Republic.
With so many large special interest groups fighting for legislation, few in Capitol Hill noticed when a few former Republican campaign workers kicked off Take Back Our Republic in 2015, and released a group of Educational Papers to educate the public and advocate that elected officials and other leaders take a look at their conservative solutions for campaign finance reform.
After setting up more than 30 state chapters in five months, the four representatives of the group spent three days on Capitol Hill visiting all 535 legislative offices with educational material, and left packets of district specific material with 534 offices – as only the Office of Senator Patrick Leahy politely refused due to a policy of not accepting materials from visitors.
Cong. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and his staff sat down with www.takeback.org Executive Director John Pudner during that first visit to Capitol Hill, and they liked the ideas so much that they had legislation drafted to address one of the issues – the hundreds of millions of dollars in unverified political contributions pointed out by the Government Accountability Institute, run by Peter Schweizer.
Gosar submitted HR4177, with his first co-sponsor being Dave Brat (R-VA), the last Congressional client of Pudner’s political career, signing on as the first co-sponsor. Gosar including Pudner in his kickoff press conference, and then found support in the conservative Freedom Caucus, and the Western Caucus he now Chairs, and then among more than 50 Republicans and 30 Democrats including every member of the Administration Committee.
Time ran out on on HR4177, but after the November elections Gosar reintroduced the bill as HR1341. A special election in Georgia highlighted the problem, as $14.8 million came in through the process the bill would ban – numerous low dollar contributions coming in using names that the bank is not allowed to verify are actual Americans giving money.
After Schweizer’s group released a new report this week on the expanding problem, three Democratic Senators (Klobucher of Minnesota, Warner of Virginia and Feinstein of California) joined their Democratic and Republican colleagues in the House as well as Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) in introducing the Senate version S.1660.
The bipartisan, bicameral measure based on an educational paper by a non-partisan group in Take Back Our Republic, was particularly noteworthy in light of the fact that it occurred within hours of the battle over the votes over health care collapsing.
By producing a White Paper that captures the concerns of everyone from left-of-center campaign finance reform advocates to supporters of the President’s call to “drain the swamp,” the Take Back Our Republic Educational Paper could transform as one of the first pieces of legislation to unify enough groups to result in successful legislation for consideration by the President.