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house Bill H.R. 20

Countering Big Money in Politics

Argument in favor

Makes the voices of everyday citizens as important as those of major donors in deciding the outcome of political elections.

Argument opposed

Closing of corporate tax loopholes in order to pay for the legislation could have a butterfly effect.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Administration
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Communications and Technology
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedFebruary 5th, 2014

What is House Bill H.R. 20?

Campaign finance reform bill with the aim of counteracting large political donations from corporations and special interest groups by increasing the power of small-amount contributions. Through closing corporate tax loopholes, every dollar donated by an individual donor turns into six dollars. This legislation works around a recent Supreme Court ruling that upheld the Court's 2010 decision to not place limits on independent campaign spending by corporations and unions. The New York Time states that "the Court's recent ruling also struck down a decades-old cap on the total amount that any individual can contribute to federal candidates in a two-year election cycle." The bill is described in greater detail below.

Impact

Has the potential to counteract the effect of big-money, Super PACs, and dark money in political elections and in turn help to decide who is elected.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 20

A CBO cost estimate is not available at this time.

More Information

Media: 

Center for Public Integrity: Top U.S. Corporations Funneled $173 Million to Political Nonprofits

“The more pervasive and corrosive practice (in politics) is the legalized bribery that goes on every day… The whole campaign-finance system feeds this beast. Special interests provide the money. Laws that affect the special interests get passed — or killed. Maybe some day, a scandal will trigger a move toward public financing, which — for obvious reasons — faces stiff resistance.” – USA Today Editorial Board, 1/23/14

“The real reason lawmakers resist public financing has less to do with taxes than self-preservation. As New York City’s experience shows, public financing of candidates would almost certainly invite more competition and require incumbents to fight harder to keep their jobs.” – The New York Times Editorial Board, 2/4/14

New York Times: Supreme Court Strikes Down Overall Political Donation Cap

Washington Post: How Citizens United Changed Politics, in 7 Charts

Washington Post: Pelosi and Sarbanes Op-ed

Wikipedia: Campaign Finance Reform in the United States

Wikipedia: Dark Money

Wikipedia: Super PACs

Of Note:

Under the legislation:

-When politicians receive donations of $150 or less, that money would be matched at a 6-to-1 ratio, with the matching funds paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes; 

-Individual contributors would be eligible for a $25 tax credit;

-Political candidates must agree to accept no more than $1,000 per donor and raise at least 50% of their donations from in-state contributors; 

-Contributions would be matched at a 9-to-1 ratio if a candidate agrees to fund his or her campaign exclusively with donations of $150 or less; 

-Candidates could also receive an additional $500,000 matching gift in the final 60-day home stretch of a campaign if they raise at least $50,000 from small-dollar donors during that period.

AKA

Government By the People Act of 2014

Official Title

To reform the financing of Congressional elections by broadening participation by small dollar donors, and for other purposes.

    This is a democracy, not an oligarchy. The people's votes should weigh just as much as, if not more, big money donors.
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    I would really like to see this legislation addressed. This so called dark money or special interest money is repugnant! If the SCOTUS sees fit to allow this big money seize control. Then we should have the right to fight back against this gross act of injustice against the people. The veil should be lifted and the light of day show this for what it really is. THE BEST GOVERNMENT MONEY CAN BUY! There is a club, and the people of this country aren't in it.
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    The voice of we the people needs to be heard
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    We the people, not we the corporations.
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    Dark money needs to be exposed on both sides. Buying influence is not democracy
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    It is a start. Not sure it will 'soothe the savage beast', however. If it turns out to be effective we can always come back for further reforms. If it proves to be a 'leaky boat' we will have to plug the leaks. Short: we will have to watch it carefully.
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    We must have real campaign finance reform.
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    Close the LLC loophole in NY while you're at it.
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    This is worth passing, if only because it moves us in the right direction. However, the influence of money on our representatives will only be removed by limiting the funding of campaigns to public funds (Such that not even the candidate's own funds can be used toward their campaign). Further, by equalizing funding across candidates for a particular office (perhaps those that acquire a predetermined number of voter endorsements), we will move toward equality and the ultimate goal of democracy.
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    This is common sense. Get corporate money out of politics!
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    The 99% need to be heard!!
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    We need to make sure elections are fair and not set up to favor a candidate thanks to "shadow money" or election scandals. The constitution says the people get to choose their representatives, so this right needs to be protected. This will also help reduce possibly political corruption.
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    We need campaign finance reform now. Too much power with a bunch of rich bossy jerks.
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    Equal opportunity for candidates needed! Money limited and enforced!
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    I appreciate that this bill addresses corporate tax loopholes in addition to campaign finance. I believe passing this bill would be a step in the right direction, but I don't think it goes far enough to eliminate the corrupting influence of big money in politics. Let's get this passed, then look at what else can be done to ensure that our elections represent the will of "we" the people, NOT "we" the corporations and the 1%.
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    This is at the heart of our election problems.
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