Bills in U.S. Congress

American Anti-Corruption Act

Get Money out of Politics: Stop lobbyist bribery, End secret money & Empower voters. A summary of the act follows.

Stop politicians from taking bribes: Prohibit members of Congress from soliciting and receiving contributions from any industry or entity they regulate, including those industries’ lobbyists. Prohibit all fundraising during Congressional working hours.

Limit super PAC contributions and “coordination”: Require SuperPACs to abide by the same contribution limits as other political committees. Toughen rules regarding SuperPACs’ and other groups’ coordination with political campaigns and political parties.

Prevent job offers as bribes: Close the “revolving door” where elected representatives and their staff sell their legislative power in exchange for high-paying jobs when they leave office. Create a “cooling off” period on private employment that will last 5 years for all Congress members and all senior staff (currently 2 years in the Senate, 1 year in the House, and 1 year for senior staff.)

Call all people who lobby, lobbyists: Significantly expand the definition of and register all lobbyists to prevent influencers from skirting the rules.

Limit lobbyist donations: Limit the amount that lobbyists and their clients can contribute to federal candidates, political parties, and political committees to $500 per year and limit lobbyist fundraising for political campaigns. Federal contractors are already banned from contributing to campaigns: extend that ban to lobbyists, high-level executives, government relations employees, and PACs of federal government contractors.

End secret money: Mandate full transparency of all political money. Require any organization that spends $10,000 or more on advertisements to elect or defeat federal candidates to file a disclosure report online with the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours. List each of the donors who gave $10,000 or more to the organization to run such ads. This includes all PACs, 501c nonprofits, or other groups that engage in electioneering.

Empower all voters with a tax rebate: Build up the influence voters by creating a biennial $100 Tax Rebate that they can use to make qualified contributions to federal candidates, political parties, and political committees. Flooding elections with small-donor contributions that will offset the huge spenders. Candidates and political groups will only be eligible for these funds if they agree to a set of contribution limits: they will only accept money from small donors (giving $500 or less a year), other groups abiding by the limits, and the Tax Rebates themselves.

Disclose “bundling”: Require federal candidates to disclose the names of individuals who “bundle” contributions for the member of Congress or candidate, regardless of whether such individuals are registered lobbyists.

Enforce the rules: Strengthen the Federal Election Commission’s independence and strengthen the House and Senate ethics enforcement processes. Provide federal prosecutors the additional tools necessary to combat corruption, and prohibit lobbyists who fail to properly register and disclose their activities from engaging in federal lobbying activities for a period of two years.

FENA (Fair Elections Now act) reintroduced

in 2013 in the U.S. House. Sponsors include Washington’s members of Congress, Jim McDermott (CD 7) and Adam Smith (CD 9). The Act sets up qualifying criteria for candidates to participate in public financing of a campaign for Congress. Through a fund set up by the act, small contributions are matched up to 500%. Requires candidates to participate in at least 1 debate for the primary and 2 debates for the general.

Disclose Act – 2012

DISCLOSE (Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections) Act of 2012. The act amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 by redefining what an “independent expenditure” is and is not and requires additional disclosure  in communications and contributions.

Passage of the DISCLOSE Act would help limit the influence of super pacs by requiring disclosure of funders and their relationship to the candidates they are trying to elect or defeat. Thank Patty Murray for her sponsorship of the DISCLOSE Act along with 44 other Senators in the 112th Congress.