From the Virginia chapter of American Promise:
Virginia Citizens Ask All Political Candidates to Pledge Support for Campaign Finance Reform
RICHMOND, VA — The VA chapter of American Promise, as part of a nationwide initiative, is asking all Virginia elected officials and candidates running for office, whether for Congress or state government, whether Republican or Democrat, to pledge support for campaign finance reform. Equal representation for all, irrespective of wealth, is our right as Virginians. Therefore, we call on all candidates to pledge to make a pledge commitment to support:
- The “For Our Freedom” constitutional amendment that allows Congress and the states to regulate election spending; and
- Comprehensive campaign finance reform in Virginia.
Since the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United ruling deemed campaign donations constitutionally protected “speech,” a flood of unregulated money has been unleashed onto our elections. This has increased the influence of rich individuals, special interests, and corporations on our system of government. The recent SCOTUS ruling Federal Election Commission v. Ted Cruz further opened the door to unregulated money moving directly into the pockets of politicians. The new ruling reverses an anti-bribery clause (Section 304) of the Bipartisan Campaign-Finance Reform Act (commonly known as the McCain-Feingold Act). It allows self-financed candidates to reimburse any loans they make to themselves with funding obtained after the elections from interested donors.
It is only through a US constitutional amendment and the introduction of common sense campaign finance laws in Virginia that we can take control of rules on election spending. Why should we care about the influence of money in politics?
- Affordable health policies– Between 1998 and 2002, healthcare political spending on lobbying and legislators totaled nearly $6 billion. The influence of big pharma is the reason that pharmaceuticals cost American 250 percent more than 130 other countries with Americans spending double to triple to what Canadians and some Europeans pay for pharmaceuticals.
- Climate change legislation– Since 1990 the energy/natural resource sector has poured nearly $1.4 billion into legislators’ pockets across the nation. In Virginia, Dominion Energy has been the largest corporate donor since 1996, moving $33.3 million into legislators’ campaigns. Small businesses in Virginia acknowledge the need for campaign finance reform in the context of climate change, recognizing that dark money in politics impedes innovation in technology and the creative investments needed to adapt to climate change.
Join the over 30 Virginia candidates/elected officials, and the hundreds of legislators who have signed the MoneyOut Pledge nationally. As Democratic Congressman Don Beyer states “Elections and the policy decisions that follow them should be about the best ideas, not about the most money. Big money in politics makes a mockery of the democratic ideal of one person, one vote”. Republican Delegate Tim Anderson opined that “Most of the dysfunction of government comes from the undue influence of large campaign contributions. Virginia has no limits on contributions and office holders are oftentimes installed by millionaires”.
According to a 2021 Wason Center poll, nearly 80% of Virginians want to curtail the influence of large campaign donors while 88% want improved disclosure. Yet, in the 2022 Virginia General Assembly, only 3 out of the 24 campaign finance bills introduced made it into law.
Let’s ask our Virginia legislators to commit to respecting the voices of its citizens by signing the pledge now. To sign the pledge, click here.