Sen. Bernie Sanders will be unveiling new legislation on the Senate floor today that will put an end to the Citizens United system of legalized bribery by making public funding available to political candidates.
In a statement, Sen. Sanders (I-VT) said, “We are talking about a rapid movement in this country toward oligarchy, toward a government-owned and controlled by a handful of extremely wealthy families…I will be introducing legislation which calls for public funding of elections, which will enable any candidate, regardless of his or her political views, to run for office without being beholden to powerful special interests.”
Sen. Sanders pointed to an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation that found that two-thirds of the money raised by all the presidential candidates is going to super PACs, not campaigns. He also directly called out the Koch brothers for their plan to spend more than the Democratic and Republican parties on the 2016 presidential election.
Former President Carter recently called the current campaign finance system legalized bribery because that is what it is. The Republican Party is no longer interested in representing the interests of a majority of the American people because the party sold itself to wealthy billionaires and special interests. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has gone so far as to call for billionaires to be allowed to make unlimited contributions to the political parties. In other words, Priebus wants to be able to legally take bribes from the Koch brothers.
The point of the Sanders legislation is to continue to build a public grassroots movement against the oligarchic takeover of the federal government. A public fund for candidates would remove some of the financial barriers and allow more people to run for office. The money would be available to any candidate who wants to run.
The bill is bigger than supporting Democrats or Republicans. The purpose is to promote the sort of democracy that the Koch brothers are intent on suffocating. The Sanders legislation is common sense, and even if it doesn’t pass this time, the bill will raise awareness about one of the most important issues that is currently impacting our country.