Bernie Sanders Lobs A Crippling Blow At The Kochs With Bill To Publicly Fund Elections


During a campaign event in New Hampshire today, Sen. Bernie Sanders announced that he will be filing a bill that would effectively cripple the Kochs and right-wing billionaires by providing public funding for elections.

According to the Sanders campaign:

Decrying the influence of big money in American politics, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday said he will introduce legislation to provide public funding of elections. “We’re going to introduce legislation which will allow people to run for office without having to beg money from the wealthy and the powerful,” Sanders said.

He called the current campaign finance system a “sad state of affairs.” Public funding, he added, would level the political playing field and make elections more competitive. It also would let candidates spend more time meeting voters and discussing issues and less time raising campaign funds. “That’s called democracy and I am going to do everything I can to bring that about,” Sanders said.


Public funding of campaigns would counteract the disastrous Supreme Court ruling in a case known as Citizens United. That 2010 case and others which followed in its wake have gutted decades-old limits on campaign funding and paved the way for millionaires and billionaires to spend unlimited sums to influence election outcomes. “We must overturn that decision before it’s too late,” Sanders told the crowd here. “We are increasingly living in an oligarchy where big money is buying politicians,” Sanders added.

A law that would provide for public funding of elections would even the playing field and neutralize the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. Because the potential legislation would not mandate public funding or limit donations, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court would be powerless to stop the law.

What Sanders is proposing would cripple the influence of the billionaires because candidates would not have to suck up to the wealthy to fund their campaigns.

The epidemic of billionaire dollars has reached an absurd extreme as Politico recently reported, “The 67 biggest donors, each of whom gave $1 million or more, donated more than three times as much as the 508,000 smallest donors combined, according to a POLITICO analysis of reports filed with the Federal Election Commission and the Internal Revenue Service.”

The reason the American people have a Congress that ignores their priorities is because the men and women who are supposed to serve The People feel more beholden to their wealthy donors than their constituents. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is out to change all of that.

The Sanders bill won’t get sixty votes in the Senate, but the point of the legislation is to raise awareness of the issue while giving Americans a bill to rally around. Bernie Sanders is building an army to take down the Kochs, and his bill is a shot across the bow at the oligarchs.

21 Replies to “Bernie Sanders Lobs A Crippling Blow At The Kochs With Bill To Publicly Fund Elections”

  1. Now I am not a constitutional scholar but if the SCOTUS ruled that there are no limits in political speech wouldn’t any laws limiting such speech be ruled unconstituional?

  2. I wholeheartedly support publicly funded elections. But, I’m confused by something you said, “Because the potential legislation would not mandate public funding or limit donations, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court would be powerless to stop the law.” Yet the very name “publicly funded elections” depends on public funds. How can you say the law would not mandate public funding?

  3. Interesting to see Politico quoted in this article. Politico has reduced itself to digital bird cage liner by coming out as a blatant propaganda rag. Politico agreed to send reporters to a Koch meeting as long as they would not identify donors. Politico is acting as an agent of the Koch machine. Don’t advertise with them, don’t buy anything from their advertisers, and know that any information coming out of Politico is propaganda, not fact. There is no journalism at Politico, just political bought and paid for propaganda. They may as well close down.

  4. Yes, and that’s why Move to Amend, WolfPAC, and my group The 28ers are working to get a 28th Amendment to the Constitution ratified by a Constitutional Convention that will ban private money in politics, require public funding of our election, declare corporations are not people, and declare money is property, not speech. We already have 8 states whose legislatures have called for the Constitutional Convention. That effort is being spearheaded by WolfPAC.

  5. That’s a great start. Now should the strategy be get the 2/3 states first or concentrate on electing an congress to get the ball rolling. Whichever way it will be a hard slog seeing that a no brainer like the ERA failed.

  6. At the very least this will put the senators on record as to whether they’re for or against campaign finance reform. A vote for would make most Americans happy while a vote against would make their large donors happy.
    Choose, I dare you.

  7. There needs to be legislation which addresses the difference between free speech and PAID free speech. Everyone should have the right to speak freely but when people with “shiploads” of cash can diminish or suppress the right of others to speak freely by buying
    “free speech,” that changes the ballgame. I think the title of this story is inaccurate and hype for no reason. Bernie’s attempt to write legislation is not a crippling blow to the Koch brothers. It is merely an attempt to right the wrong done in Citizens United.

  8. Funny you should mention that.

    How would you suggest it be regulated?

    After seeing all of the Republican Brown-nosers who come in here carrying a torch for the Clown Car du jour?

  9. Thank you, John. One would think this just common sense. How did our political system get so screwed up?

  10. …the only thing that’ll cripple the Kochs is a baseball bat to knees and pelvis…
    …just sayin’!!!

  11. Stan Greenberg’s piece in last month’s Washington Monthly.

    Three-quarters of voters in the twelve most competitive Senate battleground states in 2014—states flooded with campaign money—support a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling. Three in five of those voters support “a plan to overhaul campaign spending by getting rid of big donations and allowing only small donations to candidates, matched by taxpayer funds.” The American citizenry has become progressively more supportive of barring big donors and corporate mega-contributions and using public funds to empower small donations. Even in the face of charges that public funding is “welfare for politicians,” voters in the midterms said that they would rally to a candidate who argues that “we need a government of, by and for the people—not government bought and paid for by wealthy donors.”

  12. I wrote my first book on US politics in 1990 and lectured around the country at universities on the need to use taxes to pay for election and ban contributions. Bernie is right on target. We should stop the rich from stealing our elections, and getting themselves loopholes so they can escape the taxes that they should be paying.We need a Labor Party with honest, clean candidates to replace the crooks we now have on both sides of the aisle. Bernie will need Senators and Congress people to vote for his laws. We need to recruit Labor Party candidates now that we can trust to vote with Bernie. we cannot depend on the Republicans or Democrats.Visit my web site and learn how to build a national Labor Party that can give you Free College, give all Americans free healthcare, and a Minimum Wage that destroys poverty and allows all workers to have a liveable wage. Howard M Greenebaum

  13. Bernie Sanders is America’s best chance to neuter the political influence of the notorious Koch brothers and to dismantle the disastrous Citizen’s United decision. “If elected president, I will have a litmus test in terms of my nominee to be a Supreme Court justice and that nominee will say that they are going to overturn this disastrous Supreme Court decision,” said Sanders.

  14. @djchefronReply

    Yes, such legislation would probably be challenged in the courts by deep-pocketed oligarchs, wouldn’t it?

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