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.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association