Fair Elections Now Act gets a Senate hearing


A bill billed as an antidote to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling is going to get air time in a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would provide campaign funding to any candidate for federal office that relies only on small donations to fill campaign coffers.

The hearing will be under the gavel of Dick Durbin (D-IL), chair of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. It’s on the schedule for Tuesday 4/12/11 at 10AM eastern.

Durbin is sponsor of the Senate version. House sponsors include John Larson (D-CT), Walter Jones, Jr. (R-NC), and Chellie Pingree (D-ME).

Fair Elections Now has its own website, and provides the following outline of the proposed legislation:
“The bill would allow federal candidates to choose to run for office without relying on large contributions, big money bundlers, or donations from lobbyists, and would be freed from the constant fundraising in order to focus on what people in their communities want.

Participating candidates seek support from their communities, not Washington, D.C. Candidates would raise a large number of small contributions from their communities in order to qualify for Fair Elections funding. Contributions are limited to $100.

“To qualify, a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives would have to collect 1,500 contributions from people in their state and raise a total of $50,000.

“Since states vary widely in population, a U.S. Senate candidate would have to raise a set amount of small contributions amounting to a total of 10% of the primary Fair Elections funding. The number of qualifying contributions is equal to 2,000 plus 500 times the number of congressional districts in their state.”

RBR-TVBR observation: It is our strong suspicion that even if this bill were to make it through a Republican House, and then through a filibuster-happy Senate, then the same Supreme Court that brought us Citizens United will find reason to strike it down. But by the time a president gets an opportunity to sign it, the Court might look much different. Suffice it to say we doubt that this will be going anywhere in the near future.