DEFENDING DEMOCRACY BILLS IN CONGRESS

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

Democracy for All Amendment (SJ Res 5/ HJ Res 22)

Provides Congress and the states with the authority to determine reasonable regulations on campaign financing and distinguish between natural persons and other artificial entities under campaign finance laws.  Key sponsors: Sens. Udall, Sanders/Reps. Deutch, Edwards, McGovern.

We The People Act: (HJ Res 48)

Clarifies that only human beings, not legal entities like corporations, are entitled to the protections of the Constitution, and stating that political campaign spending is not protected by the first amendment.  Key Sponsors: Rep. Nolan, Rep. Jones

People’s Rights Amendment (SJ Res 18/HJ Res 23)

Makes it clear that corporations do not have constitutional rights, as if they were people.  Key Sponsors: Senator Jon Tester /Rep. Jim McGovern

 

PUBLIC FINANCING

Government by the People Act (HR 20) - Empowering small donors and increasing political participation.  Matching public funds for small dollar contributions, and various other provisions. (Congressional elections), key sponsor: Rep. Sarbanes. 

Empowering Citizens Act (HR 424) Empowering small donors and increasing political participation. (Congressional and Presidential elections), key sponsor: Rep. Price.

Fair Elections Now Act (S 1538)

Allow Senate candidates to run competitive campaigns by relying on small donations from people back home—not big-money donors.  Creates tax credit, matching grants and donation caps for participating candidates. Key Sponsor: Sen. Durbin

 

DISCLOSURE

DISCLOSE Act: (S 229/HR 430)

Establishes a system of disclosure of campaign spending and the sources of those funds for all entities that make independent expenditures (at any time) and electioneering communications (in calendar year of an election for Congress; 120 days before the primary for presidential elections). Key sponsors: Sen. Whitehouse/Rep. Van Hollen.

Shareholder Protection Act: (S. 214/HR 446)

Requires corporations to disclose to shareholders and the public spending of funds for independent expenditures and electioneering communications, even if such spending is indirectly done through a third party. Key sponsors: Sen. Menendez/Rep. Capuano.

Sunlight for Unaccountable Nonprofits Act (SUN Act): (S. 367/HR 2695)

Mandates that nonprofit organizations that declares making campaign expenditures to disclose all donors of $5,000 or more. Key sponsor: Sen. Tester.

Real Time Transparency Act: (S 2207/HR 4442 in 2013 – not reintroduced yet)

Requires all political committees, including joint fundraising committees, to disclose electronically within 48 hours all cumulative contributions of $1,000 or more in a calendar year. Key sponsors: Sen. King/Rep. O’Rourke.

 

ANTI-CORRUPTION

Clarify campaign coordination: (SJ Res 7/HR 425)

Expands the definition of “coordination” to include joint fundraising and/or shared vendors and staff between a candidate and outside group or super PAC. Key sponsors: Sen. Tester/Rep. Price.

 

VOTING RIGHTS

Voter Empowerment Act (H.R. 12)

Amends the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) to require each state to make available official public websites for online voter registration, same day registration and voter registration of individuals under 18 years of age.  Amends the federal criminal code to prohibit hindering, interfering with, or preventing voter registration.  Key Sponsor: Rep. Lewis


Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 (H.R. 2867/S. 1659)

A bill to amend the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to revise the criteria for determining which States and political subdivisions are subject to section 4 of the Act, and for other purposes.  Key Sponsor: Rep. Sewell/Sen. Leahy

Automatic Voter Registration (H.R. 2694)

To amend the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to require each State to ensure that each individual who provides identifying information to the State motor vehicle authority is automatically registered to vote in elections for Federal office held in the State unless the individual does not meet the eligibility requirements for registering to vote in such elections or declines to be registered to vote in such elections, and for other purposes.  Key Sponsor: Rep. Cicilline


 


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