Legislation that would reform public financing of congressional elections was recently introduced in the House and Senate. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Durbin (D- Ill) and Representative Larson (D- Conn) and has 5 senate co-sponsors and 119 house co-sponsors, includes a voluntary public financing system that would be driven by small-donors. “We believe the answer is grassroots involvement,” Larson said. “President Barack Obama demonstrated that it could be done.”

The legislation is in part a response to a case before the Supreme Court which would allow unlimited corporate expenditures during elections. “It takes a major scandal to create a major reform,” Durbin said. “I don’t know that we’ve reached the level in the Senate or in the nation where people are going to demand this of us…. But if they think that the Supreme Court has tipped the scales so dramatically that they don’t have a fighting chance any more, they may be open to this.”

Under this legislation, funds would be allocated equally to House candidates and based on population of the states in Senate elections. According to Sen. Durbin, the legislation would allow candidates to focus on the issues instead of spending “every waking moment begging for money.”

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