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Two Bills in Congress in Need of Co-Sponsors

February 14, 2010

The recent ruling of the Supreme Court that opens Federal elections to major corporate influence is a repudiation of nearly a century of Congressional limitations on corporate political spending. Congress must act decisively to keep elections in the hands of citizens! Fortunately, H.R. 1826 was introduced in the House on 3/31/2009 sponsored by Rep. John Larson (D-Ct) with 133 co-sponsors (with Jim McDermott as the only WA Representative to sign on). The Fair Elections Now Act – Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) with respect to: (1) eligibility and qualifying contribution requirements and benefits of fair elections financing of House of Representatives election campaigns; (2) establishment of a Fair Elections Fund; (3) eligibility for Fund allocations; (4) contribution and expenditure requirements; (5) a public debate requirement; (6) certification of whether or not a federal election candidate is a participating candidate; (7) benefits for participating candidates; (8) matching payments for qualified small dollar contributions; (9) political advertising vouchers; (10) establishment of a Fair Elections Oversight Board; (11) civil penalties for violation of contribution and expenditure requirements; (12) prohibition of joint fundraising committees with any political committee other than a candidate’s authorized committee; and (13) a specified limitation on coordinated expenditures by political party committees with participating candidates. Amends the Communications Act of 1934 with respect to the deposit of proceeds from recovered spectrum auctions. Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow for designation of a certain amount of income tax liability to the Fair Elections Fund. Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to: (1) prohibit the preemption of the use of a broadcasting station by a legally qualified House candidate who has purchased and paid for such use; (2) revise Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authority to revoke licenses for broadcasting stations who fail to provide access to House candidates; and (3) revise the formula for determining reduced broadcast rates for participating candidates in certain circumstances. Directs the FCC to initiate a rulemaking proceeding to establish a standardized form to be used by broadcasting stations to record and report the purchase of advertising time by or on behalf of a candidate for nomination for election, or for election, to federal elective office. Amends FECA to: (1) empower the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to petition the U.S. Supreme Court for a proceeding on certiorari; (2) revise requirements for filing with the FEC by candidates; and (3) reduce from 48 to 24 hours the deadline for electronic filing with the FEC of reports by each political committee of contributions received within 90 days before an election. Essentially the same bill S. 752 in the Senate was introduced by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Il) Mar 31, 2009 with 8 co-sponsors (including Maria Cantwell D-WA) to remedy this judicial error. Urge your legislators to sign on as co-sponsors of these bills.

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