Money & Business

Conservatives, Progressives Seek Campaign Finance Reform

By / Nov 19, 2012 (iStockPhoto/Thinkstock)

The American Anti-Corruption Act would limit campaign contributions and require full disclosure of donors, among other reforms.

A group made up of both conservative strategists and progressive activists outlined a plan last week to dramatically overhaul campaign finance, impose stricter lobbying and conflict-of-interest laws, and mandate full disclosure of all donors to organizations that run political advertisements during elections.

The American Anti-Corruption Act was introduced by Trevor Potter, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission who also served as general counsel to the 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns of Senator John McCain (R-AZ). Potter is part of a group of prominent Republicans advising a campaign called Represent.Us to seek passage of this plan by Congress. Other advisors to the campaign include GOP strategist Mark McKinnon, Harvard law school professor Lawrence Lessig, progressive strategist Susan McCue (former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)), Cecelia Frontero of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The plan would ban members of Congress from soliciting money from any lobbyist or lobbying organization with interests regulated by any committee that the legislator serves on. It would also require Super PACs to abide by the same contribution limits as other political committees and mandate the disclosure of donors by any 501(c) organizations that sponsor political ads.

The proposal would also put in place much stricter revolving-door restrictions on lawmakers transitioning from Capitol Hill to the lobbying profession and significantly expand the definition of who is a lobbyist. Under the plan, lobbyists would also be limited to $500 in contributions to federal candidates, political parties, and political committees.

While no member of Congress has stepped forward to sponsor the new plan, supporters of Represent.Us have vowed to seek the defeat of politicians who don’t support the proposal.

Chris Vest, CAE

Chris Vest, CAE is director of public policy at ASAE. More »

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