Yesterday, I joined the above named individuals in a telephonic press conference where we outlined the proposed American Anti-Corruption Act, a law that would overhaul campaign finance (including by allowing taxpayers to allocate a $100 tax rebate to political campaigns of their choice), impose strict lobbying and conflict of interest laws, and end secret political money.
We and other lawyers, lobbyists, businesspeople and public interest advocates devoted considerable effort to discussing and drafting different parts of this proposed legislation.
The text of the Act can be found here (click on “Read the Act”:
Key provisions are highlighted below. The Act will:
Stop Politicians from Taking Bribes. Prohibits members of congress from soliciting contributions from the interests they regulate, and prevent them from benefiting interests that directly or indirectly spend heavily to influence their elections.
Limit Super PAC Coordination & Contributions. Requires Super PACs to abide by the same contribution limits as other political committees. Toughens rules regarding Super PACs and other groups’ coordination with political campaigns and political parties.
Limit Lobbyist Donations. Limits the amount that lobbyists and their clients can contribute to federal candidates, political parties, and political committees to $500 per year, and limit lobbyist fundraising. Federal contractors already are banned from contributing to campaigns: extend that ban to the lobbyists, high-level executives and government relations employees and PACs of federal government contractors.
Empower Voters with a Tax Rebate for Political Contributions. Creates an annual $100 Tax Rebate that voters can use for qualified contributions to one or more federal candidates, political parties, and political committees. In order to be eligible to receive Tax Rebate contributions, candidates, political parties, and political committees must limit the contributions they receive to no more than $500 per contributor per calendar year or contributions from entities that are funded exclusively by Tax Rebates and small-dollar contributions.
Force lobbyists to call themselves….lobbyists. Significantly expands the definition of “lobbyist,” making it a lot more difficult for influencers to play word games and sidestep the rules . . . which is now commonplace.
End Secret Money. Mandates full transparency of all political money. Require any organization that spends $10,000 or more on advertisements to elect or defeat federal candidates to file a disclosure re- port online with the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours. List each of the organization’s donors who donated $10,000 or more to the organization to run such ads. This includes all PACs, 501c nonprofits, or other groups that engage in electioneering.
Stop the revolving door. In the 1970s, just 3% of retiring Congressmen and women went on to become lobbyists. Between 1998 and 2004, coaxed along by the lure of easy money – more than 50% of Senators and 42% of House Members jumped the fence. And the uptick continues, thanks to easy-to-maneuver rules. Currently, House members only have to wait one year before they can become a registered lobbyist; Senators, two years. ACAA will extend that to seven years for members, and five years for senior congressional staff, effectively blocking people from using the power and prestige of their former offices for personal profit.
Enforce the Rules. Strengthens the Federal Election Commission’s independence and strengthen the House and Senate ethics enforcement processes. Provide federal prosecutors additional tools necessary to combat corruption, and prohibit lobbyists who fail to properly register and disclose their activities from engaging in federal lobbying activities for a period of two years.
Our goal: to get the American Anti-Corruption Act enacted by 2016 -- and hopefully earlier. Please join us!