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Pingree backs campaign finance reform bill

Government By the People Act would encourage small contributions to campaigns

Backed by supporters from environmental, labor and civil rights groups, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree joined her colleagues today in introducing a major campaign finance reform bill.

"It would be a lot easier to accomplish real reform if we had a system of grassroots financing of campaigns that discourages special interests in favor of the kind of small donations average people can afford," Pingree said. "We'd be far better off if Members of Congress and candidates could spend their time talking to voters instead of focusing on trying to raise money. Public financing has worked well in Maine legislative races and can work in Congressional campaigns too."

Pingree is a cosponsor of the Government By the People Act, which was introduced in the U.S. House today. Appearing at a news conference with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Congressman John Sarbanes and a handful of her colleagues, Pingree said the bill would make it easier for candidates for Congress to raise money from a large number of smaller campaign contributors.

Under the provisions of the bill:

  • People would be encouraged togive small contributions through two parts of the proposal: first, contributions of $1 to $150 would be amplified on a six-to-one basis by a newly-created “Freedom from Influence Fund.” No large contributions would be matched at all.
  • Second, the first $25 dollarspeople contribute would qualify for a “My Voice” refundable tax credit.
  • The public financing of the system would come from closing corporate tax loopholes.

Pingree, the former national president ofCommon Cause, is a long-time proponent of public financing of Congressionalcampaigns, similar to the Clean Elections system in place for Legislative races in Maine. 

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