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Keep it on the radar: Public financing for Congress

Where does Dianne Feinstein stand on “clean elections”?  We’ll soon find out.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate’s Rules and Administration committee—chaired by Sen. Feinstein–will hold a hearing on a “Clean Elections” bill for the first time in over a decade.  And this bill has some heft behind it: the sponsors of the Fair Elections Now Act (S.1285) are Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), no slouches. 

But one big question is whether Sen. Feinstein will use her leadership to lend support to this bill, and ultimately to help shepherd it through the Senate.  She’s been relatively mum so far—but here’s hoping she gets behind Fair Elections Now.

This bill creates a voluntary system of public campaign financing for congressional candidates. Instead of having to raise money from special interest groups, wealthy donors and big business, candidates who qualify under this system could opt to be publicly financed, freed from the constraints of constant fundraising and soliciting. Think about it: Candidates could trade in $2,000 a plate dinners and the unwritten quid pro quos from lobbyists for spending time with average voters and focusing on constituents, not contributions.

As chairwoman of the Rules and Administration committee, Senator Feinstein is in a unique position to support this important legislation. As a Senator who has worked hard to change the corrupting influence of million-dollar politics, we should be able to count on Feinstein to help support this historic legislation

Plus, she’s from California, a place that has seen its share of top-dollar, special-interest-driven campaigns—not to mention its share of corrupt elected officials, such as recent standouts John Doolittle and Duke Cunningham.

If you’re wondering what you can do to help, well, the best way is by calling the Senator’s office in D.C. at (202) 224-3841 and telling her that the Fair Elections Now Act is a terrific bill and an important reform and you urge her to support it.  If you’re afraid of the telephone, you can always opt for a petition: www.stopthemoneychase.org/feinstein.