Fair Elections Now Act

The Campaign Finance Bait & Switch
First Congress bailed out the financial industry.  Then the auto industry.  And now—opportunistically latching on to the January 2010 Citizens United U.S. Supreme Court ruling—Congress wants to spend tax dollars to bail out their own political campaigns under the so-called Fair Elections Now Act (FENA), which would create welfare for politician using tax dollars to help them fund their political campaigns.
Video: The Campaign Finance Bait & Switch (Fair Elections Now Act)
The Fair Elections Now Act is the latest cash for clunkers program.  The public should be outraged that in the wake of other budget-busting programs, Congress now wants to lavish the public’s money on themselves and their political campaigns so they no longer have to convince the public that their candidacies are worth supporting.
Under FENA, candidates who qualify get a grab bag of government goodies, including cash and political advertising vouchers that, for some candidates, could be worth millions.  FENA also forces television stations to give publicly financed candidates discounted advertising rates that are substantially below what their privately funded opponents have to pay.  And, if the candidate wants the government to fork over more cash, FENA is happy to oblige:  For every dollar the publicly financed candidate raises in additional contributions, the government will shell out four more.
The history of public financing in the states where it has been tried is not encouraging.  In states with public financing schemes—like Arizona, Maine and Connecticut—studies prove that citizens view their government more negatively and actually participate less than citizens in states with privately financed elections.  Candidates moved to the far fringes of their parties rather than meeting in the middle and campaigns attracted fewer minority candidates.

The way to prevent corruption is not to bribe our own lawmakers; it’s to limit the government’s power to hand out favors in the first place.  We need to get back to a government with limited powers and a tightly controlled purse.


Essential Background


Photos and Videos

Press Release: Fair Elections Now Act is Welfare for Politicians;  Politicians’ Scheme for Public Financing of Elections Is a Case of the Foxes Guarding the Henhouse (January 21, 2010)


Video: The Campaign Finance Bait & Switch (Fair Elections Now Act)




Proposed Legislation


FENA Bill 752 PDF


FENA Bill 1826 PDF


Additional Releases


Maps, Charts and Facts


Report: Locking Up Political Speech
How Electioneering Communications Laws Stifle Free Speech and Civic Engagement


Report: Campaign Finance Red Tape:Strangling Free Speech and Political Debate


Report: Disclosure Costs: Unintended Consequences of Campaign Finance Reform


Op-eds, News Articles and Links


Op-ed: Fair Elections Now Act: New Federal Initiatives Project by William R. Maurer, Dominic Draye  (January 19, 2010)


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