WashPIRG Applauds the Introduction of the Government by the People Act
WashPIRG commends Rep. Adam Smith for his support on campaign finance reform


SEATTLE, WA—WashPIRG applauded Rep. Adam Smith today for co-sponsoring new legislation aimed at raising the voices of everyday people in the political process.

Rep. Smith is an original co-sponsor of the Government By the People Act (H.R. 20), legislation that would allow candidates to run competitive campaigns for office by relying on small dollar donors.

“It is critical that we maintain a democratic election process where all citizens are able to participate,” said Congressman Adam Smith.  “A viable public financing system would improve our democracy by ensuring that all of our citizens, regardless of economic resources, have a powerful voice.”

A recent report by U.S. PIRG and Demos found that the current post-Citizens United election system allows large donors to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens. In 2012 the top 32 donors to Super PACs spent as much money as every single small donation to Obama and Romney combined, equaling the gifts of over 3.7 million Americans.

“It’s time we return to government of, by, and for the people—not special interests,” said Chris Esh, WashPIRG Program Associate. “The Government By the People Act would reduce Congress’ dependence on big money campaign donors and help ordinary citizens get their voices heard.”

The Government By the People Act would change the way our elections are financed through a combination of matching funds for small donations, and a “My Voice” tax credit.  Instead of relying on Wall Street executives or lobbyists, participating candidates would rely on ordinary individuals to help fund their campaign efforts. Here’s what the legislation does:

•    First, contributions of under $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 dollars people contribute would qualify for a “My Voice” refundable tax credit.

Rep. Adam Smith joins the 117 other original co-sponsors of the Government By the People Act, which was introduced today.