Nolan: Stage is set to advance our restore Democracy revolution

by Congressman Richard M. Nolan

Now more than ever, our Nation’s future depends on overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, so we can finally put a stop to the billions of dollars in secret, dark money corporations and special interests are permitted to spend for terrible, false, and negative TV ads.
These messages, which begin months before Election Day, go on ad nauseum – discouraging good people from running for office, denigrating the candidates, driving down voter turnout, and causing Americans to lose faith in their leaders and the integrity of our public policymaking process.
According to the highly respected Center for Responsive Politics, last week’s congressional mid-term elections accounted for more than $5.2 billion. Much of that money came via incredibly wealthy special interest groups hoping to advance their own narrow agendas in the next Congress. And much of the rest was raised by incumbents who go to Washington to govern, but end up spending the lion’s share of their time dialing for campaign dollars like mid-level telemarketers.
The good news is that key elements of our Restore Democracy legislation – a blueprint that includes some of the very best ideas for campaign and elections reform (see article below) – are gaining support inside and outside of Congress.
The Washington Post reported last week that influential organizations including Planned Parenthood, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights have signed onto a “Declaration of American Democracy,” demanding that campaign and elections reform – including a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United – be a major priority of the next Congress.
Hopefully one key element will be the reintroduction and passage of legislation Wisconsin Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher and I have put forward to end congressional campaign fundraising – by incumbents and challengers alike – on days when Congress is in session. Our “Go to Washington, Go to Work” Act would ensure that when Members of Congress go to Washington, they go to work governing and doing the people’s business – not fundraising for reelection on the people’s time.
The simple fact is that there’s not a single Republican or Democrat in Congress who prefers fundraising to governing. Everyone comes to Washington with ideas they believe will improve our Nation and make life better for people. But far too many of the best ideas will be left on the cutting room floor until we change the system. And changing the system is what our “Go to Washington, Go to Work” bill is all about.