Campaign Finance Reform

Fellow Kansans,

The wide array of loopholes and questionable relationships between the elected and big money influencers have put a “For Sale” sign on Congress, and priced out the average American voter from having as meaningful a role in our system of government. To many Americans, the system seems utterly corrupt and the career politicians complicit in a scheme to make Washington politics a truly “insider’s game” between those that have deep financial PAC pockets and the politicians they fund.

It simply has to stop. Our democracy depends on an informed, engaged and participating electorate. Our success as a nation depends on elected public servants who responsibly serve the American people not political party bosses, special interests, big labor unions or multi-national corporations.

As an Independent candidate for U.S. Senate, I’m running to solve problems and fix Washington’s broken system by getting Congress and the country to find common-ground solutions instead of finger-pointing excuses. For me, there is no bigger issue that has more corrupting influence over elected Democrats and Republicans on every legislative action – or inaction – than questionable, special-interest campaign contributions.

My campaign finance reform proposal is a common-sense plan that ensures Americans have a voice in Washington and that politicians will be accountable to the people they serve. This finance reform plan, coupled with my recently released congressional reform plan (that calls for a constitutional amendment for term limits, a lifetime ban on members of congress lobbying their former colleagues, and a crackdown on leadership PACs) can be a powerful one-two punch for getting Congress and Washington back on track and back in the business of putting the American people first.

You can find both this finance plan and my congressional reform plan online at ormanforsenate.com. Please read them both, send me your comments and then share the plans with your friends, family and coworkers.

Thank you for your continued interest in this revolutionary campaign we’re conducting in Kansas. Despite the callous, negative attacks against our campaign we continue to be buoyed by the outpouring of fervent support for my positive, issues-driven message to bring common-sense leadership to Washington.

It’s time to make Washington get to work for the American people and to send the career politicians packing.

Sincerely,

Greg Orman

1. Require Full Disclosure of Bundling

After the Jack Abramoff scandal, Congress passed the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 which required lobbyists who “bundle” (collect checks on behalf of a candidate) $16,000 or more for a candidate to disclose that information. Lobbyists have found creative ways around this, like holding events for multiple candidates at the same time to avoid reporting requirements. In addition, the burden to report this information falls on the campaign, not the lobbyist. This system must be changed. I will support legislation that requires the following:

Federal lobbyists should have to report every single donation they played a part in, regardless of the amount

State lobbyists and unregistered employees of firms that employ lobbyists should have the same requirements when giving to federal candidates

Campaigns should have to report all bundling no matter the source

2. Prevent Donations by Lobbyist and PACs While Congress is in Session

When Congress is in session, members should be doing the people’s business, not raising money from special interests. This is not the case today. In fact, Congressional Democrats recommend their members spend four hours a day fundraising when they are in Washington.

Right now, a Member of Congress can be handed a check by a lobbyist as he or she is walking from their office to the Capitol. Alternatively, a lobbyist can hold the check until after the vote. Even the current Speaker of the House has admitted to giving members campaign cash on the House floor. As Bloomberg News reported, “Boehner handed out campaign checks from the tobacco industry to members on the House floor at a time when lawmakers were considering eliminating a tobacco subsidy.”

This is deeply corrupt — essentially legalized bribery — and why29 states currently ban lobbyists from donating during legislative sessions. I will support legislation that bans members of Congress from accepting donations from PACs or lobbyists while Congress is in session.

3. Ban Federal Contractor PACs and Lobbyist from Donating to Candidates

A recent study found that “the more companies give in campaign contributions, the more they get in contracts, on average.” For each $200,000 in donations a firm could expect to add 107 additional contracts. If a company decides to peruse a government contract the company and its lobbyist should be prohibited from donating money to federal candidates.

Ban Congressional Leadership PACs

As I noted in my Congressional Reform Plan Leadership PACs have basically become slush funds for Members of Congress. LeadershipPACs were initially created as a tool for members of the House and Senate leadership to dole out favors and use cash to help maintain their positions. Not exactly a noble beginning, but since then things have gotten worse. These so-called “leadership” accounts have essentially become political slush funds that help members “advance their political agendas, their careers and, in many cases,their lifestyle.” Donations made from a leadership PAC can “be used for literally anything.” I will support legislation to end this practice if elected.

4. A Constitutional Amendment Banning Citizen’s United

I believe the Supreme Court made a mistake in giving corporations the same rights as people. Citizens United ultimately increased the influence of special interests on our political process and put a “for sale” sign on Congress.

While labor unions and Political Action Committees (PACs) were already putting too much money into our political system, Citizens United made this far worse. The ruling basically allows any corporation, labor union, or individual to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections, even if a corporation is established for the sole purpose of raising and spending money on elections. The decision also enables organizations called 501(c)4s to spend unlimited amounts of money in politics without reporting who is funding them. This excessive spending and lack of transparency isn’t good for the American political process.

Even more alarming is that the decision opens up the door for significant foreign influence in US elections. Because donations can be made through any US corporation, even one with significant foreign ownership,foreign countries could exert significant influence in US elections.

If elected I will support a Constitutional Amendment to overturn this verdict to ensure we can keep the unlimited flow of dark money out of politics.

5. Increased Disclosure Requirements

Citizens United is now the law of the land, but that doesn’t mean we should accept unlimited donations made in secret. All political spending should be subject to the same rigorous disclosure requirements made of candidates for federal office, thereby allowing voters to make informed decisions about candidates.

Any group that spends more than $5,000 to elect or defeat a candidate in a federal election should be required to file with the FEC within 24 hours of spending near an election, just as regulated outside groups are required to today. Whether it is a labor union, a (c)4 organization, or direct spending by a corporation or individual, the public has a right to know who is spending money to influence our elections.

In addition, they should be required to file regular reports with the FEC just like parties and PACs are required to today. It is important that charitable giving be kept private, but that cannot be used as an excuse to hide donations meant to influence an election as is done today.

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