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Proposal would wipe out remaining safeguards against wealthy interest influence

WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Mark Meadows introduced legislation that would eliminate campaign contribution limits, allowing wealthy donors to give unlimited funds to the campaigns of their choice. The proposal by Cruz and Meadows comes on the heels of an election in which money in politics was a top voter concern.

“Allowing wealthy individuals to make unlimited contributions to candidates as a 'solution' to the dominance of big money in our elections would be funny if the issue were not so serious," said Andre Delattre, Executive Director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. "The influence of big money only grew in the 2016 election.  Consider that the top 100 wealthy donors this year funded 11.9 percent of all election spending. That’s nearly twice what they accounted for in 2012.  Instead of opening the big money floodgates even further, we should adopt policies that return candidate fundraising, and our elections, to small contributions from average citizens as voters in South Dakota, Seattle, Maine, and Howard County, Maryland have recently done. 

In addition to eliminating campaign contribution limits, the legislation introduced by Cruz and Meadows would require campaigns to disclose donations greater than $200 within a day of their receipt, rather than quarterly. The legislation provides no disclosure requirements for “dark money” -- political spending by outside groups which is not currently disclosed.

In November, voters in states across the country passed ballot initiatives to strengthen campaign finance laws and empower residents and voters over wealthy interests in elections. The ballot initiatives which passed included measures to create a citizen-funded election program in Howard, County Maryland, measures to overturn Citizens United in California and Washington state, and a package of ethics, disclosure and campaign finance reforms in South Dakota.

Polls show that a vast majority of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents support overturning Citizens United and strengthening campaign finance laws in the United States. This April, thousands of activists flooded Washington, D.C., to demonstrate for reforms as part of Democracy Awakening, a three-day mass mobilization supporting voting rights and fair elections.

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U.S. PIRG, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in o

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