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Congressional "Dear Colleague" Letter

April 14, 2009

Dear Colleague:

There is no question that public confidence in Congress is being eroded by the perception that big contributions from Washington insiders have come to dominate our campaigns.  Many of our constituents are left to wonder if we represent their needs or the needs of our big donors.  And the never-ending pressure we face to raise money cuts into the time we have to meet with our constituents and take the considerable time needed to study, understand, and offer common sense solutions to our country's growing problems.

A recent bi-partisan poll showed that 79% of voters believe large campaign contributions will prevent Congress from tackling pressing issues like the economy and health care.

As Members of Congress, we must look for ways, together, to restore public trust. That is why we have come together in a bi-partisan manner to introduce HR 1826, the Fair Elections Now Act (FENA), to provide voluntary public financing for Congressional campaigns.

The bill is a companion to the bipartisan Fair Elections Now Act that is being introduced simultaneously in the Senate and is sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Arlen Specter (R-PA).

The Fair Elections model is similar to the system already in place in Connecticut and other public financing regimes at various levels of government in North Carolina, Arizona, New Mexico, Maine, New Jersey, and Vermont. It is voluntary and is designed to leverage small donor contributions by providing a 4 to 1 federal match of contributions below $100 from residents of a candidate's state.

By joining us in co-sponsoring the Fair Elections Now Act, you can not only help Congress break free from the unsustainable demands of campaigning fundraising, you can help us gain the confidence of our constituents that we in fact do work on their behalf, that we do vote on their behalf, and that we do hear their concerns over those of large campaign donors.

We welcome the opportunity to work with you. To learn more about HR 1826 or to cosponsor, please contact Jackie Sheltry (Larson) or Cybil Roehrenbeck (Jones).

 

JOHN B. LARSON
Member of Congress

WALTER B. JONES
Member of Congress

TODD RUSSELL PLATTS
Member of Congress

CHELLIE PINGREE
Member of Congress

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