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Blagojevich Indictments Point to Need for Comprehensive Campaign Finance Reform, Groups Say

April 3, 2009

Blagojevich Indictments Point to Need for Comprehensive Campaign Finance Reform, Groups Say

It’s Time to Indict the System that Requires those who Seek Elective Office to Raise Large Sums of Money

Washington, D.C.—A coalition of public interest groups working to end pay-to-play politics issued the following statement in response to the multiple indictments of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, his brother, and his aides:

“The indictments of former Governor Blagojevich are today’s Exhibit A of a campaign finance system that breeds scandal and corruption, and that undermines voters’ faith that government works for them.

“It is not enough, though, to indict individual public servants and fundraisers for their actions. A litany of indictments over the past five years has done little to change the corrosive influence of money in politics. It’s time to indict the system that requires those who seek elective office to raise large sums of money – contributions that often come from interests whose businesses are dependent upon government decisions. That’s why it’s time for a ‘people’s indictment’ of the current system. We urge citizens to call their members of Congress to demand that they pass the Fair Elections Now Act.”

The bipartisan Fair Elections Now Act was introduced in both the Senate and House on Tuesday, March 31, by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.). It would free candidates from the conflicts inherent in the current system and allow officeholders to work full-time on behalf of their constituents. Under Fair Elections, candidates run for office with a mixture of small dollar contributions and public funding, and they take no contributions of more than $100.

The coalition that released this statement includes Change Congress, Common Cause, Democracy Matters, Public Campaign, Public Citizen, and U.S. PIRG.