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Public Citizen Supports ‘A Better Deal for Our Democracy’

May 21, 2018

Public Citizen Supports ‘A Better Deal for Our Democracy’

Congressional Democrats Introduce Legislation to Get Money Out of Politics and Restore Government Ethics

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Empowering voters, getting money out of politics and strengthening government ethics all are central parts of a reform package – introduced today by congressional Democrats – that is critical to restoring democracy, Public Citizen said today.

Called “A Better Deal for Our Democracy: Fixing Our Broken System and Returning to a Government Of, By and For the People,” the package includes numerous areas of reform.

“President Donald Trump is battering at the foundation of our democracy, but that foundation was eroded badly long before Trump’s election, thanks to U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Citizens United v. FEC and Shelby County v. Holder, and many other developments,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “We need a full-fledged democracy rescue program, which is exactly what the Better Deal for our Democracy provides. We need this package – all of it – to unrig a political system that is working for corporations and the superrich and against the interests of We the People.”

“The system is broken in numerous ways, and only through bold leadership and strong practical systemic reforms can we begin to repair our democracy, and make it again something that Americans believe in and depend on,” said Lisa Gilbert, Public Citizen’s vice president of legislative affairs. “If this package passes, cronyism, corruption and far too much special interest money in our system will no longer be the norm.”

Public Citizen applauds the comprehensive platform, which is sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), and supported by the Democratic congressional caucus. The reforms include:

  • Protecting every citizen’s right to vote, safeguarding election infrastructure from hostile actors and putting an end to partisan redistricting;

  • Ending the revolving door in Washington and reining in the influence of special interests, lobbyists and wealthy donors;

  • Fixing the broken campaign finance system to combat influence of the wealthy and empowering everyday Americans to participate in democracy; and

  • Restoring the ethical integrity of government service.

The reform package includes legislation introduced Monday by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) that would strengthen the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) so that ethics and conflict of interest rules will be enforced throughout the executive branch.

“Enforcing ethics rules over the White House and executive branch is currently hobbled by an ethics agency that can only advise, not enforce,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “The new legislation to give OGE enforcement authority will put an ethics cop back on the beat.”