September 17th, 2010
05:07 PM ET
13 years ago

New ad brings Tea Party, Progressives Together

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Tea Party supporters and progressives have teamed up to support the Fair Elections Now Act."]

(CNN) - Campaign finance reform is the issue that the Tea Party and progressives can agree on – at least in new ads designed to drum up support for the Fair Elections Now Act. But not always at the same time.

The legislation -designed to incentivize small donor fundraising in congressional campaigns– is being supported by a six-figure TV ad campaign featuring conservative and progressive voices. Ads with conservative points-of-view will air in Washington, DC during the broadcast networks' Sunday talk shows and on FOX News while ads highlighting progressives and conservatives together are set to air on MSNBC and CNN.

"This is not your grandpa's campaign finance reform bill," says David Donnelly, campaign manager for the national effort to pass the Fair Elections Now Act, known as Campaign for Fair Elections.

The Fair Elections Now Coalition, including U.S. PIRG, Democracy Matters, Public Campaign, and Public Citizen, among others, is launching ads that showcase a rare occurrence in today's political theater: Tea Party members and Progressives, agreeing.

Citizens featured in one ad include progressives at rallies in Louisville, KY and Seattle, WA and Tea Party members interviewed at Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally in DC. They agree that campaign finance practices must change, stating that "Money has too much power" and "Anyone …would be in favor …knowing that their votes would begin to count."

"If we could change the way we fund elections, it would make a huge difference," says one rally attendee, identified as progressive. At the "Restoring Honor" rally, a conservative-identified supporter agrees, "This is a much bigger problem than Republican, Democrats."

In the bill, if a candidate for the House collected 1,500 contributions in the amount of $100 or less he would receive matching funds from Fair Elections. The candidate would need to raise a minimum of $50,000 from his own community. Fair Elections funding would then match the local campaign fundraising effort 4 to 1, for every dollar, candidates would receive four. Qualifying candidates could receive additional matching funds if they continue to raise small donations from their home state, as funding qualified for a match cannot come from out of state.

There are 164 members of Congress that co-sponsor the bill according to the Fair Elections Now Act website, a list that includes 162 Democrats and 2 Republicans.

The Committee on House Administration will hold a vote on The Fair Elections Now Act on Thursday, September 23rd. Donnelly believes that the proposed campaign finance system will encourage more citizens to support their candidates for Congress and wrest control of campaigns from the hands of corporations.
The House panel will vote on a second, more "streamlined" version of the bill that was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania in March of last year, according to Donnelly.

The new version of the bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. John Larson (D-CT) and Walter Jones, Jr. (R-NC). It is designed to pull the purse strings of corporate campaign financers closed, for good. Instead, federal candidates would raise money in their community and fund their campaigns by raising large numbers-of small donations.

So where would Fair Elections get its funding to fund candidates? The answer: 10% of revenue generated through the auction of unused broadcast spectrum, a source that has raised $19 billion in past auctions, enough to fund four election cycles. When asked what happens if the auction does not generate enough revenue Donnelly replied: "That is a question for future Congresses to decide." He believes that once they realize how successful this is, they'll want it to continue.

Filed under: Congress • Elections • Tea Party movement
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    The bill sounds unnecessarily complicated to me. How about this: In order to run for office, you need to collect x amount of signatures on a petition. These signatures can only come from people who live in the jurisdiction of the office you're running for. X varies from a small number for local elections to a large number for state, national, etc. Anyone who collects x signatures is a candidate. All candidates get the same amount of public money and free TV time for ads. All candidates participate in 3 debates in the month leading up to the election. Advertisements can only be shown during that month. Problem solved. Wasn't that easy? Have a nice day!

    September 17, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. GOP Scorched Earth Politics

    Republicans believe in Democracy? I didn't know that. Last time I checked the Right – Wing was trying to switch our nation to Fascism.

    September 17, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "162 Democrats and 2 Republicans. "

    Need we say more? Yet, the Teatards will still vote Republican just because they're angry and scared. Yippee! let's here it for voting against your own interests!!!

    September 17, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    They always talk about it, but they never pass it.

    September 17, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  5. Drunken GOP Drivers want the keys back

    Once a bag always a bag.IQ 50

    September 17, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. Willy Brown

    Dream on CNN ain't gonna happen

    September 17, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  7. aesop

    No. It would be a waste of federal money, money that we cannot afford to spend. Every crackpot and nut-job could raise $50,000 from 1500 friends, co-conspirators, fellow cult members, etc. Do I really want federal funds going to support the local KKK candidate (who could easily achieve this fundraising goal)? No thank you.

    September 17, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  8. they call me "tater salad"

    Why does anybody still refer to the False Noise Network as Fox News?..............They're not news! They're the National Enquirer of right-wing political propaganda!

    September 17, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  9. john in cal

    the only way to have campaign finance reform is to have no soft or hard money coming into the coffers of the parties or allowed at all. all money for campaigns coming from a slush set up for just that. no lobbiest allowed anywhere. until that can be accomplisher you will continue to have the very corrupt government we have today.

    September 17, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  10. once upon a horse

    if the Tea Party wanted to be FAIR they would come out and admit they are FAR from being a grassroots organization and have their own mouth piece called FoxNews. If these guys can get in office NOT being fair you think they wouldn't? As long as they just answer to FoxNews like Sister Sarah told them and run away from the REAL media I doubt if there will be anything FAIR about their elections.

    September 17, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  11. Marcus

    Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but... – Your idea is sane and rational, which is why it will never come to bear fruits...

    September 17, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  12. da

    This party is really interesting they are nothing more than Republicans period!! Don't be fooled by the so call we are here to do what current Republican don't do. Because if that was true then why not run under a different party? If any of them get elected to any part of Congress they will vote with the Republican Party lock stock and barrel. Those folks who think this is a party of Conservative Independents are being tricked. They believe in the GOP platform all the way and while they are not talking about social issues as it relates to the GOP, you can be certain they will take up that cause if they get a voice in the Government. The GOP is behind this crap all the way. If it walks, talks, and squawks like a Republican it is a Republican. Don't be fooled!!

    September 17, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  13. Dan

    "Campaign For Fair Election" sponsor by Koch Brothers industries. Dick Army "FreedomWorks" and the Surpreme Court ruling "Big Business have the same rights as American Citizens.

    September 17, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  14. MikeH

    To "GOP Scortched Earth Politics"

    Get your facts straight guy, the Republicans want a THEOCRATIC Facism, that allows them to murder people they don't like (scientists)in the name of gawd.

    September 17, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  15. Peter s

    Who is fooling who in this newly found economic love affair?? Only time will tell

    September 17, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  16. Marie MD

    Am I reading this correctly? " "Money has too much power" and "Anyone …would be in favor …knowing that their votes would begin to count."
    "If we could change the way we fund elections, it would make a huge difference,"
    Are they going to include money being sent from a certain moron (AK comes to mind) that she has been sending all her gestapo wannabes?

    September 17, 2010 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  17. Haren

    We have 5 republican pro-life senate candidate Miller, Paul, O'Donnell, Kirk, and Angle from TEA party, they believe that in rape or incest woman should give birth to a child.

    I have one simple question to them

    What happens if a professional woman in her late twenties get raped by a man,?

    Do they think that this woman for 9 month jeopardizing her professional life to give birth to a child of rapist?

    And who gave them right to control the life of this woman?

    Oh! I forgot they have direct connection to god by Internet.
    To all women voters please pay attention it could be you in this situation

    September 17, 2010 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  18. Barry

    There is nothing wrong with what we have now. Stop whining!

    September 17, 2010 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  19. Neo

    This is a joke. The Restoring Honor rally was not a Tea Party event. Showing support from one participant in the crowd does not mean Tea Party support. In fact I would wager Tea Partiers would oppose this by about, oh 162 to 2.

    Tea Partiers believe in free speech and want no public money in campaigns.

    Its nice to see the "enlightened" progs try to co-opt the "racist" Tea Party movement.

    I can see November from my house.

    September 18, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |