Campaign Finance & Election Reform Bills Pass House

Wednesday, Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) voted in favor of H.R. 1, the For the People Act, a sweeping reform bill aimed at strengthening the voice of the American people in their democracy by making it easier to vote, ending the dominance of big money in the political process, and updating ethics rules to ensure public officials work for the public interest. This comprehensive reform package, which passed the House 220-210, included two bipartisan bills led by Rep. Kilmer, The Honest Ads Act and the Resorting Integrity to America’s Elections Act, which aim to increase transparency in our campaign finance and election laws.  

“For a long time, folks have been justifiably frustrated with the performance of the government. There’s been too much money, too many special interests, and too little accountability. Today, Congress took an important step forward in hopes of ensuring that government works better for the American people,” said Rep. Kilmer. “Reducing the role of big money in politics, strengthening ethics rules so elected officials are working for the public interest, and protecting voting rights for every American, are things everyone should agree on. I’m also proud this bill includes two bipartisan proposals I wrote – provisions that increase transparency in elections and crack down on politicians that cheat.”

“Washington State families want DC working for the people, but too many self-serving politicians are prioritizing big money donors and corporate interests and giving them the power to stand in the way of fixing problems,” said End Citizens United//Let America Vote Action Fund President Tiffany Muller. “Rep. Kilmer understands now is the moment we need to restore our democracy. We thank him for supporting this bill that will reduce the influence of money in politics, crackdown on political corruption, ensure accurate elections, and protect voting rights.”

Included in H.R. 1 is The Honest Ads Act, which would shine a light on the murky world of online political advertising by requiring the hosts of online ads to disclose who paid for them. These requirements are the same as what is already required on television and radio. The bill had bipartisan support in both the House and Senate when it was introduced in the 116th Congress. Kilmer wrote about the need for the bill’s passage in an op-ed in The Seattle Times.

H.R. 1 also includes the Restoring Integrity to America’s Elections Act, bipartisan legislation which reforms the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the entity responsible for policing the nation’s election laws. The legislation would enable the FEC to more effectively carry out its mission to oversee and enforce campaign finance laws. Among other things, the bill will reduce the number of FEC commissioners from 6 to 5, so there are no longer split decisions among commissioners.

Additional highlights of H.R. 1 include:

  • Expanding automatic voter registration and same day registration.
  • Strengthening vote by mail, early voting, and ballot access.
  • Combating voter intimidation and voter suppression.
  • Protecting elections from foreign interference.
  • Preventing partisan gerrymandering.
  • Forcing disclosure of dark money.
  • Reducing the role of big money in politics by empowering small donors with matching funds paid for by lawbreakers, not taxpayers.
  • Reining in lobbyist influence.
  • Enforcing ethics and conflict of interest rules for all government officials.

See here for more information about H.R. 1.