Campaign Finance Reform Caucus Builds Membership
Washington – The Congressional Campaign Finance Reform Caucus (CFR Caucus), co-chaired by Rep. Jerry McNerney (CA-09) and Rep. Walter Jones (NC-03), has expanded its membership with the recent addition of Rep. Beto O’Rourke (TX-16) and Rep. Jim Langevin (RI-02). This brings the total caucus membership to 31 representatives. The CRF Caucus also held its second meeting focused on contribution disclosure requirements, and the role of the Federal Elections Commission and its ability to enforce existing campaign finance laws.
“Campaign finance reform is a bipartisan issue and there is tremendous support from the American people who want to see real, substantive changes to limit the coercive influence of money in politics. The Congressional Campaign Finance Reform Caucus seeks to be a forum for the kind of discussions needed to turn that enthusiasm into policy change and lays the foundation for new ideas and solutions to bring reform to the system,” said Rep. McNerney. “We need to look at ways to bring transparency to the process through greater disclosure requirements of contributions, examine the Federal Election Commission’s ability to enforce current rules, and explore other avenues that will restore the integrity of our democracy.”
“I am greatly troubled by the undue influence that fat cat lobbyists and special interests have in Washington, DC. Now, more than ever, secretive special interest money plays an enormous role in our electoral process and in governing. I have long advocated for returning power to the people and getting big money out of politics. Forming the Campaign Finance Reform Caucus was another step in that direction and I am pleased that our ranks are growing. I’m looking forward to continuing our work when Congress reconvenes in September,” said Congressman Walter Jones.
The CFR Caucus is comprised of Members of Congress who believe that our country’s existing campaign finance system is broken, and it is in need of substantive changes to put the voice of the people back into our electoral process. The current system is corrupted by excessive amounts of money from both sides of the aisle. This ever-increasing amount of money flowing into the U.S. political system distorts the electoral process and stifles the ability of elected officials to effectively govern and represent their constituents.
At the most recent CFR Caucus meeting, members heard from Trevor Potter, President of the Campaign Legal Center and a former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission. Mr. Potter made the point that a high percentage of voters in both parties are calling for campaign finance reform to be addressed. In addition, he discussed various ways to reform the Federal Election Commission so that the agency could continue to carry out its enforcement duties.
The CFR Caucus held its inaugural meeting in April of this year. Attendees were briefed by experts from the Congressional Research Service on the history of campaign finance policy and how that policy affects our politics today.
A majority of Americans say fundamental changes need to be made to our campaign finance system. A 2015 NY Times/CBS poll found that 84 percent of Americans say money has too much influence in politics, and 85 percent of those surveyed said the campaign finance system should be either completely rebuilt or fundamentally changed.
The CFR Caucus is committed to shining a bright light on the undue influence of money on the political process of electing our officials, and some day-to-day government operations, expenditures, programs, and institutional functions. The Caucus will also provide a forum to discuss and advance different solutions to reform the way campaigns are financed in this country in order to restore the voice of the voters.
Rep. McNerney has been a vocal advocate for changes to our campaign finance system. The Congressman has introduced H.J.Res.31, a constitutional amendment to limit campaign contributions to individuals and prevent heavily-financed special interests and foreign investments from influencing our elections. The Congressman’s legislation specifies individual citizens or public election financing or voter education systems as the only sources of funding to directly or indirectly support or oppose campaigns for election to public office or to state ballot measures.
Rep. Jerry McNerney proudly serves the constituents of California’s 9th Congressional District that includes portions of San Joaquin, Contra Costa, and Sacramento Counties. For more information on Rep. McNerney’s work, follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @RepMcNerney.