Monthly Archives: January 2018

Our Secret Supporters, Part II, the 115th Congress

A Review of the Websites of the Co-Sponsors of Legislation to Create Publicly Funded Elections, Part II, 115th Congress, reviewed January 2018

by Frank Kirkwood

Legislation to set up publicly funded elections has been introduced in Congress many times over the last 20+ years.  We should expect real leaders of these politically revolutionary bills to use their websites, their face to the public, to say to their constituents, “Like you, I recognize that our democracy is in trouble.  There are solutions to these problems and I am working hard to pass them.  Look at what I have done already.  I have co-sponsored the bill to create publicly funded elections.”  Real leaders would take the opportunity to use their websites to acknowledge the public’s frustration and to educate their constituents about the solutions that are available to the money-in-politics problem and to let the citizens know that their representative is on the forefront of this fight.

In August of 2015, I reviewed the websites of the sponsors and co-sponsors of the two bills to create publicly funded elections in the 114th Congress.  I also looked at the websites of the sponsors and co-sponsors of the two resolutions to amend the constitution to fix the Citizens United decision.  I looked at both the official congressional website and the campaign website of each of these elected officials.  You can see that review here.

In January of 2018, I repeated the review for the 115th Congress but this time I did not look at the Citizens United related bills, only at the bills for publicly funded elections:  HR 20, the Government by the People Act and S 1640, the Fair Elections Now Act.  I looked for statements on their websites about these public funding of elections bills or, more generally, about their support of publicly funded elections.

Here is what I found:

Publicly Funded Elections

Do members of Congress who say (by their co-sponsorship) that they support publicly funded elections demonstrate their support on their websites?  The official congressional websites and the campaign websites of the sponsors/co-sponsors of the Fair Elections Now Act (in the Senate) and the Government for the People Act (in the House) were reviewed.  To date, there are 27 sponsors/cosponsors for S 1640 in the Senate and 158 sponsors/cosponsors of HR 20 in the House.


Total (both houses) sponsors/co-sponsors =  185

Total sponsors/co-sponsors (both houses) with a statement about these bills or about publicly funded elections on either their official or campaign websites =  32 sponsors/co-sponsors or 17% of sponsors/co-sponsors.

Total sponsors/co-sponsors (both houses) with a statement about these bills or about publicly funded elections on both their official and campaign websites =  6 sponsors/co-sponsors or 3% of sponsors/co-sponsors.

Or stated another way –

83%  of all sponsors/co-sponsors of bills to create publicly funded elections do not mention their support for these bills or their support for publicly funded elections at all on either their official or campaign websites.

Look here for details of US House of Representatives co-sponsor website review.

Look here for details of US Senate co-sponsor website review.

March on Harrisburg

by Frank Kirkwood

Well, I’ve been away from the blog for quite a while.  But I have a good excuse, I have been organizing and agitating with March on Harrisburg.  We have been marching on Harrisburg (literally, not just metaphorically), visiting almost all our legislators, engaging in non-violent direct actions, and marching, once from Philadelphia to Harrisburg and then from Lancaster to Harrisburg.

We are asking the legislature to pass a Pennsylvania constitutional amendment to take re-districting out of the hands of self-serving legislative leaders and put it in the hands of a citizens commission.  We are also agitating to get them to pass a ban on gifts to legislators.  Right now, lobbyists can give meals, drinks, nights on the town, event tickets, even vacations to your representative – all perfectly legal and much of it never has to be reported.

Gifts are a way of life in the legislature, it is the way business is done.  It is really just another form of the payments by lobbyists to the campaign committees of legislative candidates.  All perfectly legal and all perfectly corrupting!   So, we are starting with the gift ban.

Check it out:  March on Harrisburg.