The Grassroots Democracy Act
The Grassroots Democracy Act (H.R. 268)
It’s time to build a new system that empowers the voice of the everyday American.
The Grassroots Democracy Act is a three-pronged package of reforms designed to combat the influence of concentrated money in politics, raise civic engagement, and to amplify the voice of everyday Americans in our nation’s electoral process.
EMPOWER EVERYDAY AMERICANS WITH DEMOCRACY DOLLARS
Provide Americans with a $50 refundable tax credit to contribute to their preferred candidates for Congressional office. With average Americans newly empowered to participate in campaign giving, candidates will have more incentive to re-engage with everyday voters rather than spending disproportionate amounts of time fundraising from moneyed interests.
AMPLIFY THE IMPACT OF GRASSROOTS DONATIONS
Multiply the impact of grassroots donations ($100 or less). Candidates who forego traditional PAC money and focus on earning broad-based support from grassroots donors in their district or state will receive public matching funds for grassroots donations. The match will be 5-to-1 where the candidate elects to maintain some degree of high dollar support and 10-to-1 where he or she commits to accepting only donations of $100 or less. The 5-to-1 option – which serves as a “bridge” from high donor dependency to grassroots empowerment – will phase out after six election cycles.
FIGHT BACK AGAINST UNLIMITED OUTSIDE SPENDING
Establish a People’s Fund to prevent super PACs and other big money organizations from drowning out the voice of the people. In elections where outside spending significantly outpaces national norms, grassroots supported candidates will have access to the People’s Fund to make sure their voice – and the voice of their grassroots supporters – can still be heard. Once total non-candidate spending reaches a certain decibel level, grassroots supported candidates will have the opportunity to apply for an additional 1:1 match on their grassroots base, providing immediate, supplemental support. Carefully crafted to preserve the constitutional guarantee of free speech, the People’s Fund will ensure the marketplace of ideas remains competitive.
Organizations Supporting the Grassroots Democracy Act: Americans for Campaign Reform, Citizen Action of New York, Communication Workers of America, Common Cause, Credo Action, Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Democracy for America, Demos, Greenpeace, MoveOn.org, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Professor Lawrence Lessig, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Public Campaign, Public Citizen, Rebuild the Dream, Rootstrikers, Sierra Club, US PIRG, Wolf PAC, and Working Families Party.