Common Sense Campaign Finance Reform

Today, Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig all but announced that he would run for president. His hypothetical presidency would be very interesting: He would pass one bill, the Citizen Reform Act of 2017 (a comprehensive piece of legislation that would abolish gerrymandering, expand voting rights, and reform the way we fund elections). I don’t in any way endorse Lessig’s plan, but it got me thinking. There is a big-money problem in politics, so what would a common sense reform look like?

Virginia has a program where taxpayers receive a voucher that allows them to keep $100 that would otherwise go to taxes, and use this money for campaign donations. Why don’t we implement this system nationwide?

Second, abolish Super-PACs and relieve all donation limits for candidates, with one caveat: full disclosure. For example, if I am John Smith and I’m running for congress, and I receive 12 million dollars from Labor Union 1, but only $48,000 from other donors, it will become clear that I’m a fully owned subsidiary of Labor Union 1. This would remove the secrecy of the modern super pac era, and allow for the protection of the Supreme Court’s ruling that freedom of speech extends to political contributions.

Third, make it illegal for any company to fire any individual for any political contribution.

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