The national League Board recently adopted a stringent updated policy on Money in Politics; it will replace the previous Campaign Finance policy. The highly detailed policy aims for political equality for all and maximum participation by citizens in political policy and protecting representative democracy from distortion by big spending in elections. It identifies government funding of elections as the best way to encourage citizen participation and to level the playing field for all candidates. You can read the full policy below.
The national League Board the program for the upcoming two years–Campaign for Making Democracy Work–that was recommended at Convention 2016 was approved by national convention delegates in June.
THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF THE UNITED STATES PROPOSED PROGRAM FOR 2016-2018
Based on Program Planning responses, the LWVUS Board recommends retaining all current LWVUS Positions in the areas of Representative Government, International Relations, Natural Resources and Social Policy.
The LWVUS Board recommends a League-wide Campaign for Making Democracy Work®.
PROPOSED LWVUS PROGRAM FOR 2016-18: CAMPAIGN FOR MAKING DEMOCRACY WORK®
This comprehensive program would build on our accomplishments as part of the 2014-16, Key Structures of Democracy Program. It would engage Leagues nationwide in advancing core democracy issues.
- Voter protection and mobilization
- Election reform
- Money in politics, constitutional amendment and redistricting
Updated Money in Policy Position 2016-18
The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that the methods of financing political campaigns should:
- Enhance political equality for all citizens;
- Ensure maximum participation by citizens in the political process;
- Protect representative democracy from being distorted by big spending in election campaigns;
- Provide voters sufficient information about candidates and campaign issues to make informed choices;
- Ensure transparency and the public’s right to know who is using money to influence elections;
- Enable candidates to compete equitably for public office;
- Ensure that candidates have sufficient funds to communicate their messages to the public; and
- Combat corruption and undue influence in government.
The League believes that political corruption includes the following:
- A candidate or officeholder agrees to vote or work in favor of a donor’s interests in exchange for a campaign contribution;
- An officeholder or staff gives greater access to donors;
- An officeholder votes or works to support policies that reflect the preferences of individuals or organizations in order to attract contributions from them;
- A candidate or office holder seeks political contributions implying that there will be retribution unless a donation is given; and
- The results of the political process consistently favor the interests of significant campaign contributors.
In order to achieve the goals for campaign finance regulation, the League supports:
- Public financing of elections, either voluntary or mandatory, in which candidates must abide by reasonable spending limits;
- Enhanced enforcement of campaign finance laws that includes changes to ensure that regulatory agencies are properly funded, staffed, and structured to avoid partisan deadlock in the decision-making process;
- Abolishing Super PACs and abolishing spending coordinated or directed by candidates (other than a candidate’s own campaign committee); and
- Restrictions on direct donations and bundling by lobbyists, which may include monetary limits as well as other regulations.
Until full public financing of elections is enacted, limits on election spending are needed in order to meet the League’s goals for protecting democratic processes. Among the different entities that spend money to influence elections, the League supports the following comparative limits:
- Higher spending limits for political parties, genuinely non-partisan voter registration and get-out-the-vote organizations and activities, and candidates spending money raised from contributors;
- Mid-level spending limits for individual citizens (including wealthy individuals), Political Action Committees (with funds contributed by individuals associated with the sponsoring organization, such as employees, stockholders, members and volunteers), and candidates spending their own money;
- Lower spending limits for trade associations, labor unions and non-profit organizations from their general treasury funds;
- Severely restricted spending by for-profit organizations spending from their corporate treasury funds; and
- No limits on spending by bona fide newspapers, television, and other media, including the Internet, except to address partisan abuse or use of the media to evade campaign finance regulations.
AS ANNOUNCED BY THE NATIONAL BOARD APRIL 2016
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