Campaign Finance Reform.org

Explanation

The Amendment...

Explained

Section 1: Congress will set a limit on how much people can give to candidates. Only citizens will be able to make those contributions, and they can only give to their representatives. Contributions would be like votes; each of us is limited to who we can vote for and how many votes we can give. 

Today, the limit that anyone, rich or poor, could give to each candidate for one election would be about $440, which would automatically adjust with inflation.

The phrase “seeking to represent the citizen”, nullifies the Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon et al. v. Federal Election Commission which allowed citizens to contribute to an unlimited number of candidates throughout the country.

Section 1: Every second year, Congress shall establish a single limit on the amount of wealth each citizen may contribute or use to aid in the election of candidates seeking to represent the citizen in any government office.  That limit shall not exceed one percent of the average annual income of all citizens of the United States.


2.1  A $440 contribution can be made during a primary and again during the general, run-off, and/or recall elections.

2.1  The limit on citizen’s aid to candidates shall apply to each candidate for each voting event.


2.2 Any other help to a candidate is considered a contribution (other than volunteering; see Section 2.4). For example, if someone prints brochures for a candidate, the cost of the brochures is counted as a contribution.

2.2  The limit shall cumulatively apply to all contributions directly to a candidate’s campaign organization and use of any resources to supplement or offset the cost of a candidate’s campaign.


2.3  The limit shall apply to all the costs of producing and distributing messages about candidates that are designed for audiences to witness unintentionally or without seeking the message.  The costs of no other messages about candidates shall be limited by this amendment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.3 Subsection 2.3 is the key element to nullifying the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision because it stops superPACs from advertising for candidates.

Independent advertising above the $440 limit is prohibited. However, candidates can still advertise, and all other speech about candidates from any person or organization is allowed.

The difference between a political message and advertising is the public's ability to choose to hear it.  When you tune in to news, opinion and political satire shows, you know you're going to hear political messages in the show, so those would be exempt from this law.

A movie or show financed by a candidate’s supporters would be permitted if it is scheduled and publicized as containing info about candidates. However, the advertisements telling people about the movie/show can't contain any info or opinions about candidates, and those ads must identify the sponsors of the movie/show and warn viewers it’s about candidates.

Including "all of the costs of producing" here, combined with Subsection 3.4 prevents one person or group from creating an expensive video that others could just pay to re-air.


2.4 People can volunteer their time to help a campaign as much as they want, even if they have already contributed to a candidate up to the limit.

2.4  The limit shall not apply to voluntary and uncompensated individual labor to aid in the election of a candidate.


2.5 We can begin public financing if we decide that the allowed contributions are not enough to fund campaigns.

 

2.5  The limit shall not apply to resources granted to candidates’ campaign organizations through programs established by local, state or federal law that are not designed to favor candidates based upon political party affiliation, beliefs or prior experience. Such programs may distribute resources through publicly funded vouchers of equal size given by citizens to candidates seeking to represent the citizen or may establish funding qualification conditions that consider candidate's viability through favorable petitions of registered voters and matching contributions.


3.1 Contributions have to be reported--with tax returns, for example--but donors can remain publicly anonymous. This is because the size of contributions will not be enough to buy undue influence. Anonymous contributions are like anonymous votes.

3.1  Citizens and campaign organizations shall report to a governing federal agency all contributions to candidates that are not voluntary and uncompensated individual labor, but the identities of lawful providers of the aid shall not be publicized by the governing body or candidate’s campaign organization without consent of the provider.


3.2 No one can get around the contribution limit by giving money to other people so that they will make indirect contributions. And no one can make someone else contribute or punish them for doing so. For example, contributions to candidates cannot be a requirement before joining a labor union or to get a job promotion.

3.2  Neither individuals nor entities may subsidize or interfere with citizen choices regarding the amount of wealth or labor that citizens contribute or use to promote or oppose the election of candidates.

 


3.3 Candidates cannot use campaign media that are funded outside of the legal contributions to supplement their campaign's advertisements.

3.3  Neither candidates, nor campaign organizations nor political parties may solicit other entities to independently sponsor media for use by the candidate’s campaign, nor shall any independent organization sponsor media for that purpose.  When a candidate’s campaign uses independent media, it shall identify the source of that media and that media must be in compliance with Subsection 3.4.


3.4 People and organizations that make movies, TV shows, etc. to help candidates at a cost greater than the $440 limit must reveal who they are and warn people that the media contain opinions about candidates. 

3.4  All independent messages costing more than the limit established in Section 1 that contain any information pertaining to candidates must precede the message with prominent, clear, simple and transparent means for public access to the identities of all of the message sponsors, give audiences a reasonable prior expectation that information about candidates will be a part of the message and enable audiences to easily preempt their participation.


Section 4 All other sources of contributions and advertising are not allowed. This closes the door on independent advertising from any source other than campaigns and citizens, which must be funded under the limit. This also prevents predictable and unpredictable loopholes, like contributions to candidates from non-citizens and foreign governments, or wealthy candidates funding their own campaigns.

This sweeping limitation also nullifies the portion of the Supreme Court’s decision in Buckley v. Valeo which allowed candidates to spend their unlimited personal money on their campaign; under CFR28 they are subject to the same limit as all citizens established in Section 1.

Section 4  No wealth or assets other than those authorized by this Amendment may be contributed to candidates’ campaigns, or be used to supplement or offset the costs of candidates' campaigns. Candidates may use only the wealth and assets authorized by this Amendment to fund the cost of campaigning and advertising for election.