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Government "By the People" Makes a Comeback in Congress

PHOTO: Rep. Sarbanes is the lead sponsor of the "Grassroots Democracy Act." Courtesy of Rep. Sarbanes.
PHOTO: Rep. Sarbanes is the lead sponsor of the "Grassroots Democracy Act." Courtesy of Rep. Sarbanes.
February 10, 2014

WASHINGTON – Backed by government reform groups and a growing list of other organizations, 128 members of the House of Representatives have introduced the "Government by the People Act" to encourage citizens to take their government back from free-spending corporations.

Rep. John Sarbanes, a Democrat from Maryland, is the lead sponsor of the bill.

"People are increasingly angry at this sense that they can't be heard in Washington," Sarbanes said, "that they're being left out, that their voices are being rolled over by super PACs and big-money interests here."

The bill creates a tax credit for contributions to congressional campaigns, and a matching public fund to amplify the impact of regular citizens in congressional campaigns.

Sarbanes noted that government reform groups such as Public Citizen have been joined by civil rights, environmental and other groups not normally involved, because those organizations know they can't accomplish their goals if corporations have vastly more influence than they do - thanks to the outsize campaign contributions they make.

"It's the presence of groups like that who can bring to bear significant pressure in districts all across the country that will help us build additional support for this within the chamber," he stressed.

Sarbanes added that polling data shows that not just Democrats, but unaffiliated voters and Republicans, too, are concerned about the influence of big money on politics.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV