Donors Speak Out on Fair Elections

04/19/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The New York Times reported last night, "If anyone knows the burdens of political fund-raising, it is the biggest political donors -- the rich partisans who field the constant calls from elected officials pressing for checks to fill their campaign coffers."

That's why this morning a letter signed by nearly 60 major Democratic Party donors was delivered to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urging her to work with her colleagues to pass the Fair Elections Now Act (H.R. 1826) in response to the Supreme Court's wrongheaded decision lifting the ban on corporate and union independent spending in our elections.

Letter signers -- including prominent political players like Jonathan Soros, Arnold Hiatt, and Agnes Gund -- joined their peers in urging a bold response to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. According to the letter to Speaker Pelosi:

"With an economy still in recovery from an epic downturn, unemployment at unacceptable levels, healthcare reform unfinished, and the path forward for a sustainable energy future unclear, Congress should fully focus on serving its constituents and solving our country's problems.

"We urge that you embrace the Fair Elections Now Act (HR 1826) as a leading measure to ensure, in the words of our President, that American elections are not 'bankrolled by America's most powerful interests.'"

Copies of the letter were also mailed to several hundred additional high level political contributors, urging them to sign on.

The Fair Elections Now Act would end Congress' reliance on big campaign cash, instead allowing candidates to opt into a system that blends limited public funds with small dollar donations. If faced with the threat of political reprisal for a tough vote, candidates can rely on their grassroots base of support and public matching dollars to counter the attack. Sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), the House legislation has the broad bipartisan support of 133 co-sponsors.

The political activists on the letter know we need to dramatically alter the way campaigns are financed in this country and so do the American people. A Washington Post/ABC News poll released this morning shows that 80 percent of Americans are opposed to the decision. This mirrors a poll released last week showing that almost 8 in 10 Americans believe Congress is "controlled" by special interests. They want Congress to act boldly to respond to the decision and favor the Fair Elections Now Act as part of any legislative response to this atrocious ruling.

Help us pass Fair Elections. Sign our petition today.