Campaign finance legislation in the US Congress and Virginia General Assembly: A Plan of Action

Nancy Morgan, American Promise

Hi everyone,
In response to Stair's inquiry, I want to inform you that as part of the broader Virginia Swamp Buster's agenda on anti-corruption  our VA Chapter of American Promise is focusing on legislation which will hopefully come up in the Virginia G.A. on campaign finance reform.  Attached is a table which lists the resolutions currently  in the U.S. Congress proposing constitutional amendments overturning Citizens United.  The table also includes all of last year's bills on campaign finance reform introduced in the Virginia General Assembly; there were around 10 of them and they all died.   You can see in the list below some of the champions of the various VA proposed legislation.

Through our dialogue and interactions with experts in the field, we hope to review the language of these bills and provide feed-back to VA legislators.  The status of the bill various bills can be monitored on the federal level through Congress.Gov and in Richmond through the Virginia Legislative Information System.

To build up grassroots advocacy, our American Promise VA chapter has set up a letter writing platform to send letters to VA legislators (to be updated in January). American Promise has a similar platform for you to contact your Representatives in Congress.  To-date, there are two major bills which propose a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United in the House (HJR2 and HJR48) which have respectively 179 and 65 co-sponsors. There is a companion bill to HJR2  in the US Senate (SJR51 with 46 co-sponsors).  

On the Virginia-side, we are working with Del Mark Keam (35th District) and Del Sam Rasoul (11th District) to identify a freshman legislator to champion our State resolution supporting a constitutional amendment. Dan Helmer (40th District) might be interested. Sam Rasoul championed a resolution last year which was binding, referencing an Article 5 convention rather than the regular Congressional pathway. This is a topic of discussion for another day.  Two of our key partners are the Clean Money Squad (in Roanoke) and VA members of RepresentUS. 

The objective of this platform is to build partnerships with other groups in order to have more influence.

At least 10 campaign finance bills were introduced in the House and Senate in the last General Assembly covering,

Prohibiting contributions from public service corporations (Chapman and Roem)

Imposing limits on campaign contributions (Chapman and Ebbin)

Limiting personal use of campaign contributions (Vogel, Cole)

Improving campaign finance reporting (Kaye Kory)

Ensuring disclosure of donors (Hurst, Yancey)

Introducing public campaign financing (Simon)

…and one resolution endorsing a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United (Rasoul).