On January 3, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced HR 1, a bill to make vital, high-priority improvements to our government and election systems. Rep. John Sarbanes (MD-3), the principal author of HR 1, is the chair of the House Democracy Reform Task Force.
Among other reforms, HR 1 would: increase transparency of campaign spending; set up a system of small-donor matching funds for congressional candidates; revive the matching-fund system for presidential campaigns; expand conflict-of-interest laws; increase oversight of lobbyists; end partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts; establish nationwide automatic voter registration; and reinforce the Voting Rights Act.
The Campaign Legal Center (CLC) has fought for each of these reforms, along with many others in HR 1, to ensure every voter has a voice in the political process.
Paul Smith, vice president of CLC, issued the following statement in support of the bill:
“Americans are entitled to a democracy that works for them, and having HR1 passed as the first order of business in the new Congress. Every voter should feel that they have a voice in our democracy, but Supreme Court decisions in recent years have eroded key protections like the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and the Voting Rights Act. This disturbing trend has led to unprecedented dark money in campaigns and increased efforts at voter suppression across the country. The passage of HR 1 will be a major step towards the critical goal of stamping out these insidious practices.
HR 1 is a sorely needed legislative solution. The bill would reduce the influence of special interests in Washington by multiplying the power of small donors. Coupling this with more disclosure of political spending would make government more transparent and accountable. HR 1 would also make needed improvements to curtail executive branch conflicts of interest, which have whittled away at public trust in government in the last two years. And the bill would curb partisan gerrymandering, improve access to voting by easing the registration process, and save people from voter purges that have become increasingly common in recent years. CLC is proud to have collaborated in this effort, and urges the passage of HR 1 by the House and Senate.”