Why 2016 will be a Great Year for Money-in-Politics Reform

Happy New Year, America!

Yesterday, we told you all about the positive reforms that took place during 2015. Reformers should feel proud of their hard work, and you should take some credit for helping, whether you cast a vote in Maine or Seattle, joined a march in New Hampshire or told your friends and neighbors about solutions to make democracy work for everyone.

There’s plenty to look forward to in 2016 as well. Here’s just a few things to get you excited for another year in the fight for a truly representative democracy:

South Dakota
Democracy reform is coming to the Mount Rushmore state! South Dakotans for Ethics Reform is local group led by former Republican state senator Don Frankenfeld and 2014 Democratic nominee for Senate Rick Weiland. They’re pushing a version of the American Anti-Corruption Act that would “prevent political bribery, close lobbying loopholes and enforce ethics laws.” After collecting plenty of signatures from South Dakotans across the state, voters will have a chance to enact these common-sense reforms in 2016.

New Mexico
Our friends at Common Cause New Mexico will be fighting hard this year for changes to ethics and lobbying rules, especially in light of the Secretary of State’s resignation for embezzlement. Among the many recommendations they have to clean up the state (which received a D- in the latest Center for Public Integrity ethics analysis): bring more transparency to lobbyist activities, put limits on the lobbying of ex-legislators and family members and conduct more thorough audits of reporting. These are all process oriented fixes, but they make a big difference in people’s trust in the system!

Maine & Seattle
As we mentioned, both Maine and Seattle passed sweeping new reforms into law last November. So this year comes the hard part–actually implementing these changes. For Maine, that means the nitty gritty of rule writing, funding the clean elections coffers and ensuring candidates are participating come the next elections. In Seattle, reformers are working from scratch to support their first-in-the-nation “democracy voucher” system.

Washington, D.C.
Taking a page from the successful efforts in Connecticut, the D.C. city council is considering a bill to implement fair elections in the nation’s capital. Co-sponsored by 7 of the 9 council members, the legislation would match small-dollar campaign contributions in exchange for candidates complying with stricter rules and limits.

Capitol Hill
Just a few blocks from City Hall, legislators on Capitol Hill will have an opportunity to enact sensible campaign finance reform too. And the Stop Foreign Donations Affecting Our Elections Act is the definition of common-sense: prevent foreign nationals from contributing to US campaigns by closing a loophole in the way online donations are reported. That’s why the bill’s got plenty of bipartisan support, and was introduced by Arizona Republican Paul Gosar. Said Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), “this is a good bill to get the debate about reform started.”