HR 1 takes action on campaign financing
• Mar 05, 2019
You don’t need to read a poll to know the American people are disappointed in Congress. You can get in a car and drive to Pemberton Township or Berkeley or any small town or big city throughout New Jersey and just listen to people.
In the town halls I’ve done during my first two months in office, I hear from people, in red and blue parts of our state, who are hungry for us to get things done for working families.
I decided to run for Congress in 2017 because I saw so many things worth fighting for. From my two baby boys, whose futures I worry about every day, to my parents, whose access to affordable, quality health care I vowed to fight for, I knew there were real issues I could make a difference on.
But when I arrived in Washington, what I found was a system built to protect the status quo and stop those who want to make a difference in their tracks. New members of Congress like myself aren’t met with fresh solutions, but with hallways and reception rooms filled with a lot of people looking to exchange the same old failed ideas for corporate PAC money.
If we’re going to change our system, if we’re going to restore faith in our Congress and if we’re going to make change for working New Jersey families, we need to end the dominance of big money in politics. In short, for Congress to work, it needs to work for us and not them.
Because of this, the very first bill I co-sponsored as a member of Congress was HR 1, the For the People Act. This legislation would take real steps to drain the swamp, empower voters, and put forth serious solutions where rhetoric has failed.
For far too long, our campaign finance system has been driven by billionaire donors and dark money, and it is getting worse and worse every day. While your television sets and Facebook feeds are flooded with political messages, the big donors behind those ads are hiding behind outdated laws and lax enforcement.
This is fueling the hyperpartisanship and tribalism that are preventing real progress. This legislation aims to change things by shining a bright light on that dark money and making sure that laws in place are enforced and violators are punished.
Dirty money often leads to dirty politicians. Dirty politicians lead to policies bought by the highest bidder. That’s why HR 1 aims to strengthen our ethics laws by making sure no members of Congress use their office as a way to enrich themselves instead of standing up for their constituents.
It’s why HR 1 slows down the revolving door of Washington and closes loopholes that allow corporate lobbyists to hide their efforts to influence your government.
Let’s be clear: There will be losers in this bill. Big corporate interests won’t have as much say. Billionaire donors won’t have as much sway. But average voters will have more rights and a greater voice in our democracy.
HR 1 tears down barriers to the ballot box by updating our antiquated voter registration system, enhancing voting security to protect against foreign influence, and ending partisan gerrymandering so voters choose their representatives instead of politicians choosing their voters.
This change isn’t theoretical, it’s not idealistic and it’s not far-fetched. This week, the House of Representatives will vote on HR 1, and when we do, I will proudly vote for it and call on my colleagues to do the same.
When I come back home to New Jersey, I look forward to doing so as a member of a Congress that took real action to fight back against the big corporate interests that have dominated our politics for far too long and finally create a Congress that is truly of, by and for the people.
Democrat Andy Kim is a resident of Bordentown Township and represents the 3rd Congressional District, which includes most of Burlington and Ocean counties, in the U.S. House of Representatives.
You can read the full article by Andy Kim here.