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January 22, 2015
Press Release

Washington, DC –This week, to mark the fifth anniversary of the Citizens United decision, Congressman David Price (NC-04) and Chris Van Hollen (MD-08) reintroduced the Empowering Citizens Act (H.R. 424), designed to modernize the presidential public financing system, to institute public matching of small contributions for congressional campaigns, and to stem the growing influence of individual-candidate Super PACs by further restricting their direct affiliation with campaigns. This bill is part of House and Senate Democrats’ Defend Democracy Legislative Package, comprised of campaign finance reform legislation introduced in the House and Senate.

 “On this shameful anniversary, we are reminded that Congress can and should take action to reverse the dangerous onslaught of outside money in our elections,” said Congressman Price. “It will take a more favorable Supreme Court or a constitutional amendment to undo all of the damage wrought by Citizens United and related decisions, but passing a bill like the Empowering Citizens Act would be considerable progress toward restoring our campaign finance infrastructure.”

“In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United and the ongoing effort of secret special interests to buy our democracy, the Empowering Citizens Act is an important piece of our work to ensure that individual voters have a voice in the electoral process,” said Congressman Van Hollen. “We will keep fighting for passage of both this and the DISCLOSE Act – together, this legislation will shine a light on outside money and ensure that our democracy is beholden to the American people and not well-heeled special interests.”

H.R. 424 would allow candidates to focus on small-dollar donors by creating a 6-to-1 matching system for small donations.  Additionally, the bill would blunt the impact of Super PACs unleashed by Citizens United by strengthening anti-coordination rules to ensure that Super PACs are truly independent and not acting as an arm of a candidate’s campaign to skirt election contribution laws.

The Empowering Citizens Act has been referred to the Committee on House Administration for consideration. Congressmen Price and Van Hollen have also reintroduced the anti-coordination provisions as a separate, stand-alone bill (H.R. 425).