Business Groups Urge Campaign Finance Reform, Say Unlimited Donations Skew Lawmaker Priorities
The American Sustainable Business Council called on Congress to pass the Fair Elections Now Act which would stop the corrupting influence of special interest donations and enable legislators to focus on the people’s business rather than on fundraising.
The bipartisan legislation provides the option for candidates to run for Congress on a blend of small individual private donations and limited public funds, including a four-toone federal match on donations of $100 or less. With the Fair Elections Now Act, candidates could finance a viable campaign based solely on contributions from their local grassroots base of supporters. Candidates would not need to rely on deep-pocketed lobbyists and special interests who expect favors in exchange for cash.
“Businesses understand the importance of getting the incentives right. This bill would incent legislators to focus on the urgent challenges facing America in restoring our economy” says Mark McLeod, executive director of the California-based Sustainable Business Alliance, a partner in the American Sustainable Business Council.
Carefully designed to withstand constitutional challenge, the Fair Elections Now Act does not restrict private financing. Instead, it provides an option so that candidates can focus voluntarily on their grassroots base of small businesses and individuals in their state or district. The act is self-funding and won’t cost taxpayers a dime.
“This legislation is a key step towards a vibrant, just and sustainable economy” says Mitch Rofsky, president of Better World Club. “Our business members, whether conservative or progressive, want Congress to be accountable and not beholden to special interests.”
“This legislation makes our election process more fair and democratic. By addressing the role of money in elections, basing candidates’ fundraising on small contributions from< constituents, the bill helps Congress hear the goals of sustainable businesses and their consumers,” says Fran Teplitz, strategic outreach director for Green America, a national organization of businesses and individuals dedicated to building an economy that works for people and the planet.
Says David Brodwin, co-founder of American Sustainable Business Council: “The current pay-to-play system favors large multinationals, many of which buy influence to protect subsidies, tax havens, and other preferential treatments that we can’t afford. These giveaways hurt Main Street businesses and they hurt entrepreneurs who pioneer sustainable technologies and socially responsible business practices.” Organizations in the American Sustainable Business Council supporting the Fair< Elections Now Act include: Foresight Sustainable Business Alliance, Green America, Green Chamber, New Voice of Business, and Sustainable Business Alliance.
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Sustainable Business Alliance (www.sustainablebusinessalliance.org) is a membership organization for companies committed to greater environmental and socially responsible business practices. Its members are a diverse community of over 100 sustainable businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. SBA strengthens its members’ businesses through networking, education, and partnership opportunities.
Contact Mark McLeod, executive director: (510) 757-4954
Better World Club (www.betterworldclub.com) is the nation’s only socially responsible, eco-friendly roadside assistance and travel club. In addition to 24/7 nationwide roadside assistance, BWC has a unique policy agenda among auto clubs. BWC devotes 1% of revenues to environmental cleanup and advocacy, pioneered carbon offsets for travel and nationwide bicycle roadside assistance, and offers travel and car rental discounts which include eco-travel and hybrid cars.
Contact Mitch Rofsky, president: (503)784-9378
Green America is a national membership organization of consumers, business, and investors dedicated to harnessing economic power to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. Its individual membership of 140,000 and our business network of 5,000 responsible businesses have long advocated for the reduction in carbon emissions that are needed to prevent the most dire consequences of global climate change.
Contact Fran Teplitz, strategic outreach director: (202) 872-5326
American Sustainable Business Council (www.asbcouncil.org) is a growing national coalition of business networks that supports policies leading to a vibrant, just and sustainable economy. Through its 23 partners, ASBC represents over 50,000 businesses and social enterprises and more than 150,000 entrepreneurs, owners, executives, investors and business professionals. ASBC works to unite the sustainable business community, reframe the debate and catalyze policy change for a new economy. Contact David Brodwin, co-founder: (415) 265-3861
Read the white paper "The Business Case for Fair Elections" (PDF).