We believe elections should be decided by ordinary Vermonters – the size of your wallet should not determine the size of your voice. But the fact is, right now money influences elections and buys access. We need to get big money out of politics and raise the voices of everyday Vermonters who rarely make large political contributions.
Here’s how we do it:
Ban Corporate Campaign Contributions
Vermont’s current campaign finance laws allow corporations to contribute to candidates and parties just as human beings can. However, corporations are not people, and they should not have the same rights as living, breathing human beings when it comes to supporting candidates and influencing elections. Twenty-two states already prohibit corporations from contributing to political campaigns. The federal government has also banned direct corporate contributions to federal candidates for more than 100 years. It’s time for Vermont to do the same.
Bad Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United have increased the influence of corporations through big money super PACs. Until the decision is overturned, corporations and billionaires can pour unlimited amounts of money into political campaigns. For now, Vermont needs real solutions to address this problem, like increased transparency in the financing of campaigns.
Voters deserve to know where candidates get their money from. Far too often corporate special interest groups disguise their contributions behind a friendly PAC name. Vermont must require any connected organization contributing to a PAC to be clearly named or listed in the PAC’s name. Increasing transparency will lift the veil off dark money being funneled into our state and allow voters to get a better understanding of a candidate’s financial backers.
Get More Small-Dollar Donations In
If we can’t keep all of the big money out of politics, we need to get more small money in. Vermont has had a public financing system for certain races for nearly two-decades. But it hasn’t be effectively used in years and isn’t considered a viable option for most candidates. We need to invest in new approaches to encourage candidates to raise more small-dollar donations. Promising solutions have been seen in places like Seattle, where their Democracy Voucher Program has provided the means for more voters to contribute to their preferred candidates, encouraged those candidates to court more small grassroots donations, and increased participation in local elections too.
How you can help…
In 2021, VPIRG is advocating for legislation like S.51, which addresses each issue outlined above. After passing the Senate in March, the bill now needs to be passed by the House before the 2021 legislative session ends. This issue is too important to let slip by – you can help by using this form to write your Representative a quick message telling them how important this issue is.