Campaign Finance and Government Reform Agenda

Dana Balter Democratic Nominee for Congress New York 24th District
Released: July 31, 2018

It is time to return politics and government to the hands of the people where it belongs. We must end the culture of corruption and ensure that Washington works for the people, not for special interests. To that end, I am committed to supporting this reform agenda both as a candidate and as a member of Congress.

Leading By Example

My commitment to ending the culture of corruption begins with the campaign. That is why I pledge the following:

  • I am in this race only to represent the people of New York’s 24th district.
  • I will never take corporate PAC money.
    John Katko has taken more than $850,000 from corporate PACs. Unlike my opponent, I am serious about ensuring that constituents and voters know that I work for them, not for donors. I will be beholden to the people of this district, not to corporate special interests.
  • I will continue to hold public town hall meetings throughout the district.
    These meetings will be open to all and will not pre-screen questions.
  • I will make all of my social media ads identifiable and publicly available.

In Congress, I will continue to exemplify the transparency and engagement that are necessary for government to work for the people. That is why I pledge to:

  • Publicly post a daily office meeting calendar so that constituents can see who is meeting with me.
  • Have a minimum of four town hall meetings per year, one in each county in the district.
    These meetings will be open to the public and will have a robust question and answer period without pre-screened questions.
  • Have regular and systematic mechanisms for constituent input
    (e.g. surveys, online forms, community meetings, and roundtables).
  • Issue a public statement every time I cast substantive vote as a Congresswoman, explaining why I voted the way I did.
  • Refuse my pay during any government shutdown.

Reforming Campaigns

One of the keys to restoring the health of our political system is meaningful campaign finance reform. Voters and constituents have a right to know where candidates’ money is coming from, who is placing advertisements and influencing elections, and have their needs and opinions carry significant weight with their candidates. To that end, I support the following campaign finance reform measures and will work to pass them in Congress.

Transparency in election activity

  • The DISCLOSE Act (H.R.1134) requires any organization that spends $10,000 or more on election ads to disclose its donors within 24 hours. It requires corporations and other outside groups to disclose campaign-related spending to their shareholders and/or organization members.
  • The Keeping Our Campaigns Honest (KOCH) Act (H.R. 1439) requires political groups with anonymous donors to disclose their biggest donors at the end of their advertisements.
  • The Shareholder Protection Act requires companies to disclose their political spending to shareholders.

Prevention of foreign interference in elections

  • The Get Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections Act (H.R.1615) bans campaign contributions and spending by any foreign-owned, influenced, or controlled corporations.
  • The Honest Ads Act (H.R.4077) expands transparency and disclosure to include digital political ads and requires online platforms to make efforts to prevent foreign individuals and entities from purchasing political advertisements to influence American elections.

Publicly funded elections

  • The Government By the People Act (H.R. 20) creates a voluntary public funding system of small-dollar matching funds and tax credits for qualified candidates.
  • The Fair Elections Now Act creates a voluntary public funding system of small-dollar matching funds, tax credits and advertising vouchers for qualified candidates.
  • The Clean Money Act creates a voluntary public funding system of limited advertising vouchers

Overturning of Citizens United

The ​Citizens United​ decision completely changed elections in the United States, by allowing unlimited and dark money spending. The Democracy for All Amendment will end the influence of corporate money in politics by amending the Constitution to give Congress and the states the authority to regulate campaign finance for federal elections.

Reforming Congress

The people need to have confidence that Congress is working on their behalf not enriching themselves. That is why, as a Congresswoman, I will support the following legislation.

  • The End Congressional Stock Market Abuse Act (H.R. 2277) prohibits Congresspersons from engaging in stock market activity that is not available to the general public.
  • The No Budget No Pay Act (H.R. 1779) prohibits Congresspersons from receiving a salary if they don’t pass a budget.
  • Lobbying reform initiatives including:
    • A five-year ban on members of Congress and executive branch officials becoming lobbyists.
    • A six-year ban on lobbyists joining Congressional staffs or committee staffs that they lobbied.
    • Requiring lobby firms to report any non-lobbyist members of their staff that are former members of Congress or senior Congressional staff and describe their duties at the firm.
    • Improving the disclosure website so it’s easier for the public to see who lobbies.

Reforming Government

The need for transparency extends beyond Congress into the Executive branch and Congress plays an important role in ensuring the public has the information it needs to hold its government accountable. That is why I will support the following legislation.

  • A bill to require presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns so the public can assess the candidates’ potential conflicts of interest.
  • A bill to require government agencies to post all publicly available information online in an easily accessible format.
  • A bill to improve the response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with increased funding for information offices and better accessibility to information.

Reforming Voting Law

In order to ensure that we are truly a country of free and fair elections, every eligible voice must be heard and counted. We need to improve our voting laws and that is why I support the following legislation.

  • The Redistricting Reform Act (H.R. 1102) requires states to use independent redistricting commissions to draw congressional district maps.
  • The Automatic Voter Registration Act (H.R. 2876) requires states to automatically register voters for federal elections.
  • The Voting Rights Amendment Act (H.R. 3239) restores and fully modernizes the Voting Rights Act to provide greater transparency in elections and oversight in states with a history of voter discrimination.
  • The Protecting American Votes and Elections Act (H.R. 6093) requires paper ballots and randomized audits of election results.
  • A bill to make Election Day a national holiday.

Thank You!

Our campaign was guided by one simple principle: that everyone deserves a fair shot at success. To the countless people who so selflessly dedicated their time and energy in support of this message — thank you. I have learned so much from each of you, and am grateful for the still-growing community we’ve built together.

I entered this race because working families in central and western New York needed a champion to fight for them. We still do. I hope you’ll join me in remaining committed to this mission, because the stakes are far too high to sit this fight out.
Dana Balter

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