On Wednesday, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) voted to advance comprehensive government reform legislation to reduce the influence of money in politics, ensure fair elections and expand voting rights, fight back against special interests, and demand better accountability from public officials.
“Ensuring that Washington is working for the people instead of special interests starts with repairing the fundamental pillars of our democracy,” said Rep. Axne. “That begins with cracking down on the influence that dark money has on our elections, combating voter suppression and gerrymandering, and protecting our elections from foreign interference. And it continues by reining in the influence of lobbyists, tightening ethics requirements for our public officials, and expanding voting rights and access to the ballot box. The For The People Act tackles all of these reforms and more, making it the most comprehensive ethics reform package advanced in Washington since the post-Watergate era, and I’m proud to support it.”
Included in the For the People Act, H.R. 1, are provisions to:
Reduce the Influence of Dark Money in Politics by requiring additional disclosures for all organizations involved in political activity, upgrading political ad disclosure requirements for online political ads, and strengthening oversight and enforcement tools at the Federal Election Commission.
- Improve Ballot Access by creating automatic voting registration systems, restoring voting rights for formerly incarcerated individuals, and taking aim at barriers to ballot box access by expanding early voting and access to voting by mail.
- Promote Election Security by reinforcing voting system security, increasing oversight of election system vendors, and shoring up election systems against foreign interference.
- Ensure Public Servants Work for the Public Interest by expanding conflict of interest laws, banning Members of Congress from serving on corporate boards, closing lobbying and foreign agent loopholes, and slowing the revolving door of former public servants lobbying their former colleagues.
The bill also provides candidates an alternate campaign funding source to reduce reliance on campaign fundraising in modern elections, an account funded solely by fines and penalties paid to the federal government. Earlier this week, Rep. Axne backed an amendment to ensure that no taxpayer funds are used in the Freedom from Influence Fund.
H.R. 1 bans partisan gerrymandering and requires all states to use independent commissions to draw district lines.
But, in recognition of Iowa’s existing commitment to an independent redistricting process that exists to draw fair and nonpartisan lines, Rep. Axne successfully pushed to exempt Iowa from the federal guidelines outlined in H.R. 1 so long as redistricting continues to be “carried out in accordance with a plan developed by the Iowa Legislative Services Agency with the assistance of a Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission.”
“Iowa is a national example of how nonpartisan redistricting can lead to fair electoral lines, and there’s no reason to fix what isn’t broken. While I’m pleased to see this exemption included in the bill, many of the provisions related to absentee and early voting would help protect Iowa voters from measures recently passed at the state level to drastically restrict voter access,” said Rep. Axne.
The For the People Act has the endorsement of over 100 advocacy and good government groups, including the Brennan Center for Justice, Campaign Legal Center, Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, Lawyers for Good Government, Network for Responsible Public Policy, Common Cause, League of Women Voters, and End Citizens United.
More information on the legislation can be found here.
The For the People Act was originally passed in March 2019.