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WHEREAS, candidates for the US Senate and House of Representatives currently spend too much time courting big-money lobbyists and special interests; and
WHEREAS, in the last election, the cost of the top ten competitive Senate races averaged $34 million per campaign - double what it was just four years ago; and
WHEREAS, one direct result of this race for campaign money is the perception by voters that candidates are too busy talking to Political Action Committees (PAC) or special interests to listen to their constituents; and
WHEREAS, public financing would allow candidates to stop having to spend so much time talking to special interests and allow them more time for listening to their potential constituents; and
WHEREAS, legislation has been introduced in the US House and US Senate which is based on working models in Maine and Arizona, and would create a voluntary system that gives candidates the option to stop spending time and resources attending fundraisers and dialing their "friends" for donations without risking a loss to a well-funded opponent. Under the legislation, entitled the Fair Elections Now Act; for those who choose to participate, fundraising would be limited to "seed money" in amounts of no more than $100 per person to pay for campaign start-up costs. Participating candidates would also be required to show that they are serious contenders by raising qualifying contributions of $5 each from a minimum number of state residents, based on the population of the state. Once they are able to prove their viability, candidates will then begin to receive money from the "Fair Election Fund." The amount of money each Candidate would receive would be based on the population of the state. Candidates would also receive vouchers for a discount on television and radio time; and
WHEREAS, if enacted, the Fair Elections Now Act would restore the confidence of the voters that their federally elected officials were responsive to them. It would also allow candidates to spend less time talking to special interests and more time listening to their potential constituents; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP supports and will work towards the enactment of public funding of federal elections including the "Fair Elections Now Act" (S. 936 H.R. 1614), introduced by Senator Richard Durbin (IL) and Congressman John Tierney (MA).