Cracking down on government corruption
1. If presidential candidates disclosed their tax returns, the American people would not have to spend years wondering what interests the president could be beholden to or whether the president has paid their fair share.
- The For the People Act would require the president, vice president and candidates for those offices from major parties to disclose 10 years of personal tax returns, as well as 10 years of returns for businesses of which they are the sole or principal owner.
2. If presidents and vice presidents were required to divest from their conflicts of interest before taking the oath of office, the president could not rake in $1.6 billion in side revenue and income and groups like CREW would not have to sue them for violating the Constitution.
- The For the People Act would require the president and vice president to divest from personal financial interests that could pose a conflict with their official duties—just like other executive branch employees must.
3. If Supreme Court Justices were held to a code of ethics, like every other federal judge, then justices may have to recuse themselves from cases involving family members’ former employers. Like Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who failed to recuse from a case before the Supreme Court about Shell.
- The For the People Act would require a code of ethics for the entire federal judiciary, including Supreme Court justices, which could deal with issues like recusal, financial disclosures, outside employment and partisan political engagement.
4. If cabinet members and senior administration officials’ private flights were restricted, people like Tom Price and Scott Pruitt would not be able to use tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on travel.
- The For the People Act would restrict taxpayer-funded travel on private planes by Cabinet members and senior appointees, except in cases where there are no commercial flights available.
5. If members of the House were banned from serving on corporate boards, we would not have to worry about using their positions to enrich themselves or to go easy on the companies they profit from. Like former Rep. Chris Collins did with Innate Immunotherapeutics back in 2017.
- The For the People Act would significantly strengthen conflict of interest rules for members of Congress, including banning House members from serving on the boards of for-profit entities, and would restrict the ability of members of Congress from working to further their own financial interests or that of family members.
Fighting big money in politics
6. If members of Congress were more accountable to their constituents rather than to their wealthy donors, they would be less likely to get away with inciting an insurrection or going on tropical vacations during a crisis in their state.
- The For the People Act would create a voluntary small-donor matching program for House races, as well as piloting a voucher program in three states, which would enable candidates to run for office without relying on wealthy donors.
7. If political donors’ names were associated with the advertisements and dark money groups they funded, they could be held accountable for that spending, rather than saying one thing in public and doing another in private—and groups like CREW wouldn’t have to go to court to force that disclosure.
- The For the People Act would require groups spending more than $10,000 on elections to disclose, with limited exceptions, donors giving more than $10,000, as well as require disclosure of such donations to groups that then transfer the funds to other groups for spending on elections. It would also require outside groups to disclose their top donors in all video, audio or online political ads.
8. If the FEC actually did its job, groups like CREW would not have to sue the FEC to make sure there were consequences when dark money groups break the law.
- The For the People Act would reform the FEC, including lowering the number of commissioners to five to prevent tie votes, streamlining the FEC enforcement process, and allow for more judicial review of the FEC’s decisions.
Getting out the vote and making it count
9. If voter registration and election procedures were modernized, more Americans would be able to make their voices heard more easily. This would shift power from big money donors and corporations back to the people.
- The For the People Act would significantly modernize voter registration by requiring states to implement same-day and automatic voter registration for federal elections. It would also require states to offer at least two weeks of early voting and require states to allow any eligible voter to vote by mail in federal elections.
10. If states stopped gerrymandering congressional districts based on race and party, elections would be more about whose policies voters liked, rather than what side of the street they happen to live on.
- The For the People Act would ban partisan gerrymandering and include stronger protections for racial, ethnic and language minorities in redistricting. It would also require states to use independent redistricting commissions for congressional redistricting, changing it from the current partisan process in many states.