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Congressman John Sarbanes

Representing the 3rd District of Maryland

110 House Members Demand Public Answers from Judge Gorsuch on Money in Politics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mar 14, 2017
Contact: Daniel Jacobs
(202) 225-4016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Democracy Reform Task Force Chair Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today led 110 Members of Congress in sending a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, imploring them to question U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch about his views on money in politics during his upcoming confirmation hearing.

“In our view, the Supreme Court has for decades embraced a deeply flawed approach to the laws governing money in our politics,” the Members wrote. “The result has been a system that empowers the wealthy and well-connected, while drowning out the voices of everyday Americans. It is no surprise then that more than 90% of voters – including 91% of Trump voters – believe it is critical that the new Supreme Court justice be open to limiting the influence of big money in our politics.”

A full copy of the letter is below.

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March 13, 2017

Chairman Charles Grassley
Senate Judiciary Committee
United States Senate

Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein
Senate Judiciary Committee
United States Senate

Dear Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein:

We write today to ask you to seek greater clarity regarding Judge Gorsuch’s views on the Constitutional basis for our nation’s campaign finance laws.

The American public is greatly concerned by the increasing role of concentrated money in our politics. In fact, more than 85% of Americans believe our campaign finance system is broken and in need of fundamental reform.

Unfortunately, in our view, the Supreme Court has for decades embraced a deeply flawed approach to the laws governing money in our politics. The result has been a system that empowers the wealthy and well-connected, while drowning out the voices of everyday Americans. It is no surprise then that more than 90% of voters – including 91% of Trump voters – believe it is critical that the new Supreme Court justice be open to limiting the influence of big money in our politics.

As members of Congress, like you, we know all too well how the defects of our current campaign finance law impact our democracy. The pervasive and distorting influence of concentrated money in our politics frustrates the priorities and principles that motivated us to serve in the first place and limits important voices in our body politic from being heard altogether.

For these reasons, we ask that you implore Judge Gorsuch to provide a public response to the following questions concerning money in politics and the Constitution:

  • What will be your approach to evaluating common sense limits on big money in our politics and policy that empowers Americans of all incomes, races and backgrounds to have their voices heard in our political system?
  • Is the prevention of bribery – so-called quid pro quo exchanges – the sole justification for limits on big money in our politics or do others exists? If so, what are they?
  • Had you been on the Supreme Court at the time the Court ruled on Citizens United would you have joined the majority or the dissenting opinion? And why?
  • Having never served in elected office, what value, if any, do you place on the opinions and testimonials of elected officials – both past and present – about the impact of concentrated special interest money in on our democracy?

We appreciate your attention to these critical questions and your service to our country.

Sincerely,

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