Sarbanes Highlights Powerful Reforms in H.R. 1, the For the People Act, and Knocks Down False GOP Claims about the Bill [Video]

At a Committee on Oversight and Reform Hearing on H.R. 1, Sarbanes Joined House Democrats in Advancing the Most Significant Government Reforms Since Watergate


Feb 7, 2019
Contact: Daniel Jacobs
(202) 225-4016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing yesterday on H.R. 1, the For the People Act, Democracy Reform Task Force Chair Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) highlighted the bold and transformative effect that the bill would have on expanding voting rights, strengthening ethics and accountability in Washington and ending the dominance of big money in American politics.

“Americans from across the political spectrum want a democracy that works for them – a democracy where big money doesn’t dominate the political debate, where access to the ballot box is ensured for all citizens and where public servants work for the public interest,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “Today’s hearing will be an opportunity to examine the imperative for, and the design of, anti-corruption measures that are included in H.R. 1.”

See below for the full video of the Congressman’s opening remarks.

Congressman Sarbanes also pushed back on several false claims made by the Oversight Committee’s Republican Members and their wealthy special-interest backers about a range of topics, including small-donor matching systems, voting rights and campaign disclosure and transparency.

“… The public is tired of feeling like their elections, their system, their government, their democracy is owned by special interests, big corporations, Wall Street, the oil and gas industry, super PACs, lobbyists – everybody but them,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “People are sick and tired of being sick and tired – to use Fannie Lou Hamer’s words – at a system that is run by somebody else…. We’re trying to set the table on the democracy. Make people feel more empowered, like their voice counts and they are not locked out and left out of their own democracy…. That’s why we’re doing this.”

Sarbanes concluded: “Voter fraud is not the problem. We know the statistics on voter fraud. They are microscopic. Voter suppression is the problem. The obstacle course that has been set up that makes it so difficult for people to register and get to the polls – and it demoralizes them, and they stay home. We have to fix that…. We can have sensible coordination rules, so that super PACs aren’t coordinating with candidates and violating the campaign contribution limits. We can do that. We can protect free speech, while actually giving more speech back to the people who are denied it right now…. The provisions of transparency in this bill are targeted to mega donors who give more than $10,000, who right now are hidden behind this Russian-doll-kind-of structure where you can’t see who it is. Who is behind the curtain? Who’s putting all this money into campaigns? The public wants to know that. That’s reasonable. Let them see what’s happening to their own democracy and give them their power back. That’s what H.R .1 is – for the people. That’s how we designed it.”

See below for Congressman Sarbanes’ full rebuttal.

See here for more information about H.R. 1, the For the People Act.