Golden Unveils Plan to Fight Corruption & Dark Money in Politics

July 9, 2020
Press Release
Congressman’s Plan to Fix a Broken Washington includes 14 bills to restore Americans’ faith in their government, make Congress work better

Plan includes original bills to crack down on dark money and stamp out improper behavior by family members of POTUS, VPOTUS, cabinet officials, and members of Congress

WASHINGTON — With congressional productivity and Americans’ trust in their government at or near record-low levels, Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) announced a plan today to fight corruption in Washington, shine a light on dark money in politics, and make Congress work better for regular people. Included in Golden’s Plan to Fix a Broken Washington are two original bills, introduced today, as well as 12 other pieces of legislation for which he is either the lead Democrat or a cosponsor. 

“I thought I knew how bad things were in Washington,” said Golden. “But it wasn’t until I got to Congress that I saw just how often big-money and special interests call the shots and how corruption takes place in broad daylight. All the money and influence peddling keeps Congress from getting things done for our constituents and from advancing bipartisan priorities, like lowering the cost of prescription drugs and improving services for our veterans. 

“If we’re ever going to make real progress on the issues that matter most to Mainers, we need to fix the entire system. Over the past year, I’ve been developing and identifying a set of proposals that will fight corruption and dark money in our politics, wrest power away from corporations and special interests, and help return power to regular people. I want people to have faith in the power of our democracy and our leaders again, and I’m hopeful these proposals will put us on that path.”

Golden’s Crack Down on Dark Money Act places new limits on 501(c)(4) organizations, which are used by big-money interests on both sides of the aisle to get around donor disclosure rules and to siphon dark money into elections. The Crack Down on Dark Money Act, which Golden introduced today, would limit these organizations’ political spending to just 10% of their total expenditures and require them to reveal their large donors if they spend any amount of money to influence elections. 

The congressman’s Stop Foreign Payoffs Act — also introduced today — would prohibit presidents, vice presidents, cabinet-level officials, and members of Congress, as well as their immediate families, from earning a salary from or holding an investment in a foreign business as long as the official is in office. 

Organizations committed to good government, anti-corruption, and election reform endorsed Golden’s legislation and announced their support for his plan. 

“Mainers should have a stronger voice in our government than secretive PACs and foreign corporations. We need more transparency and stronger enforcement of the regulations on foreign and corporate spending. This package includes urgently-needed reforms to our ethics and campaign finance laws." - Anna Kellar, Executive Director, Maine Citizens for Clean Elections

“Congressman Golden has released a bold set of anti-corruption policies that will curtail dark money and fight the threat of foreign interference in our elections. We applaud his continued leadership and commitment to creating a democracy that’s transparent and accountable to its people.” - Tiffany Muller, President, End Citizens United Action Fund

“The Crack Down on Dark Money Act recognizes the importance of limits on secret spending and clear definitions of political activity for 501(c)(4)s, a crucial step towards accountable elections and bright-line rules of the road for all nonprofits. The package as a whole moves us closer to the just and ethical democracy we deserve.” - Emily Peterson-Cassin, Advocate, Public Citizen

Among the legislation in Golden’s plan are bills to: 
Fight dark money in our politics, including legislation to require all election ads to name their top funders, overturn the calamitous Citizens Uniteddecision, close loopholes that enable foreign interests to spend money in our elections, and ban corporate PACs.

Crack down on corruption, including legislation to prohibit Congress from buying or selling stocks, require the president, vice president, and political appointees to disclose their and their families’ foreign financial interests, and ban senior-level military officials, members of Congress, and political appointees from lobbying on behalf of a foreign government or other foreign client. Also included is legislation that would impose a lifetime ban on all lobbying by former members of Congress. 

Strengthen Enforcement of Election and Ethics Laws, including restructuring the deadlocked Federal Elections Commission to more vigorously investigate and punish violations of campaign finance law, and making permanent the office that investigates alleged ethics violations by members of Congress. 

Read a summary of the full plan here.

A section-by-section of the Cracking Down on Dark Money Act and Stopping Foreign Payoffs Act here and here.

Bill text for Golden’s two original bills are here and here