Making Washington work for Mainers: Sara Gideon’s Reform Agenda
Washington is clearly broken — politicians are too responsive to their wealthy donors and corporate special interests, promoting their agendas over the people they were elected to represent.
Elected officials are failing to make progress on many of the issues that matter most to Maine people, like lowering the cost of prescription drugs, reducing their tax burden or making health care more affordable, all because special interests hold the power.
Sara is running for Senate to fight for Mainers, not special interests. That’s why she’s introducing a set of reforms to end the influence of big money on our elections and officials in Washington.
The Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United opened the door to a flood of unlimited spending by corporations and dark money groups in our elections. Establishing a basis for corporations to legally be considered people and allowing them to spend unlimited money in our elections has given them undue influence in Washington. We must overturn this decision as a first step towards restoring power to people, not corporations.
In the Senate, Sara will support legislation, like the For The People Act passed last year in the House, to end the influence of unlimited special interest money in our elections and a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
The DISCLOSE Act requires dark money groups that spend to influence elections to disclose their donors, which would crack down on secret spending in elections. Senator Susan Collins was the deciding vote against the DISCLOSE Act passing in the Senate, and for years, politicians in Washington have continued to promote a system that benefits special interests rather than fight to end the influence of big money in politics. The passage of the DISCLOSE Act is long overdue.
In the Senate, Sara will work to pass the DISCLOSE Act and the Real Time Transparency Act to increase accountability and crack down on secret special interest spending in elections.
Mainers know the importance of hard work and accountability. If a Maine lobsterman, or waitress, or logger, or teacher didn’t do their job — they wouldn’t be paid. Our elected officials in Washington should be held to the same standard — if they cannot pass a budget on time, they should not be paid.
In the Senate, Sara will support “No Budget, No Pay” legislation so that Congress isn’t compensated if they fail to do the most basic part of their job.
Since 2011, corporate PACs have contributed nearly $750 million to candidates for federal office — it’s no surprise that they hold so much influence in Washington. Senator Collins has taken more than $5.4 million from corporate special interests throughout her career, and all too often she’s put their interests first, not Mainers.
Sara Gideon isn’t taking any money from corporate PACs in her campaign or as a U.S. Senator so that Maine people will never have to doubt whose interests she’s representing in the Senate.
For too long, Washington has operated like a revolving door between the halls of the Capitol and K Street lobbying firms. And considering the special privileges and access afforded to former members of Congress, perhaps it’s no surprise that lobbying is the most common profession pursued by Senators and Representatives once they leave their time in office (currently there are 445 former members of Congress working as lobbyists).
No American should have to wonder whether their elected officials are thinking about their next job rather than their current one, which is why members of Congress should be banned from EVER becoming lobbyists — not just for one or two years.
In the Senate, Sara will support a lifetime ban on former members of Congress becoming lobbyists.
Lawmakers and staff in Washington frequently skirt the rules to rub elbows with powerful lobbyists. No one should be evading ethics rules to attend lavish receptions held to sway elected officials.
In the Senate, Sara will refuse any gifts or meals from lobbyists.
Lobbyists and special interests continue to take advantage of loopholes that allow them to pay for trips for members of Congress. Some of these trips are even paid for by special interests whose identities never have to be disclosed, making it harder to discern who is trying to influence members of Congress. These trips represent exactly what’s wrong with Washington.
In the Senate, Sara will refuse any trips paid for by special interests.