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Mark Begich Announces Campaign Finance Reform Platform

ANCHORAGE — Senator Mark Begich is announcing a new plan for campaign finance reform and how he would fight Citizens United and unlimited spending by Outside billionaires and corporations with a second term in the U.S. Senate. Yesterday, the United States Senate voted on a constitutional amendment that would have given congress and states the authority to put reasonable limits on campaign spending.

“After the Supreme Court’s flawed Citizens United ruling billionaires and corporations are spending unlimited anonymous amounts to buy elections across the country and it needs to stop. In a second term I will continue to fight to overturn Citizens United while introducing legislation to institute Alaska’s campaign disclosure laws on a national level. The rest of the country can learn a lot from Alaska common sense,” said Senator Mark Begich.

Mark Begich’s opposition to the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling stands in stark contrast to his opponent, Dan Sullivan, who supports unlimited secret money from outside groups.


Alaskans don’t always agree on the best way to tackle a problem, but they know that our biggest accomplishments are achieved when everyone has a chance to participate in the discussion. Right now, it’s too easy for big spenders to drown out the voices of everyday Alaskans who don’t have millions of dollars to spend blanketing TV and radio with their views. Mark knows we need commonsense limits on campaign donations and spending, so that everyone has a chance to be heard. That’s why he voted this week to reverse the Supreme Court and give that power back to the people.

In a second term, Mark Begich will:

  • Continue to push for passage of a constitutional amendment he’s cosponsored to restore authority to Congress, the states, and the American people to regulate campaign finance. Voters and elected officials must have the power to set commonsense limits on fundraising and campaign spending so that our representatives listen to voters, not donors.
  • Fight to overturn Citizens United, so that corporations have to follow the same rules as real people.
  • Oppose the nomination of anyone responsible for enforcing our campaign finance laws, no matter who nominates them or what political party they’re from, who isn’t fully committed to limiting money in politics and strongly punishing lawbreakers.

Increasing Transparency in Our Elections

The federal government could learn a few things from our campaign laws here in Alaska, which require more disclosure of who’s paying for advertisements and contributing to campaigns, both for politicians and independent expenditures. Voters want to know the sources of the information they’re getting so they can make better-informed decisions.

In a second term, Mark Begich will:

  • Introduce and champion legislation requiring candidates to electronically file and post their Federal Election Commission (FEC) fundraising reports, as Begich has voluntarily done. Citizens should be able to instantly access and easily search this important information, and there’s no good reason to not require this commonsense step.
  • Bring Alaska’s smart transparency requirements to the rest of the country;
  • Candidates and independent expenditures must identify their top three contributors in their ads;
  • Full reporting of all contributions over $50 for candidates or $100 for initiatives, including the donor’s name and who they work for;
  • Strict contribution limits so that candidates have to appeal to as many constituents as possible.
  • Fight to pass the DISCLOSE Act, which he has strongly supported since it was introduced. It’s a smart bill that would prohibit foreign influence in our elections and make it illegal for government contractors to spend money on elections, a clear opportunity for corruption.

Putting Teeth Into Campaign Finance Enforcement

Today, our campaign finance laws are in turmoil after the Supreme Court’s decisions removed many of the safeguards and anti-corruption measures established over decades. The Court is wrong: money isn’t speech, and corporations aren’t people. But even before these major changes, our laws simply weren’t up to the task of keeping politicians from constantly breaking the rules – penalties for campaign finance violations were, and still are, shockingly mild. A $100,000 fine from the FEC, sometimes years after a candidate breaks the law, is a slap on the wrist when the election has already been decided and there are millions in the bank.

In a second term, Mark Begich will:

  • Introduce and push for legislation to crack down on violations of our election law. Drastically larger fines, swifter enforcement and decision-making from regulators, and criminal penalties for serious or repeated lawbreakers will make sure candidates take our laws seriously.