Dem political reform bill could 'transform political economy,’ says Intercept’s Washington Bureau chief

The Intercept’s White House Bureau chief Ryan Grim says that a Democratic political reform bill could help “transform the political economy,” and have a “cleansing effect” on the role of money in politics, citing the bill’s aim to overhaul the U.S. campaign finance system.

Democrats have said they plan to make anti-corruption legislation one of their top priorities when they take back control of the House in January. The legislation would likely not have any life in the Senate.

“If H.R.1, as it’s currently written, ended up becoming law under a Democratic administration, it would transform the political economy,” Grim told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball during a “Rising” interview that aired on Wednesday.

Last month, House Democrats unveiled a blueprint for their sweeping political overhaul. They say that comprehensive plan would rein in the influence of money and lobbying in Washington by strengthening the government's ethics laws, expand voting rights across the nation and increase the public funding of campaigns.

Under the bill's current framework, the federal government would provide a voluntary 6-1 match for every small donation to candidates who have agreed not to take money from political action committees (PACs). This means that for every dollar a candidate raises from small donations, the government would match that amount six times over. 

Grim said the logic behind the public financing proposal is a “sound” one, arguing it could reduce the need for “big dollar fundraisers,” and money from super PACs.

“If you don’t need that, then your willingness to go out and get it is going to be diminished and so there is a cleansing effect that public money could have," he said. 

Even though the overhaul has little chance of passing in the current Republican-controlled Congress, House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' Lies, damned lies and the truth about Joe Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead MORE (D-Calif.) emphasized that she is confident in the developing proposal, saying Republicans shouldn't underestimate mounting public pressure when it comes to reducing the influence of big donors in elections.

“Our best friend in this debate is the public,” Pelosi told reporters at the time of the bill’s initial unveiling.

Americans are overwhelmingly in support of limiting political campaign spending, and most are in favor of reducing the influence money in politics, according to a 2018 Pew Research survey.

Seventy-seven of Americans agree that there should be limits to the amount of money individuals and organizations can spend on political campaigns, compared to 20 percent who say otherwise.

Slightly less Americans, meanwhile, said that new campaign finance laws could be written that would be effective in reducing the role of money in politics, 65 to 31 percent.

— Tess Bonn