Campaign Finance Reform and Good Governance

Campaign Finance Reform

The strength of our democracy depends upon the strength of the rules governing political spending and speech.

Earl has long been an ardent supporter of campaign finance reform, including public financing for congressional campaigns. He believes that campaign finance reform is a fundamental building block of good governance.  It’s integral to protecting free speech, citizen participation and accountability and, historically, has been a bipartisan issue. 

The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC represented a radical step towards unraveling the modest campaign finance controls already in place and escalated the campaign spending arms race. Corporations can spend an unlimited amount of money on political advertising, drowning out small donors and individuals.  The Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission was another victory for wealthy interests.

Congress must act to clarify that corporations are not people and that money is not speech.

Earl is a cosponsor of H. J. Res 2, the Democracy for All Amendment which would reverse Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC by enshrining in the Constitution the right of the American people to enact state and federal laws that regulate spending in public elections.

Earl also supports publicly funding campaigns that would loosen the stranglehold that a tiny sliver of large donors have on the political process, and would give qualified candidates who demonstrate broad constituent support an opportunity to compete on a level playing field.

Voting Rights

The individual right to vote is the cornerstone of a representative democracy.  Unfortunately, though we have seen greatly expanded access to voting in some states (like the state of Oregon with vote by mail), the right to vote is under growing threat.  Earl applauded the passage of H. R. 1, the For the People Act, that expanded voting rights for all federal elections. 

This historic legislation included provisions introduced by Earl that have been adopted in Oregon, like vote by mail and automatic voter registration. The passage by the House of this landmark legislation is a win for election reform, voting access and democracy. It makes it easier to vote - regardless of income, ability, geography or race, and enacts tougher ethics standards to ensure that public officials actually work for the American people.


For more information regarding Earl's work and views related to campaign finance reform and voting rights, please contact the office.


Redistricting & Reapportionment

Earl has long-championed that a more transparent and accountable redistricting and reapportionment process that guarantees fairness and equity is key reform that is needed.

2003 New York Times Op-Ed: Redistricting: A Bi-Partisan Sport

2005 Wingspread Journal Op-Ed: Making Gerrymandering an Endangered Species

Political parties have developed into an art form the ability to manipulate the redistricting process to punish opponents and protect incumbents.  It should concern us all when politicians have more of an influence picking their voters than voters have in picking their politicians.  The result is a House of Representatives that is increasingly dominated by the political extreme and that punishes those whose positions may be more complex.

The House began with 65 Representatives in 1789. This has been adjusted upward to reflect the increases in population, reaching the current 435 Member threshold in 1911.  At that time, the U.S. had only 92 million people and the average district was just under 200,000 people. 

The average size of a district after the 2000 Census was 650,000, and after the 2010 Census, the average population per district is 710,000.  In Oregon, the average is even higher, closer to 770,000 people per district.  These trends are clearly unsustainable if we’re going to have a truly accountable government. Earl believes it’s time for reform, and supports legislation that would make all redistricting information public and accessible.    

Earl has also championed legislation to take congressional redistricting out of the hands of states by creating a national bipartisan commission tasked with creating restricting plans for each state.