Bennet, Senate Democratic Colleagues Introduce For the People Act to Strengthen Democracy and Fight Corruption

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined several Senate Democratic colleagues to introduce the For the People Act as an original co-sponsor. The For the People Act is a sweeping reform package to protect our democracy, tackle special interest corruption, and make government work for the American people. The proposal comes after Republican lawmakers in 43 states have perpetuated baseless conspiracy theories about fraud in the 2020 election to justify over 250 new laws restricting Americans’ fundamental right to vote. If passed, these state laws would represent the biggest attack on voting rights since the era of Jim Crow.  

“The For the People Act is the most consequential reform proposal in a generation. It includes common-sense ideas that are broadly supported by the American people, from creating automatic and same-day voter registration to expanding options for early voting and vote by mail. We know these reforms work because they’ve worked in Colorado, where we have the second-highest turnout in America with 76 percent of eligible voters casting their ballots in the last election,” said Bennet. “I am especially pleased this bill reflects my proposals to ban partisan gerrymandering, close loopholes for lobbyists, and make it easier for college students to vote. By passing the For the People Act, we can fulfill our responsibility to hand our kids and grandkids a democracy in stronger shape than we found it.”

This landmark legislation — companion legislation to H.R. 1, which the U.S. House of Representatives passed on March 3 — aims to restore the promise of American democracy by guaranteeing every American citizen full access to the ballot by addressing voter intimidation and suppression; ending the corrupting power of dark money in our campaigns; and putting an end to partisan gerrymandering. The legislation also strengthens ethics laws to ensure that public servants work for the public interest.

The For the People Act incorporates components from several Bennet proposals:

  • It adopts provisions from Bennet’s Fair Maps Act of 2018 to ban partisan gerrymandering;
  • It features language from Bennet’s CLEAN Politics Act of 2018 to expand the scope of individuals and activities required to registered as lobbyists; and
  • It incorporates significant elements from his National Emergency Student Vote Act to make it easier for college students to access voter registration forms, absentee ballots applications, and nonpartisan voting materials.

Bennet is a leading advocate in the Senate for reforms to fight the influence of money in politics. In February, he introduced the Spotlight Act to require dark money organizations to disclose their major donors to the Internal Revenue Service, reversing a Trump-era rule that allowed such organizations to withhold this information. Last month, he also wrote to the Department of Treasury urging it to reverse this rule. Last year, he introduced the ZOMBIE Act to require politicians no longer running for office to close their old campaign accounts. He has repeatedly introduced a constitutional amendment to reverse the damage from the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United and ban Members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists with his Close the Revolving Door Act.

A section-by-section summary of the legislation is available HERE. A list of organizations supporting the legislation is available HERE. A fact sheet rebutting false claims about the bill is available HERE.

The For the People Act would:

Make It Easier To Vote

  • Improve Access and Secure Voting Rights – Expands access to the ballot box by taking aim at institutional barriers to voting, such as cumbersome registration systems and limited voting hours. The bill creates automatic voter registration across the country, expands voting by mail, promotes early voting and online voter registration, and modernizes the U.S. voting system. The legislation also incorporates lessons from the 2020 election, expanding access for students, elderly Americans and Native Americans, expanding cure opportunities for states that require signature match, and funding absentee ballot tracking.
  • Promote Integrity – Fights the assault on voting rights by prohibiting voter roll purges like those seen in Ohio, Georgia and elsewhere and ensuring that discriminatory voter ID laws do not prevent Americans citizens from exercising their rights.
  • Bolster Election Security – Ensures that American elections are decided by American voters without interference by foreign adversaries. The bill creates a national strategy to protect our democratic institutions, increases oversight over election vendors, and enhances federal support for state voting system security upgrades, including paper ballot voting systems.

End the Dominance of Big Money in Politics

  • Guarantee Disclosure – Shines a light on dark money in politics by requiring all political organizations to disclose their donors; expands “Stand By Your Ad” provisions; and harmonizes internet disclosure rules with existing broadcast rules.
  • Empower Citizens – Builds a 21st-century campaign finance system to increase the power of small donors, reaffirms Congress’s authority to regulate money in politics, and pushes back against Citizens United. This bill levels the political playing field for everyday Americans, creating a multiple matching system for small donations funded by fines on corporate malfeasance.
  • Strengthen Oversight – Repairs the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to break gridlock and enhance enforcement while tightening rules on super PACs.
  • Prevent Foreign Interference – Incorporates lessons learned from preventing foreign interference in the 2020 election, which includes restricting the exchange of information between candidates and foreign governments, a ban on foreign lobbying, and prohibiting the establishment of corporations to conceal election contributions and donations by foreign nationals.

People Should Choose their Politicians, Not the Other Way Around

  • End partisan gerrymandering – Prevents politicians from picking their voters to benefit a political party or specific politician by requiring states to adopt independent redistricting commissions.

Ensure Public Officials Work For The Public Interest

  • Fortify Ethics Laws and Slow the Revolving Door – Breaks the influence of special interests in Washington and increases accountability by expanding conflict of interest law and divestment requirements, slows the revolving door, prohibits members of Congress from serving on for-profit corporate boards, limits first class travel for government officials, ends taxpayer-financed settlements for officeholders, and requires the President, Vice President, and candidates for those offices to disclose their tax returns.
  • Impose Greater Ethics Enforcement – Gives teeth to federal ethics oversight by overhauling the Office of Government Ethics, requires the Supreme Court to create a new ethical code, and closes registration loopholes for lobbyists and foreign agents.

In addition to Bennet, the legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Angus King (I-Maine), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.).