Campaign, Election, & Government Reform

The Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision has let unrestricted corporate spending creep into our electoral system. During the 2016 election cycle, a total of $6.4 billion was spent on campaigns. I oppose the flawed Citizens United ruling because it gives an unfair financial advantage to large corporations during our elections.

In Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that required some jurisdictions to receive federal preclearance before enacting changes to voting laws.

Since these rulings, dirty maps, dirty money and voter suppression has flooded our election system. I am devoted to working toward an election system that is open and fair for all Americans. This system must be by Americans and for Americans, free of interference from foreign adversaries who would seek to influence our elections for their own gain.

What I am Doing for You

I cosponsored, amended, and voted for H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which passed in the House. This bill makes it easier, not harder, to vote by implementing automatic voter registration, requiring early voting and vote by mail, committing Congress to reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act, and ensures the integrity of our elections by modernizing and strengthening our voting systems and ending partisan redistricting. The bill curbs big money’s influence by requiring all political organizations to disclose large donors, updating political advertisement laws for the digital age, establishing a public matching system for citizen-owned elections, and revamping the Federal Election Commission to ensure there’s a cop on the campaign finance beat. And H.R. 1 takes real action to “drain the swamp” by extending conflict-of-interest laws to the President and Vice President and requiring the release of their tax returns, closing loopholes that let former members of Congress avoid cooling-off periods for lobbying, breaking the revolving door between industry and the federal government, and establishing a code of conduct for the Supreme Court. My amendments to H.R. 1 clarified that individuals operating fake polling places or drop boxes are violating the bill’s provision making it a crime to interfere with or prevent another person from registering to vote, and put Congress on record opposing efforts to intimidate or engage in deceptive practices to dissuade students from exercising their right to vote in their college towns, while requiring schools to make voting information more accessible to students online and through social media.

I'm an original cosponsor of, I voted for, and the House passed H.R. 4the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021, to strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965 - which had been weakened by a pair of Supreme Court rulings over the course of the last decade - to  make it more difficult for states to restrict future voting access.

I introduced H.R. 1266, the Duty to Report Act, which would require federal candidates, their families, and their campaigns to inform the FBI of any efforts by a foreign power to provide dirt on the candidate's opponent. For years, America has helped protect against terrorist attacks by telling Americans, “If you see something, say something.” The same should go for protecting our elections against foreign interference. (I previously introduced this bill as H.R. 2424 in the 116th Congress.)

I introduced H.R. 1264, the Corporate Duty to Report Act, which would make it a crime for a corporation to knowingly receive funds for an independent expenditure or electioneering communication from a foreign national without reporting this to the FBI. It also would be a civil violation for a corporation which knowingly receives money to run a political communication to fail to ask whether the communication counts as an independent expenditure or electioneering and, if it is, whether the person making the disbursement is a foreign national. (I previously introduced this bill as H.R. 2853 in the 116th Congress.)

I'm an original cosponsor of H.R. 5076, the Preventing Presidential Election Interference Act, to extend the Hatch Actwhich prohibits using one’s official authority to involve oneself in a federal election - to cover the president and vice president.

I'm an original cosponsor of H.R. 2301, the Automatic Voter Registration Act, to require that states ensure anyone who provides identifying information to the state motor vehicle authority is automatically registered to vote. The bill improves on current law by shifting the burden for registering to vote from the individual to the state, ensuring that more eligible voters are able to make their voices heard.

I'm an original cosponsor of H.R. 1098, the Citizenship Empowerment Act, to require officials to provide voter registration forms in the citizenship packets provided to all newly sworn-in U.S. citizens, and let election officials set up informational tables outside naturalization ceremonies.

I'm an original cosponsor of H.R. 1059, the America Votes Act, to protect citizens who face disenfranchisement because of restrictive state voter identification laws. The bill establishes new federal protections for voters arriving at polls to affirm their identity by submitting a sworn, written statement, even if they do not have government-issued identification; voters who sign a sworn, written statement can vote using a standard – non-provisional ­­– ballot. The legislation is modeled on a successful Washington state law.

I'm an original cosponsor of H.R. 237, the Vote at Home Act of 2021, to massively expand vote-at-home ballot access, provide voters with pre-paid ballot envelopes, and enact automatic voter registration.

I cosponsored H.R. 347, the Presidential Tax Transparency Act, to require sitting presidents and vice presidents and major party candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency to publicly disclose their 10 most recent federal income tax returns.

I cosponsored H.R. 1366, the Protect the Youth Vote Act of 2021, to block the systematic efforts across the country to suppress the voices of young Americans. The bill would outline specific practices that violate the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18; provide authority for courts to retain jurisdiction in areas where they have found that a state or jurisdiction violated the 26th Amendment; let voters or the Attorney General receive preventative relief against actions that violate the 26th Amendment; require transparency on any violations of the 26th Amendment and reasonable public notice for voting changes; and allow the Attorney General authority to request federal observers where there is a serious threat of youth voter suppression.

I cosponsored H.J.Res. 1, the Democracy for All Amendment, a bipartisan constitutional amendment that essentially overrides the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case in order to get big money out of politics and restore democratic power to the American people. The amendment would affirm the right of states and the federal government to pass laws that regulate spending in elections, reversing the concentration of political influence held by the wealthiest Americans and large corporations capable of spending billions of dollars in our elections.

I cosponsored H.J.Res. 48a joint resolution proposing a "We the People" constitutional amendment providing that the rights protected by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only, and that artificial entities such as corporations shall have no rights under the Constitution.

 

In the 116th Congress:

I cosponsored and voted for H.R. 4617, the Stopping Harmful Interference in Elections for a Lasting Democracy (SHIELD) Act, which passed in the House.This bill would strengthen existing laws to protect U.S. elections against foreign interference. Specifically, it would create a duty to report illicit offers of campaign assistance from foreign governments and their agents, improve transparency of online political advertisements, close loopholes that allow foreign nationals and foreign governments to spend in U.S. elections, restrict exchanges of campaign information between candidates and foreign governments and their agents, and prohibit deceptive practices regarding voting procedures.

 

More on Campaign, Election, & Government Reform

March 4, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON DC - Yesterday, Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) joined House Democrats in passing H.R. 1, the For the People Act, a sweeping anti-corruption package to clean up Washington, protect and expand voting rights, restore integrity to government and put the needs and priorities of the American people ahead of special interests. Included in H.R. 1 are three Swalwell amendments adopted by the House that bolster election security, and improve students’ access to the polls.

February 23, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) reintroduced four bills Tuesday to ensure that future Presidents of the United States cannot perpetrate some of the same corrupt acts that President Donald Trump committed.

The bills would require candidates, campaigns, and companies to report foreign interference in U.S. elections; enhance protections for whistleblowers who come forward to expose official wrongdoing; and make it a criminal offense for the President, Vice President, or their families to enrich themselves from foreign sources.

October 27, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congresswoman Katherine Clark (MA-5), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, joined by Congressmembers Bill Pascrell Jr. (NJ-9), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), and 33 other House members, sent a letter to U.S.