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The State of Reform
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Download Unite America's free report analyzing the impact of four key political reforms.
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When Rep. John Sarbanes (left) led the push for HR 1, reformers knew it was part of a multi-year strategy, writes Wertheimer.

Don’t give up on HR 1. The battle lies ahead.

Wertheimer is the president of Democracy 21, which works to strengthen democracy by ensuring the integrity of our elections and more.

The House passed historic reform legislation to repair and strengthen the rules of our democracy on March 8.

HR 1 is unprecedented, holistic reform legislation to fix our broken political system. It passed on a 234-193 party line vote, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. John Sarbanes. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Tom Udall with all 46 of his Democratic and independent colleagues as sponsors.

HR 1 provides essential reforms to address what's broken in our political system — money corruption, voter suppression and discrimination, extreme partisan gerrymandering, and government ethics abuses.

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Gerrymandering and campaign finance: wrong targets for reform

Jacobson is founder and CEO of No Labels, which strives to unite people of different parties to make government work. Galston is co-founder.

Sometimes an idea is so logical and sensible that we can't let it go, no matter how often it proves not to work. Such is the case with continuous calls to end gerrymandering and to reform campaign finance laws.

Big money's corrosive effect on campaigns and gerrymandering's callous, power-grabbing distortion of neutral political maps are obvious evils that must be remedied, right? Without question, they are troubling realities that feed public cynicism about our political system. The push to reform them is well-intentioned and, on the surface, completely logical.

But a closer look reveals something strange: Powerful forces, including Congress, have tried for decades to significantly reduce money's role in politics, to little effect.

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Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act

The 2002 law that banned soft money contributions to federal candidates and national political parties. It also required candidates to declare they "approve of this message" in all their radio and television advertising. Also known as McCain-Feingold.

Read more about BCRA.

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