By: Joshua Jamerson
MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED House Democratic candidates are delivering an open letter to lawmakers Thursday declaring that, if they win control of the chamber in November, they plan to make campaign-finance legislation a priority even over such issues as infrastructure and health care.
The letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Wall Street Journal, comes as voters across the political spectrum say that reducing the influence of special interests and corruption in Washington is a top issue—a sentiment backed up by recent polling.
The letter was coordinated by End Citizens United, a liberal political-action committee, and while it offers wide-ranging themes rather than specific proposals, it is a reminder to party leaders that potential new additions to their ranks may pull the legislative agenda in a different direction.
ONE OF THE LETTER’S 107 SIGNATORIES is Democrat Elissa Slotkin, a top Pentagon official during the Obama administration who is challenging Rep. Mike Bishop (R., Mich.) in a suburban Detroit district.
“This was just basically sending as strong a signal as we could as candidates to the members who are currently in to say that we need to take on these issues upon the new Congress coming in,” Ms. Slotkin said. She has consistently outraised Mr. Bishop; the race is rated a toss-up by the Cook Political Report.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters Wednesday that the Democrats are gearing up to make a government overhaul package the first bill Democrats bring to the floor should they retake the majority.
The overhaul legislation some Democrats are tentatively calling “H.R. 1” is three-pronged: imposing greater oversight on lobbyists, strengthening voting rights—including a measure that would create a national automatic voter registration system—and forcing greater transparency on donations to politically active organizations, including super PACs.
Democratic aides acknowledge that their legislative hopes will likely be dashed by a Republican-controlled Senate, should the GOP keep control of that chamber, as well as President Trump.
“Hoyer and Pelosi have been measuring the drapes for years now only to come away empty-handed,” said Jesse Hunt, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP’s campaign arm. “Premature plans to grind the House to screeching halt will only bolster Republican efforts to hold the House.