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Seeing the most recent fundraising figures for the Democratic primary to elect our next U.S. senator to replace Sen. Barbara Mikulski ("Van Hollen raised $1.5M in second quarter," July 8) is a sobering reminder to all of us about how expensive campaigns have become. Members of Congress now have to spend most of their time raising cash, and the time they spend fundraising, and that is time that they are not able to focus on their jobs on Capitol Hill doing work on behalf of the American people.

We all know that the campaign finance system that we now have is flawed. Not only are politicians required to spend almost full-time hours fundraising but these efforts are often dwarfed by the influence of dark money going from the very richest of us into shadowy "Super PACs" and other vehicles that can spend unlimited amounts of money influencing elections as a result of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and the dysfunctional Federal Election Commission.

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Like many people throughout the country, I am frustrated by the current campaign finance system that has such a corrupting impact on our federal government and its priorities. Luckily, there are a number of strong reform bills in Congress that seek to address this issue. In the House, Maryland's own Rep. John Sarbanes has introduced a strong bill, the Government by the People Act (H.R. 20), and all of the remaining Democratic members of our Congressional delegation in the House, including Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards, have co-sponsored the legislation.

In the Senate, the Fair Elections Now Act (S.1538) works similarly, and is co-sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin. I hope Senator Mikulski will also consider signing on to this bill to show that the Maryland delegation strongly supports fundamental reform that will ensure that our government by the people will once again work for all of the people and not just the wealthiest among us.

Sean Flaim, Bethesda

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