On Thursday, June 28th the D.C. Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety held a public hearing on the Fair Elections Act of 2017.
Public Citizen is a founding member of the D.C. Fair Elections Coalition, which is committed to strengthening local democracy. The Fair Elections Act would establish a small-donor public financing system and effectively amplify the voices of everyday D.C. residents.
On Thursday, May 25, the Nevada legislature passed a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, becoming the 19th state to do so.
Nevada joined 18 other states that have called for a constitutional amendment -- bringing us halfway to the 38 states needed to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
After a year and a half of educating the public, building grassroots support, organizing in every Ward and endless policy discussions, our DC Fair Elections coalition just saw 9 of DC's 13 Councilmembers co-introduce, and one Councilmember co-sponsor, the Fair Elections Act of 2017, which would limit special interest influence in District elections and restore balance of power to everyday residents.
“I have come to the conclusion that democracy in
government is a case of too many cooks (bad cooks) spoiling the broth.” According to Zachary Roth’s book, The Great Suppression: Voting Rights,
Corporate Cash, and the Conservative Assault on Democracy, many members of
the GOP establishment agree with this view, that democracy must be limited in
order to preserve Republican party power within government.
In Breaking Big Money's Grip on America, author Bruce Berlin calls for a mass movement to overcome the threat of big money, explaining that although we may be weaker in power compared to corporations, we are mighty -- especially when we come together and strategically fight for our rights as one. Fortunately, the democracy movement Berlin calls for is already underway.
Public Citizen recently released a report investigating the donations made to candidates running for office in Washington, D.C. The report, "District Development," demonstrates that corporate interests are dominating this year's election cycle, specifically interests in the real estate and construction sectors. In addition to raising awareness about the incumbent's heavy reliance on wealthy donors and corporate interests, the report makes the case for Citizens Fair Election Program Amendment Act (B2100509), which would incentivize candidates to spend more time with the average District resident, as opposed to wealthy corporations.
As of June 15, 2016, a majority of officials in both the New York Senate and the Assembly have signed a letter urging Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's disastrous Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (FEC) and McCutcheon v. FEC decisions.
As a result, New York joined 16 other states that have called for a constitutional amendment and the legislature is the first with at least one chamber controlled by Republicans to do so -- signaling that the public's bipartisan dismay over Citizens United is finally catching up with our elected officials.
Public Citizen played a leading role in organizing Democracy Awakening, three days of a historic week and a half of actions to rescue our democracy from big money drenched elections, voter suppression and Senate obstruction around the Supreme Court vacancy. From April 11-18, thousands came from around the country – from
virtually every state in the nation – to march, rally, attend teach-ins
and engage in civil disobedience as part of the groundbreaking mobilizations in our nation's capital. The week’s actions featured what may
have been the largest civil disobedience action during this century, and
the largest democracy-focused protest in a generation.
All of the hundreds of organizations involved in the mass mobilizations agree: This is a beginning, not an end. It is the beginning of a new nationwide push for democracy reforms, involving more people, more protests and more nonviolent civil disobedience.
On December 16, 2015, activists rallied in front of the White House and brought one
million signatures, collected by Public Citizen and over 50 groups, to be delivered to President Barack Obama calling on
him to curb money in elections by issuing an executive order requiring
federal contractors to disclose their political spending. This executive order
would make a major difference in fighting the flood of secret money into
elections since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010.
A Push Towards an Executive Order: President Obama Could Take the First Step Towards Stopping Secret Corporate Election Spending
Over 50 rallies were held across the country on April 2, 2015, calling on President Barack Obama to take the first step to stop the flow of undisclosed corporate funds into our elections. Ever since the Citizens United ruling, there has been a staggering increase in the amount of election spending by anonymous sources.
If the president were to enact the executive order, corporations contracting with the U.S. government would be required to publicly disclose all of their spending in our elections. The public has a right to know if federal contractors are trying to buy influence and win special favors. Sign the petition calling on President Obama to take action.
Over the last five years one of the worst offenders attempting to buy your government has been the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is not a group of civic-minded small-business owners like your local Chamber of Commerce, or part of the federal government like the U.S. Department of Commerce. Rather, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is an extreme — and extremely well-funded — lobbying outfit that promotes government policies that help powerful corporations make even more profits. Join us at a rally on the footsteps of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on January 21 - the ruling’s fifth anniversary - as we call to overturn Citizens United.