Today on “Sandy Rios in the Morning,” Operation Save America’s Flip Benham said that the prevalence of violent crime and recent riots in cities such as Baltimore are part of God’s punishment for the legalization of abortion in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
“There’s murder everywhere,” Benham said. “Just look in Baltimore and see what’s going on there, it’s just murder, it’s chaos, it’s anarchy. God is saying, ‘Listen, you shed the blood of the most innocent baby boy or girl, you go ahead and do that, that innocent blood has a voice that cries out to God.’ And we are now under the remedial judgments of God as a nation because of almost 60 million little baby boys and girls killed since January 22, 1973.”
He also spoke with Rios about the cancellation of a planned reality TV show starring his sons Jason and David Benham after their anti-LGBT political activism came to light. Benham said that his sons thought the show “was God’s answer” but that it was “all just taken away from them” after “Right Wing Watch [and] the homosexual community” reported on their extremist record.
“Yes they monitor the show, they’re listening now, hello Right Wing Watch,” Rios said. Benham added: “They and the homosexual community, I want so much for them to be free of that homosexual bondage, I want the very best for them.”
Rios agreed and claimed that gay people, who she “wants to be restored and whole,” are really at war with the “Creator of the Earth.”
Huckabee praised the Duggar family, who took over a year to bring the matter to law enforcement, saying that they “dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities.”
He adds that Josh is a good person who “confessed his sins to those he harmed [and] sought help,” despite the fact that, according to reports, Josh did not receive counseling and was only sent to live with a family friend who worked in the home remodeling business.
“Those who have enjoyed revealing this long ago sins [sic] in order to discredit the Duggar family have actually revealed their own insensitive bloodthirst, for there was no consideration of the fact that the victims wanted this to be left in the past and ultimately a judge had the information on file destroyed—not to protect Josh, but the innocent victims.”
Sandy Rios, the American Family Association’s governmental affairs director and host of “Sandy Rios in the Morning,” spoke with Fox News pundit Todd Starnes at yesterday’s “Watchmen on the Wall” conference about the supposed danger posed by the gay rights movement.
Rios declared that the newest frontier of the gay left is the Girl Scouts, who have “initiated a new transgender policy where little boys who think they’re little girls can now be in Girl Scouts.” Starnes was equally concerned with this new nondiscrimination rule, observing that “the indoctrination” from the gay left “is in every single thing.”
“It’s in television, schools, the Scouts,” he said. “It’s in many churches now…it’s just non-stop.”
Striking fear in the hearts of parents everywhere, Rios warned, “if you are slow to catch up with this, please remember your kids are not safe in the places that they join: the clubs, the schools, the homes they visit. These are dangerous times and you’re going to have to really step up and guard your children.”
She added that she has started confronting Girl Scouts who are selling cookies to tell them “what Girl Scouting is all about now.”
“Your kids are not safe in the places that they join, the clubs, the schools, the homes they visit,” Rios added. “These are dangerous times and you are going to have to have to really step up and guard your children.”
Rios explained that the “ultimate goal” of the “radical gay left” is to “deconstruct the family” by breaking down “every barrier when it comes to sexuality...so that we have absolute sexual chaos.” This is an undisputed truth that “goes way back to Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto,” she said.
Starnes concluded that “when you look at the overwhelming evidence out there, there is something afoot. There is something going on in the public school system where there is some sort of radical indoctrination underway. And it’s not just in the big cities. We’re looking at something happening like this in Bentonville, Arkansas. Small towns, big towns, North, South, it’s happening all over.”
Also speaking yesterday was End Times author Joel Rosenberg, who repeated to the crowd his frequent warning that God’s judgment on America is imminent thanks to legal abortion, which he says is far worse than the crimes perpetrated by Nazi Germany.
“What if America is not simply in a season of decline, but we’re facing implosion?” he asked.
“My friends, we are not in a season of decline,” he declared. “I argue to you that judgment is coming. In another couple of years, if this doesn’t stop, we will hit 60 million abortions. If we hit 60 million abortions, we as Americans will have murdered 10 times more human beings than the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis. We know the judgment that fell on Nazi Germany, the devastation. We believe it was justified. My friends, what do we think is going to happen to a nation that murders 10 times more people? Judgment is coming and there’s no way out. The train has left the station.”
He added that the “only hope at this point” would be a third Great Awakening, in which case God might delay his judgment as Americans “make reforms based on the word of God.”
“Robert Gates, shame on you for not having the moral courage to do what is right,” Graham said, calling on followers to threaten to leave the Boy Scouts if they go ahead in “bending to LGBT activist groups” and “put young, innocent boys at risk.”
Another conservative commentator, Paul Kengor, told WorldNetDaily that Gates’s announcement “torched” the scout oath. “When not even the Boy Scouts have courage anymore,” he warned, “America can rest in peace.”
Paul Kengor, a professor of political science and author of “Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage,” warned the latest triumph by activists is a testament to the effectiveness of political terror.
In an interview with WND, Kengor said it’s “really a shame about the Boy Scouts.”
“Their oath forever has been about obeying God and being physically and morally straight and strong. It’s their motto. That has been torched,” he said.
“They’ve caved to the forces of ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity’ who relentlessly picket and harass and attack and sue and scream at and demonize and dehumanize and destroy those who disagree with their completely new configurations of marriage, family, sexuality, and even morality itself.”
The Boy Scouts have shown themselves to be just as craven as all the other organizations that the gay-marriage brigades target,” Kengor charged. “When not even the Boy Scouts have courage anymore, America can rest in peace.”
The entertainment magazine In Touch reported this week on police records that they say reveal that Josh Duggar, the eldest son of reality TV’s Duggar family and executive director of the anti-gay Family Research Council’s political wing, as a minor was turned in to the police by his father for “fondling” girls, likely his sisters, while they were asleep.
According to reports, Jim Bob Duggar waited nearly a year to report his son’s actions to the authorities, while Michelle Duggar said that Josh did not receive counseling for the incidents, as they told their church’s leadership, but instead was instead was sent to live with a family friend. It appears that the only consequence was that he had to apologize and received a “very stern talk” from a state trooper.
Duggar’s group, the Family Research Council, regularly paints the LGBT community as a precariousthreattochildren, and he and his family have participated in that rhetoric.
Last December, Duggar led a successful campaign to defeat a LGBT nondiscrimination measure in Fayetteville, Arkansas, which he said jeopardized the safety of children during an interview on the FRC radio program “Washington Watch”:
Michelle Duggar also ran a robocall pushing for the repeal of the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance, which she warned would empower “child predators” to threaten “the safety and innocence of a child.”
Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends," Josh, 27, tells PEOPLE in a statement. "I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life."
Josh has resigned from his position at the Family Research Council as a result of the accusations becoming public, but his family has stood behind him.
"Back 12 years ago our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives," Jim Bob, 49, and Michelle, 48, said in a joint statement. "When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes, and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before."
Their statement continues, "Even though we would never choose to go through something so terrible, each one of our family members drew closer to God. We pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family. We have challenges and struggles everyday. It is one of the reasons we treasure our faith so much because God's kindness and goodness and forgiveness are extended to us – even though we are so undeserving. We hope somehow the story of our journey – the good times and the difficult times – cause you to see the kindness of God and learn that He can bring you through anything."
"I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions," says Josh. "I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God's grace, mercy and redemption."
Several months ago, fact-checkers completelydebunked one of Rick Santorum’s talking points, that all of the net new jobs created in the U.S. since 2000 went to immigrants. However, just because the contention has absolutely no factual basis, doesn’t mean the former senator and likely presidential candidate has stopped making the claim.
Not only did Santorum push the patently false claim, he then blamed Democrats for the mythicalproblem of immigrants stealing 6 million jobs from U.S. workers.
“The sad part is that the Democratic Party that used to be the party of working people have now sold their souls because they have read the polls and they realize the more people they can bring into this country, the higher percentage of votes they’re going to get,” Santorum said. “So they’re for unlimited immigration. Why? Because they’re going to get a high percentage of those votes, that’s what they care about. They care about workers who see their wages depressed and opportunities scarce? No. No they’ve long abandoned working men and women.”
Larry Pratt, the far-right conspiracy theorist executive director of Gun Owners of America, who will be hosting a presidential campaign call with Sen. Ted Cruz next week, claimed last month that President Obama has “made it very clear he doesn’t like the United States” and that “he thinks that Christianity is at best on par with jihad.”
Pratt told fringe conservative commentator Stuart Vener that Obama ”doesn’t like people speaking against the dirt bag Muhammad like I just did, he thinks that that is a name to be revered, he thinks that Christianity at best is on par with jihad.”
Agreeing with Vener’s claim that Obama “wants to take everyone’s guns away,” Pratt hailed former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani for “speaking the truth” when he alleged that the president doesn’t love America.
Denouncing Islam as a “extremely murderous, extremely violent” religion, Pratt praises the Europeans who finally “got themselves together” during the Crusades to get “rid of the Muslim dirt bags”.
We’d also like to note that the cohost for Vener’s show, “Stuart Vener Tells It Like It Is!,” is a genie.
David Fowler of the Family Action Council of Tennessee made a similar acknowledgment while speaking to Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch,” where the two were discussing a new Tennessee law establishing “a 48-hour waiting period and in-person counseling before a pregnant person can receive abortion care.”
Fowler said that he hopes that Tennessee lawmakers will now enact even tougher anti-choice regulations, such as an ultrasound requirement, as part of his campaign to close Planned Parenthood clinics in the state, particularly one in Memphis.
He told Perkins he wants the Memphis clinic shut down because it has “become an abortion destination" for women from other states like Mississippi, where it has become difficult to find an abortion provider.
“You can actually see some of those [clinics] shut down,” Perkins said.
“You could,” Fowler replied. “Because we didn’t have informed consent laws, waiting period laws, clinic regulations, Memphis in particular did become a hub because states like Mississippi and Arkansas had strong laws. That was part of our argument, we’ve become an abortion destination.”
“We might see some of those places close and good riddance,” Fowler added.
Yesterday on “Washington Watch,” a caller told host Tony Perkins that both the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts “are done” as organizations because of policies that he perceived as too accepting of gay people.
Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, responded by lamenting that the Boy Scouts have been “infected with political correctness” and “moved away from their moral standard of being morally straight and clean and moving into open homosexuality.”
Pointing to the Boy Scouts’ years-long ban on water-gun fights, which only recently became a source of right-wing outrage, Perkins said that “the Boy Scouts are unfortunately becoming a thing of the past.”
“Unfortunately, the Left is not stopping with the Boy Scouts, they are trying to do the same thing to our nation’s military as well,” Perkins added. “It’s a sad commentary because it’s what I call the emasculation of our culture, or the feminizing of our culture, making boys soft. You cannot survive as a culture, you have to have warriors, you have to have a subculture that’s a warrior culture, that’s just a reality, and that’s being dismantled, one organization, one piece at a time.”
The right-wing media has begun stoking outrage about a speech that Vanita Gupta, acting head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, gave in Denver this week, in which she pointed out that the mistrust of police seen in places like Ferguson and Baltimore is “in part the product of historical awareness about the role that police have played in enforcing and perpetuating slavery, the Black Codes, lynchings and Jim Crow segregation.”
Hans von Spakovsky, the Bush-era Justice Department attorney who now uses his post at the Heritage Foundation to raise the alarm about supposed widespread “voter fraud,” is among those who were terribly offended by Gupta’s remarks. In an interview with Indiana talk radio host Greg Garrison yesterday, von Spakovsky said Gupta’s comments were ridiculous because slavery ended 150 years ago and in any case the United States abolished slavery “long before it disappeared in Africa.”
“Yeah, the people who intentionally and knowingly went out and lit fires and broke windows and looted, they’re doing that because of a practice that ended, what, 150 years ago, slavery, something they’ve never experienced. No, that’s the reasons for that, not intentional wrong behavior,” he said sarcastically, falsely implying that Gupta was excusing violence and arson.
“But you can get a liberal to buy that stuff because it puts them where they want to be, it gives them a reason to be mad at the white guy, to be mad at the country,” Garrison interjected, adding that liberals love “besmirching the founding fathers” even though “most of them got rid of [their slaves] and it was over in 70 years.”
“Of course, you realize what they don’t ever want to talk about, the fact that slavery was an institution in Africa,” von Spakovsky continued. “Tribes there enslaved other tribes, tribes there actually made huge amounts of money in the slave trade, and we actually, I think, got rid of it long before it disappeared in Africa.”
“It was the United States [that] declared slavery and fought a war to stop it,” Garrison agreed. “Nobody else did that. I didn’t see Africa doing that!”
“Wouldn’t it be fun to be a liberal, where you didn’t have to have any connection, where you didn’t have to have any historical perspective and you could just sort of make stuff up as you went along?” Garrison added.
Pat Robertson’s “The 700 Club” today profiled right-wing fears about the U.S. military’s Jade Helm 15 exercise, a conspiracy theory that reporter Jennifer Wishon blamed on “the fact that a vast majority of Americans simply don’t trust the government, a level of mistrust that has peaked under the Obama administration, driven by what many believe to be violations of the Constitution and civil liberties.”
“At first, people were not sure what to think: Do we have to worry about martial law? Is our federal government coming in and gonna practice imposing martial law on Texas?” Gohmert told Wishon. “This is actually taking areas of our home country, the United States, and saying Texas is hostile, Utah is hostile, Southern California is hostile and we’ve got to take it back from the ‘hostiles.’ I find that incredibly offensive.”
After explaining that the Jade Helm 15 map looks a bit too much like the electoral college results from the 2012 election, Gohmert blamed the whole right-wing freak-out on Obama: “When my own commander-in-chief through his subordinates is just fine with, for games purposes, declaring an enemy of two or more of your states, I got a real problem with that, that is one of the most insensitive, outrageous things that a military commader could do.”
Gohmert’s conspiracy theory, as well as being unhinged, isn’t even internally consistent, as the Jade Helm map lists the blue state of New Mexico as “leaning hostile” and the red state of Arizona as “leaning friendly.”
Wellington Boone will also speak at the event, even though he once told the audience at another FRC conference that he wishes he could call people “faggots.” At a 2006 event featuring FRC President Tony Perkins and Mitt Romney, Boone delivered a speech about the dangers of an island full of “sodomites,” defending laws making homosexuality a crime punished by the death penalty.
Matt Bevin, the Tea Party favorite who unsuccessfully challenged Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell in the 2014 Republican primary, is now leading in a tight race for the Republican nomination for governor. An early count has Bevin ahead by 83 votes after Tuesday's primary election, making it possible that he will become the newest GOP standard-bearer in the state.
While this is great news for the Tea Party, whom Bevin calls the new abolitionists and civil rights leaders, and for Glenn Beck, who thinks Bevin is a “founder quality” candidate, who has been “ called by God” for public office, it’s less good news for everyone else. One McConnell aide said that if Bevin, a political novice, were to become governor, “his only agenda would be the commissioning of his portrait.” But his record shows that he might have quite a bit more on his plate:
Anti-Contraception Stance Bevin won the endorsement of the extreme anti-choice group Northern Kentucky Right to Life last year after he said in a questionnaire that he would support a “personhood” amendment to the Constitution — which would ban all abortion and even some common forms of birth control — and work to prohibit Medicaid funding for birth control pills.
Health Care Extremism Bevin is such an opponent of the Affordable Care Act that he has vowed to reverse Kentucky’s expansion of Medicaid under the law, a move that would take away the health insurance of 400,000 people. Kentucky has been one of the greatest success stories of Obamacare, experiencing what NPR calls “second-steepest drop in uninsured of any state.”
Cockfighting Bevin got plenty of negative publicity in his last campaign when it came to light that he had once spoken at a rally organized in support of legalizing cockfighting. Bevin later explained that while he opposes “animal cruelty” he supports “states’ rights” more. A Republican strategist told the New York Times that he expects the cockfighting issue to come up a lot in the general election should Bevin secure the nomination.
Gun Owners of America, the radical gun group that bills itself as far to the right of the NRA, announced in an email to its members yesterday that it will be holding a series of “tele-town hall meetings” with Republican presidential candidates in order to vet the candidates on their gun-law orthodoxy. The “first of several” calls, to be held next week, will feature Sen. Ted Cruz, a favorite of GOA’s executive director Larry Pratt.
In response, People For the American Way President Michael Keegan released the following statement:
“Pandering to Larry Pratt – who believes President Obama is trying to ‘commandeer the military’ and agrees that Obama is ‘definitely capable of something as evil’ as leading black Americans to massacre white Americans – is beyond the pale, even for Ted Cruz.
“No one who aspires to be president of the United States should be willing to dignify the violent, bigoted record of someone like Larry Pratt. Cruz should pull out of this event immediately, and we’ll be paying close attention to see if other GOP candidates join these tele-town halls to appeal to the most extreme elements of their party’s base.”
Background on Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt:
History with radical militia movement
Was forced to step down from a position on Pat Buchanan’s 1996 presidential campaign when it came to light that he had spoken at a militia event featuring a number of neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic activists. Was influential in the formation of the militia movement in the 1990s.
Gun Owners of America, the radical and influential gun group that boasts that it is far to the right of the NRA, announced in an email to its members yesterday that it will be holding a series of “tele-town hall meetings” with Republican presidential candidates in order to vet the candidates on their gun-law orthodoxy.
The “first of several” calls, to be held next week, will feature Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a clear favorite of Gun Owners of America’s executive director, Larry Pratt.
While it’s unclear which other GOP candidates have agreed to participate in GOA’s calls, it’s disturbing that any have agreed to associate themselves with the far-right group and with Pratt.
Pratt has long stood at the intersection of the “mainstream” right, Christian nationalists, and fringe militia movements. In 1996, he was forced to step down from a position on Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaign when it came to light that he had spoken at a militia event featuring a number of neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic activists. Several years earlier, Pratt had coauthored what the Southern Poverty Law Center calls the book that “introduced the concept of citizen militias to the radical right.”
A few days after the Oklahoma City bombing, he spoke to a far-right “Christian Patriots” group on the “biblical mandate to arm,” telling them that whoever had taken on the government “beast” in Oklahoma knew that “they can’t rely on the Lord to take vengeance.”
Pratt continues to promote an anti-government paranoia, urging citizens to arm themselves against a repressive government and make their elected officials fear assassination.
In an interview last year, Pratt said that being afraid of assassination was “a healthy fear” for members of Congress to have, because that’s what makes them “behave.” When Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, who had felt threatened by one of GOA’s members, complained about his comments, Pratt doubled down, saying that elected officials should fear “the cartridge box” and accusing the congresswoman of being “foolish” and having “a hissy fit.” Later, he boasted that Democratic proponents of stricter gun laws are “afraid of getting shot and they ought to be!”
Pratt repeatedly suggests that President Obama will seek to bring violence against white Christians, possibly in the form of race riots. In a 2013 conversation with far-right pundit Stan Solomon, Pratt predicted that “there is inevitably going to be some kind of social implosion, some kind of neighbor-against-neighbor” violence brought about by “these folks in power.” When Solomon predicted that that “implosion” would take the form of a race war pitting “black, Muslim and/or atheist…have-nots” on “Christian, heterosexual white haves,” Pratt replied that he wasn’t “stretching” anything.
In a separate interview, Pratt agreed with Solomon that Obama “would definitely be capable of something as evil” as raising what Solomon called “a black force” to massacre white Americans. Pratt later denied that their conversation had anything to do with race, insisting that it was really about ninjas, but said that such a racial massacre was “something that the president wouldn’t mind seeing.” Pratt holds that this race war will then allow Obama and Hillary Clinton to “build their own communist society” in the race war’s wreckage.
Pratt’s reaction to recent protests of police brutality and racial inequality have taken a similar tone. Earlier this month, he suggested that there would be no problems in Baltimore if armed citizens had simply shot dead anyone who rioted; in 2013, he blamed Trayvon Martin’s death on the teen’s “broken family.” On his radio program last year, he mused that “the African from Africa” is generally “a very happy person” and could therefore “approach some of their fellow blacks” in America to teach them to exhibit less “surliness.”
Michael Savage warned his listeners on Tuesday about President Obama’s “grand strategy for stealing America in 2016 and giving it to the bowling pin,” which he said involves fomenting a devastating race war in which gang members “intimidate” and “frighten you not to vote.”
“You have Satan in the White House,” Savage said, or, rather, shouted. “You have an absolute fork-tongued Satan every day in every way trying to bring the country to its knees, trying to turn black against white, white against black, Americans against the police, everyday Satan does it.”
Savage said that he is simply trying to save us all from death at Obama’s hands: “I see the country on fire. I see the man with the matches and the lighter fuel and I see him playing with the lighter fuel and the matches every day and I’m standing here like a fireman screaming, ‘Fire in the theater!’ Get the child out of the White House. He is going to set the nation on fire like he set the world on fire. Stop him before he kills all of us.”
“And if you think I’m paranoid then you’re really sick or you are stoned on medical marijuana and you don’t know what the hell you’re doing yourself,” he added for good measure.
Earlier this year, the Republican National Committee teamed up with the American Family Association and the American Renewal Project to take dozens of RNC committeemen on a trip to Israel. The trip stoked controversy because of the radical track record of the AFA and its then-spokesman Bryan Fischer, particularly his claims that gay people are to blame for the Holocaust, that Jewish Americans shouldn’t have equal constitutional rights and that Jewish immigrants should be required to convert to Christianity.
Just as radical is the head of the American Renewal Project, David Lane, whose brand of Christian Nationalism views the separation of church and state, LGBT equality and religious pluralism as dangers, calling on conservative Christians to “wage war” against these supposed threats.
The RNC’s official faith-outreach arm is now working with Lane to hold a training session at today’s Southern Republican Leadership Conference:
As we’ve reported, Lane isn’t just your everyday conservative activist, but has extreme views about how gay rights will lead to terrorist attacks and America’s “utter destruction.” He has also lashed out at prominent Republican leaders who support gay rights and attacked Mitt Romney for worshiping the “false god of Mormonism.”
Favorably quoted a Christian author who said that “same-sex marriage practiced universally is suicide. To survive gays and lesbians are parasites, depending for their cultural survival on couples that birth the next generation.”
Explained why homosexuality is a threat to freedom: “Homosexuality is debauchery. God’s loyalty and fidelity — that guard the nation — make sustainable freedom dependent on seeking virtue.”
Predicted that homosexuality will lead to the destruction of America: “Homosexual desire and marriage is unnatural and — more so — is a symptom of advanced cultural decay and precursor to the collapse of the Republican Party and the nation.... The mark of a decadent society is the exaltation and normalization of sin — which leads to the death.”
Compared Republicans who support marriage equality to politicians who backed slavery in the run-up to the Civil War.
Called the separation of church and state a “lie” and a “fabricated whopper” used to stop “Christian America – the moral majority – from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning and pagan media.”
Congratulated a pastor for exposing Mitt Romney’s belief in the “false god of Mormonism” during the 2012 GOP primaries.
Lamented that the “‘religion of secularism’ has produced red ink as far as the eye can see, homosexuals praying at the Inauguration, tax-funded abortion, homosexual marriage in several States, Evangelicals held in contempt, and God expelled from the classrooms of America — and the public square.”
We can now count Concerned Women for America among the groups that wants Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse herself from the marriage cases at the Supreme Court because she has officiated weddings for gay couples.
CWA's president, Penny Nance, sent out a fundraising email this morning with the subject line “Ruth Traitor Ginsburg,” the treason in question apparently being Ginsburg’s officiating at a gay couple’s wedding this weekend.
This week PFAW staff joined members of the Arkansas Democracy Coalition to kick off a 2016 ballot initiative campaign to increase disclosure in election spending and support a constitutional amendment to overturn Supreme Court cases like Citizens United. The series of events, including a performance showcasing the story of legendary campaign finance activist Doris “Granny D” Haddock and a march for democracy through downtown Little Rock, culminated with a press conference on the steps of the state capitol building.
Speakers included Paul Spencer of Regnat Populus, a convening organization of the Arkansas Democracy coalition; Rep. Clarke Tucker, a member of the Arkansas state legislature; Rhana Bazzini, an 83-year-old woman who has marched hundreds of miles in the tradition of Granny D to promote campaign finance reform; and Rio Tazewell, the Government By the People campaign coordinator at People For the American Way.
The Arkansas Democracy Coalition, in partnership with PFAW and other national allies, has submitted ballot language awaiting approval by the Arkansas Attorney General. Upon approval, a signature gathering campaign will launch to collect the 70,000 names needed to get the resolution on the ballot. If passed, the resolution would make Arkansas the 17th state on record in support of an amendment to get big money out of politics.