Government By the People

On Citizens United Anniversary, PFAW Calls on President Obama to Issue Executive Order on Secret Money in Politics

PFAW: Everyone from Justice Scalia to Leader Pelosi Understands the Essential Role of Disclosure

WASHINGTON – Today marks the sixth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which paved the way for unlimited corporate political spending to influence elections. Also this week, The New York Times reported that President Obama is “seriously considering” an executive order requiring companies with federal contracts to disclose their political spending. People For the American Way (PFAW) Executive Vice President Marge Baker released the following statement:

“The anniversary of a decision that unleashed a torrent of secret money into our elections is the perfect moment to take a look at the solutions in front of us that would help repair our democracy.

“President Obama shouldn’t wait another day to take action. He should pick up his pen and issue an executive order on secret money, and allow Americans to see which corporations are trying to buy political influence.

“Even the conservative Supreme Court majority that issued the disastrous Citizens United decision emphasized the importance of disclosure. The Citizens United Court actually upheld a disclosure requirement, explaining that ‘transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions.’ Everyone from Justice Scalia to Leader Pelosi understands the essential role that disclosure plays in an effective campaign finance system. It’s a commonsense action that would be a significant step forward for transparency and accountability in our democracy.”

PFAW has been actively involved in the campaign for an executive order, collecting nearly 100,000 petition signatures in support of such an action. In December, PFAW joined ally organizations in delivering one million signatures to the White House urging the president to issue an executive order on secret money.

PFAW is also one of the leading organizations pushing for a constitutional amendment to overturn decisions like Citizens United. To date, 16 states and more than 680 cities and towns have officially called for an amendment to get big money out of politics. President Obama, as well as all of the Democratic presidential candidates, have expressed their support for an amendment.

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Statement from Marge Baker on State of the Union Address

In his last State of the Union address tonight, President Obama said that we need "to reduce the influence of money in our politics, so that a handful of families or hidden interests can’t bankroll our elections.” In response, People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker released the following statement:

“Highlighting the problem of big money in politics in his final State of the Union address was not only the right thing to do, it's also completely in line with the beliefs of Americans. Voters are hungry for a democracy where the voices of everyday people aren't drowned out by an endless deluge of money from wealthy special interests.

“But the president can do more than highlight the problem. He can create real change with just the stroke of his pen, by issuing an executive order requiring companies with government contracts to disclose their political spending.

“Time is running out for the president to define his legacy on money in politics. Will he go down in history as a president who helped expose secret money in our democracy, or as one whose inspiring rhetoric wasn’t backed up by action?”

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New Hampshire House Votes Down Bill on Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

PFAW New Hampshire Organizer: Elected Officials Failed to Carry Out the Will of the People

Today, after initially voting in favor of the measure, the New Hampshire House ultimately voted against S.B. 136, a bill in support of a constitutional amendment to overturn decisions like Citizens United and allow lawmakers to set reasonable limits on money in elections. In March 2015, the bill was passed unanimously in the state Senate.

“Today our elected officials failed to represent the 72 percent of Granite Staters who oppose the Citizens United decision,” said Lindsay Jakows, New Hampshire Campaign Organizer with People For the American Way (PFAW). “Instead, opponents of the measure used extraordinary procedural tactics to kill the bill after it had already passed. This was a miscarriage of democracy. But make no mistake: Granite Staters are paying attention, and care deeply about this issue. On Election Day, voters will remember which representatives stood on the side of reform and which stood on the side of wealthy special interests."

People For the American Way has been working with ally groups to organize residents to speak out in favor of S.B. 136, including by encouraging New Hampshire PFAW activists to call their representatives and urge them to support the bill.

Support for overturning decisions like Citizens United is strong both in New Hampshire and across the country. Local activism has pushed 69 towns in New Hampshire to pass resolutions in support of an amendment, more than a dozen of which passed in 2015 alone. Sixteen other states have already officially called for an amendment. A national Bloomberg Politics poll released in September found that 78 percent of Americans believe the Citizens United decision should be overturned.

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New Hampshire Activists Lead Money in Politics Demonstration Outside Democratic Debate

Local Activists Called on Candidates to Talk About How They Would Implement Plans to Fight Big Money and Corporate Influence in Politics

Manchester, NH – On Saturday evening local activists demonstrated outside of the Democratic primary debate at Saint Anselm College urging the candidates to talk to voters about their plans to fight big money and undue corporate influence in politics.

The demonstration was organized by People For the American Way, New Hampshire Rebellion, and the American Friends Service Committee NH Program. All of the Democratic candidates have endorsed a range of reform measures aimed at getting big money out of elections. At the event, local activists urged the candidates to take action in their first 100 days as president on this issue, if elected.

“Getting big money out of politics is a top issue for Granite Staters and people across the country,” said Lindsay Jakows, People For the American Way’s New Hampshire Campaign Organizer. “Championing reform measures on the campaign trail is not only the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do.”

“While we appreciate the hopeful statements on campaign finance reform from Sec. Clinton, Gov. O'Malley, and Sen. Sanders, we wanted to hear more discussion of what these candidates will do in their first 100 days in office to end this corruption of our democracy,” said Brian Beihl, deputy director of the campaign finance reform advocacy group, NH Rebellion. “Republican candidates must do the same in their upcoming debates, because the anger about Big Money corruption is palpable among both party loyalists and independents.”

“Regular people don’t have the kind of money that giant corporations spend to get their way. That is why people have to stand up and make their voices heard – even on a cold winter night in New Hampshire,” said Eric Zulaski of the American Friends Service Committee’s Governing Under the Influence campaign.

A recent nationwide poll from the New York Times and CBS News found that eighty-five percent of Americans believe that our country’s campaign finance system needs either “fundamental changes” or to be “completely rebuil[t].”

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Charles Koch To Support Candidates Who Support His “Right” to Buy Elections

In an interview released last week with Susan Peters of KAKE-TV, the ABC affiliate in Wichita, Kansas, Charles Koch shared his top factor in supporting 2016 candidates:

Koch said, “The number one thing I would look at in supporting anyone in politics: Are they for the first amendment? Are they for freedom of speech?”

“So, do you consider your donations freedom of speech?” [Peters] asked.

“Absolutely, they are,” he said.

That the number one criteria of a man whose network plans to spend hundreds of millions on next year’s elections is whether they are “for the First Amendment” – that is, a radical reinterpretation of the First Amendment to prohibit Americans from effectively addressing the corrosive effect of money on our democracy – speaks volumes about the way the power of those already on top is preserved and expanded in our country. Koch, one of the wealthiest people in the country, already holds unparalleled influence in politics through the extraordinary sums of money flooding our elections from the Koch-led network, Koch Industries, and the Kochs themselves. And now, Koch’s top priority for whether he will bankroll future candidates is, in effect, whether they support his ability to continue to spend unlimited sums of money to buy elections.

This exchange is Exhibit A on the extent to which our campaign finance system is utterly broken. With our lawmakers unable to set commonsense limits on money in elections in the wake of decisions like Citizens United, Charles Koch is free to pour unlimited amounts of cash into our democracy. And he’s free to make a condition of his financial support a commitment to perpetuating that broken system.

It’s no wonder that 85 percent of Americans think we need a complete overhaul of our country’s campaign finance system. Without it, a handful of billionaires can continue to set the agenda for all of us – even when it’s an agenda targeting the rights and interests of most Americans.

PFAW

Standing United Against Harmful Policy Riders

People For the American Way proudly stands with them and is an active member of the nearly 200-strong anti-riders coalition. PFAW is also among women's health advocates pushing back against riders. Please join us by signing our clean budget petition.
PFAW

North Carolina Nonprofit Exec Produces Animated Video to Raise Awareness About Big Money in Politics

Video Show How Easy it is for Big Money to Influence Politics and the Importance of Reversing Decisions like Citizens United

WASHINGTON – A group of diabolical animated villains is secretly gathering to use big money to influence politics in this week’s winning video in the Democracy For All Video Challenge, which encourages people to speak out in support of a constitutional amendment to get big money out of politics. The Democracy For All Video Challenge, spearheaded by Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way, selects a different best video every week from submissions made by people across the country.

The video, “Voters, assemble!” was created by Bryan Warner – a nonprofit communications director from Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina – and uses animation to depict a secret meeting between a group of villains who are plotting to influence politics by using big money. The video illustrates how easy it is for corporations and special interest groups to buy their way into Washington and influence policy in their favor.

This week’s winner was the final weekly winner in the competition. All of the videos submitted during the 14-weeks of the contest will now be judged by a panel that includes Michael Moore, Academy Award-winning filmmaker; Norman Lear, legendary television producer and founder of People For the American Way; and Kathleen Turner, advocate and Academy Award-nominated actress; and Dolores Huerta, civil rights activist and cofounder of United Farm Workers. The grand prize winner, who will receive $25,000, will be announced Dec. 16. In addition, five best in category videos will be awarded $5,000 each.

“For the past several years, I've been involved in work around campaign finance reform and voting rights here in North Carolina,” said Warner. “I think the impact of big money is a serious threat to the integrity of American elections. It's great to see so many people participating with these videos and uniting in an effort to protect our democracy.”

The video can be viewed at http://democracyforall.com/entries/voters-assemble. All of the winning videos to-date are available to view at www.democracyforall.com/winners. People can enter the video challenge by submitting 30-90 second videos between now and Dec. 2. Full details are available at www.DemocracyForAll.com.

“The use of animation in Bryan’s video to depict the impact of big money in politics and the need for a constitutional amendment was innovative and delivered the message loud and clear,” said Jeff Haggin, president of Say No To Big Money which created the video challenge. “We are hoping these videos will prompt Americans to let their representatives know they support the Democracy For All amendment.”

The Democracy For All Video Challenge was created by Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way to tap into the creative potential of people in the United States who support a constitutional amendment that would allow for reasonable limits to be set on money in elections. A panel of judges selects the most impactful videos with $1,000 being awarded to the best video each week. At the conclusion of the video challenge, five best in category videos will be awarded $5,000 each, with $25,000 being awarded to the best overall video. Rather than hire an advertising agency to produce the spots, the sponsor organizations developed the Video Challenge to enable the true voice of Americans to be heard and give people across the country a chance to earn money for their efforts.

The Democracy For All Amendment, currently being considered by Congress with 142 cosponsors in the House and 41 supporters in the Senate, would overturn decisions such as Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court case that paved the way for unlimited political spending by corporations and the super wealthy. 

People For the American Way (PFAW) is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American. That means equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American Way. Our vision is a vibrantly diverse democratic society in which everyone is treated equally under the law, given the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams, and encouraged to participate in our nation’s civic and political life. More information is available at www.PFAW.org.

Say No To Big Money is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation for the public benefit with the mission of supporting the ratification of the Democracy For All Amendment that will regulate campaign contributions. Say No To Big Money is nonpartisan and does not promote or take sides on any political issues nor endorse candidates or elections. More information is available at www.SayNoToBigMoney.com.

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Washington Comics Create Viral Video Featuring Ice Cream Icons Ben & Jerry to Raise Awareness About Big Money in Politics

Video Urges People to Take Action and Express Their Opinions about Reversing Decisions like Citizens United

WASHINGTON – What does it take for a video to go viral? Comedians Lee Camp and Negin Farsad have created a viral video about viral videos in an effort to educate Americans about what happens when big money mixes with politics. The video was this week’s winner in the Democracy For All Video Challenge, which encourages people to speak out in support of a constitutional amendment to get big money out of politics. The Democracy For All Video Challenge, spearheaded by Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way, selects a different best video every week from submissions made by people across the country.

The video, created by comedians Lee Camp and Negin Farsad, pokes fun at what it takes for a video to go viral, showing everything from a cute kitten and baby to an exploding soda bottle, with guest appearances including ice cream icons Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (better known as Ben & Jerry) and Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation. The underlying message is the importance of preserving our democracy and removing big money from politics.

All 14 of the weekly winning videos will be judged by a panel that includes Michael Moore, Academy Award-winning filmmaker; Norman Lear, legendary television producer and founder of People For the American Way; and Kathleen Turner, advocate and Academy Award-nominated actress. The grand prize winner will be announced Dec. 16.

"Money in politics is one of the most crucial issues of our time,” said Camp. “Everything you and I care about comes back to money in politics; we must change this system before it's too late."

The video can be viewed at http://democracyforall.com/entries/its-viral-the-movement-to-overturn-citizens-united-swamps-the-internet/. All of the winning videos to-date are available to view at www.democracyforall.com/winners. People can enter the video challenge by submitting 30-90 second videos between now and Dec. 2. Full details are available at www.DemocracyForAll.com.

“We felt the concept of creating a viral video about viral videos was very original,” said Jeff Haggin, president of Say No To Big Money which created the video challenge. “Online videos have become a way for people to receive information and form opinions about important issues of the day, and we are hoping to embrace this to inform the American public about the importance of passing the Democracy For All amendment.”

The Democracy For All Video Challenge was created by Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way to tap into the creative potential of people in the United States who support a constitutional amendment that would allow for reasonable limits to be set on money in elections. A panel of judges selects the most impactful videos with $1,000 being awarded to the best video each week. At the conclusion of the video challenge, five best in category videos will be awarded $5,000 each, with $25,000 being awarded to the best overall video. Rather than hire an advertising agency to produce the spots, the sponsor organizations developed the Video Challenge to enable the true voice of Americans to be heard and give people across the country a chance to earn money for their efforts.

The Democracy For All Amendment, currently being considered by Congress with 140 cosponsors in the House and 41 supporters in the Senate, would overturn decisions such as Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court case that paved the way for unlimited political spending by corporations and the super wealthy. 

People For the American Way (PFAW) is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American. That means equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American Way. Our vision is a vibrantly diverse democratic society in which everyone is treated equally under the law, given the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams, and encouraged to participate in our nation’s civic and political life. More information is available at www.PFAW.org.

Say No To Big Money is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation for the public benefit with the mission of supporting the ratification of the Democracy For All Amendment that will regulate campaign contributions. Say No To Big Money is nonpartisan and does not promote or take sides on any political issues nor endorse candidates or elections. More information is available at www.SayNoToBigMoney.com.

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Clean Elections Win in Connecticut Shows Power of Movement to Fight Big Money

Following an outcry from a range of local and national leaders, including PFAW president Michael Keegan, Connecticut legislators withdrew a plan yesterday that would have cut funding for the state’s clean elections law.

Connecticut’s landmark program is a model for the country, one that has allowed people to run for office and become elected officials even if they don’t have access to special interest money or wealthy backers. When the proposed attack on clean elections was announced, the pushback was swift. A cohort of young Connecticut lawmakers, many of whom are members of affiliate People For the American Way Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network, spoke out against the proposal in a letter. They highlighted the clean election program’s success in allowing young people to compete in the state’s elections “based on policy positions and ideas” rather than “who has access to the biggest donors.” PFAW members in Connecticut made calls to their state legislators and asked them to reject any plan to undermine clean elections. State groups like Common Cause Connecticut and ConnPIRG rallied against it, and former Gov. Jodi Rell, who signed the landmark reform into law, spoke out against attempts to “turn aside” the program “many of us worked so hard to put in place to prevent political corruption scandals.”

That the proposal was withdrawn after just three days is a win not only for the state of Connecticut, but for the national movement to fight big money in politics. From clean elections victories in Seattle and Maine earlier this month to yesterday’s win in Connecticut, it’s clear that policies to help lessen the influence of big money in politics are popular, valued, and people will fight for them.

PFAW

PFAW Statement on Sanders Plan to Fight Big Money in Politics

WASHINGTON – Sen. Bernie Sanders has released an agenda for addressing the influx of big money in our democracy. His plan outlines reform measures including a constitutional amendment to overturn decisions like Citizens United and Buckley v. Valeo, small donor public financing, and increased transparency in political spending. His agenda also includes measures to strengthen voting rights, such as expanding early voting and restoring the protections of the Voting Rights Act, which were gutted by the Supreme Court’s Shelby County decision in 2013.

People For the American Way president Michael Keegan issued the following statement:

“Bernie Sanders has been consistently speaking out about the problem of big money in politics throughout his campaign, and he should be commended for releasing a plan highlighting the solutions.

“Americans are of one mind on the issue of money in politics. Across the board, voters think Citizens United should be overturned and want to see elected leaders put policies in place to fix our broken campaign finance system. Sanders should be applauded for putting the issue front and center in his campaign.”

Sanders’ plan includes numerous policies outlined in the “Fighting Big Money” agenda, a comprehensive platform that People For the American Way and 12 other organizations released in July and have called on every candidate to endorse and prioritize.

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Young Elected Officials in Connecticut Push Back Against Proposed Attack on the State’s Clean Elections Law

PFAW Statement in Support of the Legislators Fighting to Protect Clean Elections

This week the Connecticut state legislature proposed a budget that would suspend the state’s clean election law, widely viewed as a model for public financing. In 2014, 74 percent of candidates participated in the state’s clean elections program.

A cohort of young Democratic legislators in Connecticut, several of whom are members of affiliate People For the American Way Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network, are pushing back against the proposal. In a letter, the legislators said the proposal would cause “irreparable damage” to Connecticut’s election process, which in the past has allowed “regular people (and especially young people) to compete based on policy positions and ideas, not who has access to the biggest donors.”

People For the American Way president Michael Keegan released the following statement:

“We stand with the legislators pushing back against the proposed attack on Connecticut’s model clean elections law. The law has helped people without access to big money from wealthy special interests to run for office and become elected leaders in the state.

“Across the board, Americans are calling for solutions to the big money takeover of our democracy, but this proposal does just the opposite. We support the efforts of the young elected officials fighting to protect clean elections in Connecticut.”

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Fed Up Americans Create Online Videos Calling to Overturn Citizens United and Get Big Money Out of Politics

Academy Award-Winning Filmmaker Michael Moore, Television Legend Norman Lear, and Academy Award-Nominated Actress Kathleen Turner Join Judging Panel to Award $50,000 to Best Submissions

WASHINGTON – With the 2016 presidential election around the corner, the issue of money in politics is once again coming front and center as Americans express their concern over an election where spending could hit $10 billion. Two advocacy organizations, Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way, have partnered to encourage Americans to produce public service announcements expressing their discontent about the role of big money in politics and calling for an amendment to overturn decisions like Citizens United.

The Democracy For All Video Challenge was created to tap into the creative potential of Americans who support a constitutional amendment that allows for reasonable limits to be set on money in elections. A panel of judges awards $1,000 to the best video submitted every week for 14 weeks. Then, from the field of all contest entries, five best in category videos will be awarded $5,000 each (dramatic, creative, student, funniest, original song), with $25,000 being awarded to the best overall video. The contest started August 12 and aspiring producers can enter the video challenge by submitting a 30-90 second video before Dec. 2. Full details are available at www.DemocracyForAll.com/contest.

“Instead of hiring an advertising agency to produce spots promoting campaign finance reform, we decided to enable the true voice of Americans to be heard and give people across the country a chance to earn money for their efforts,” said Jeff Haggin, president of Say No To Big Money.

Judging the final videos will be Michael Moore, Academy Award-winning filmmaker; Norman Lear, legendary television producer and founder of People For the American Way; Kathleen Turner, advocate and Academy Award-nominated actress; Dolores Huerta, civil rights activist and cofounder of United Farm Workers; Kelly Nyks, award-winning documentary filmmaker; Stacey Reiss, Emmy Award-winning television news producer; and Ginna Green, managing director for money in politics and fair courts at nonprofit communications firm ReThink Media.

“There’s nothing better than storytelling for entertaining and informing at the same time,” said Lear. “You don’t need access to a whole production studio today – just a camera and computer. I absolutely love the creativity we’re getting from people from all walks of life. They’re making the case for overturning Citizens United in ways I would never have dreamed of.”

The Democracy For All Amendment, currently being considered by Congress with 140 cosponsors in the House and 41 supporters in the Senate, would overturn cases such as Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court case that paved the way for unlimited political spending by corporations and the super wealthy. 

People For the American Way (PFAW) is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American. That means equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American Way. Our vision is a vibrantly diverse democratic society in which everyone is treated equally under the law, given the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams, and encouraged to participate in our nation’s civic and political life. More information is available at www.PFAW.org.

Say No To Big Money is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation for the public benefit with the mission of supporting the ratification of the Democracy For All Amendment that will regulate campaign contributions. Say No To Big Money is nonpartisan and does not promote or take sides on any political issues nor endorse candidates or elections. More information is available at www.SayNoToBigMoney.com.

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Los Angeles Filmmaker Spoofs “Most Interesting Man” Commercials in Online Video to Raise Awareness About Big Money in Politics

Video Encourages People to Take Action and Contact Their Local Representatives in Support of Reversing Decisions like Citizens United

WASHINGTON – The “Most Interesting Man” may drink Dos Equis, but the “Most Influential Man” aims to show Americans what happens when big money mixes with politics. An independent filmmaker in Los Angeles was this week’s winner in the Democracy For All Video Challenge, which encourages people to speak out on big money in politics. The Democracy For All Video Challenge, spearheaded by Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way, selects a different best video every week from submissions made by people across the country.

The video, created by Otto Penzato, spoofs the popular “Most Interesting Man” commercials for Dos Equis beer by showing the “Most Influential Man” who controls politics through money. The video aims to show Americans how big money influences politics and threatens democracy.

“As I looked at all the big problems facing this country – climate change, income inequality, environmental protection, banking regulation and on and on – I saw that the obstacle to solving these problems was structural; who are our decision makers listening to,” said Penzato. “The singular obstacle is the issue of big money in politics.”

The video can be viewed at http://democracyforall.com/entries/the-most-influential-man-in-america_02. All of the winning videos to-date are available to view at www.democracyforall.com/winners. People can enter the video challenge by submitting 30-90 second videos between now and Dec. 2. Full details are available at www.DemocracyForAll.com.

 “This video is a great example of using pop culture to illustrate an important point,” said Jeff Haggin, president of Say No To Big Money which created the video challenge. “Otto has created an impactful video that is both entertaining and also conveys a very serious message that will hopefully encourage others to take action.”

The Democracy For All Video Challenge was created by Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way to tap into the creative potential of people in the United States who support a constitutional amendment that would allow for reasonable limits to be set on money in elections. A panel of judges selects the most impactful videos with $1,000 being awarded to the best video each week. At the conclusion of the video challenge, five best in category videos will be awarded $5,000 each, with $25,000 being awarded to the best overall video. Rather than hire an advertising agency to produce the spots, the sponsor organizations developed the Video Challenge to enable the true voice of Americans to be heard and give people across the country a chance to earn money for their efforts.

The Democracy For All Amendment, currently being considered by Congress with 140 cosponsors in the House and 41 supporters in the Senate, would overturn decisions such as Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court case that paved the way for unlimited political spending by corporations and the super wealthy. 

People For the American Way (PFAW) is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American. That means equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American Way. Our vision is a vibrantly diverse democratic society in which everyone is treated equally under the law, given the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams, and encouraged to participate in our nation’s civic and political life. More information is available at www.PFAW.org.

Say No To Big Money is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation for the public benefit with the mission of supporting the ratification of the Democracy For All Amendment that will regulate campaign contributions. Say No To Big Money is nonpartisan and does not promote or take sides on any political issues nor endorse candidates or elections. More information is available at www.SayNoToBigMoney.com.

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Koch Communications Officer Delivers Spin to St. Anselm’s College, Activists Call Out #KochProblem

koch visibility event

It’s not just secret money and front groups for the Koch Brothers this election season. Sometimes, the Kochs are up front in their attempts to sell their toxic agenda — like when they decide to send Koch Industries Chief Communication and Marketing Officer, Steve Lombardo, to St. Anselm’s Institute of Politics to pitch a softer side of Koch.

A group of about 10 activists from People For the American Way and Granite State Progress gathered Tuesday outside the Institute of Politics to hold signs that read “#KOCH PROBLEM” and “PR Stunt” — among other messages.

The event was brazenly titled, “Beyond the Political Spin: How Koch is is Driving Freedom, Fairness and Prosperity."

The Kochs — no strangers to attempting to buy support at college campuses through stipulations about hiring and coursework — are planning on spending up to $900 million in this year’s election cycle through their secretive network of organizations.

When asked if the Kochs will acknowledge that the candidates they back are beholden to them, Lombardo failed to explain a difference between other forms of “crony capitalism” the Kochs like to decry and the political work done by the Koch network.

Question: “In a recent interview with the Wichita Eagle, Charles Koch claimed that politicians are ‘beholden to corporations and cronies who get them re-elected’ and deemed this ‘welfare for the wealthy.’ The Koch network has poured millions of dollars into our political system—do the Kochs agree that the candidates they back are beholden to them?”

Lombardo: “Yeah, that’s a great question. I’m going to answer it the way Charles has recently answered that. And that is – beholden is the wrong word. Charles is frustrated right now, to be honest with you, he’s very frustrated that a lot of the candidates that the network that he’s a part of, along with a lot of other donors, hundreds of donors, thousands…have not done a lot of things that they said they were going to do, okay. And he’s quite frankly very frustrated and we have not at this point in time, supporting any presidential candidate. And Mr. Koch believes- is worried right now that none of them are going to do what they say they’re going to do.  So the folks that we supported in 2014 frankly a lot of them have not lived up to the things that I’ve been talking about in terms of fighting corporate welfare, in terms of supporting criminal justice reform among other things. Beholden is wrong. We all, everybody who votes for someone or contributes money to them, contributes $5 — you’re hoping that they’re gonna do what they said they were gonna do. Now if you call that beholden you can call that beholden, but to me, it’s I give $5 to a candidate because I think — they said they were gonna do something, and I go ‘wow, I agree with that, I want them to do that, I’m giving them $5.’ Now you can call that beholden, or $500 million or whatever it might be…I don’t think it’s the same way but we are expecting them to do the things they say they were gonna do, and frankly a lot of them aren’t.”

The Kochs clearly expect a lot in return for the amount they’re spending on politics — so yes, the candidates that they back are beholden to them, and much more so than they would be to any small donor.  Downplaying their own effectiveness doesn’t change the fact that they are blatantly attempting to buy influence, with their network expected to spend as much as, or more than, either political party.

PFAW

Psychology Student from Brooklyn Uses Online Video to Reason with Americans About the Dangers of Big Money in Politics

Video Claims More People Believe in Witchcraft than Support the Citizens United Decision

WASHINGTON – A 21-year-old psychology student from Brooklyn was this week’s winner in the Democracy For All Video Challenge, which encourages people to speak out on big money in politics. The Democracy For All Video Challenge, spearheaded by Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way, selects a different best video every week from submissions made by people across the country.

The video, created by Kyu Nakama, uses paper models to explain the need for a constitutional amendment that would allow lawmakers to set reasonable limits on money in elections.

“Video gives people a voice and can be used as a catalyst for change and making the world we live in a better place, one story at a time,” said Nakama. “This contest is a great way to tell the story of the growing distance between democracy and the people; hopefully it will help encourage people to voice their own opinions and understand that change is always possible.” 

The video can be viewed at http://www.democracyforall.com/entries/democracy-for-all-3. All of the winning videos to-date are available to view at www.democracyforall.com/winners. People can enter the video challenge by submitting 30-90 second videos between now and Dec. 2. Full details are available at www.DemocracyForAll.com.

“College students have always been among the most vocal groups, speaking out for the causes in which they believe and Kyu’s video is a great example of that passion,” said Jeff Haggin, president of Say No To Big Money which created the video challenge. “This video very simply communicates the problem, why it is important and what needs to be done to make our democracy stronger.”

The Democracy For All Video Challenge was created by Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way to tap into the creative potential of people in the United States who support a constitutional amendment that would allow for reasonable limits to be set on money in elections. A panel of judges selects the most impactful videos with $1,000 being awarded to the best video each week. At the conclusion of the video challenge, five best in category videos will be awarded $5,000 each, with $25,000 being awarded to the best overall video. Rather than hire an advertising agency to produce the spots, the sponsor organizations developed the Video Challenge to enable the true voice of Americans to be heard and give people across the country a chance to earn money for their efforts.

The Democracy For All Amendment, currently being considered by Congress with 138 cosponsors in the House and 41 supporters in the Senate, would overturn decisions such as Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court case that paved the way for unlimited political spending by corporations and the super wealthy. 

People For the American Way (PFAW) is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American. That means equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American Way. Our vision is a vibrantly diverse democratic society in which everyone is treated equally under the law, given the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams, and encouraged to participate in our nation’s civic and political life. More information is available at www.PFAW.org.

Say No To Big Money is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation for the public benefit with the mission of supporting the ratification of the Democracy For All Amendment that will regulate campaign contributions. Say No To Big Money is nonpartisan and does not promote or take sides on any political issues nor endorse candidates or elections. More information is available at www.SayNoToBigMoney.com.

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Americans Across the Nation Vote to Get Big Money Out of Politics

Maine and Seattle Voters Approve Reform Measures

WASHINGTON – Yesterday voters in Maine and Seattle approved reform measures aimed at reducing the influence of big money in elections. In Maine, voters passed a ballot initiative to strengthen the state’s clean elections system, increase transparency in political spending, and increase penalties for violations of campaign finance laws. Seattle voters passed an initiative that, among other measures, implements a first-in-the-country “democracy vouchers” system allowing voters to donate money to any participating candidate, aimed at giving candidates an incentive to put more focus on everyday voters and less focus on wealthy donors.

“We already knew that Americans care deeply about getting big money out of elections, and yesterday’s victories showed that voters are taking it upon themselves to make real progress in our cities and states,” said Marge Baker, executive vice president at People For the American Way. “Voters are frustrated with the big money takeover of our democracy, and they’re channeling that frustration into action. The victories yesterday in Maine and Seattle should remind people across the country that change is indeed possible on money in politics.”

In recent weeks, PFAW hasmobilized our activists in Maine and Seattle to engage in this fight, encouraging them to both vote themselves and to help turn others out to the polls.

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Washington, DC Comedian and Stay-at-Home Dad Enlists the Help of Infant Daughter to Protest Big Money in Politics

Viral Video Encourages Americans to Take Action and Support Democracy For All Movement

WASHINGTON – Washington, D.C.-based comedian and stay-at-home dad Matt Dundas knows no one can resist a cute baby, and, with the help of his irresistible baby daughter, won best viral video of the week in the Democracy For All Video Challenge, which encourages people to speak out on big money in politics. The Democracy For All Video Challenge, spearheaded by Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way, selects a different best video every week from submissions made by people across the country.

The video created by Dundas, “Money in Politics is Out of Control,” shows the comedian pleading with Americans to support campaign finance reform and to fight against big money in politics while holding his adorable 5-month-old daughter in a baby carrier strapped to his body.

“This is the most important issue in America right now,” said Dundas. “While other issues might be more important substantively, no progress seems possible on those issues until we solve how our elected officials are motivated and influenced. I want my daughter to grow up in a true democracy governed by people that represent the people’s interests, not special interests.”

The video can be viewed at http://democracyforall.com/entries/money-in-politics-is-out-of-control. All of the winning videos to-date are available to view at www.democracyforall.com/winners. People can enter the video challenge by submitting 30-90 second videos between now and Dec. 2. Full details are available at www.DemocracyForAll.com.

“Despite Matt’s video being humorous, it communicates a very serious concern among the people of this country who want equal representation,” said Jeff Haggin, president of Say No To Big Money which created the video challenge. “And those of us, like Matt, who are parents want our children to grow up in a country that will give them fair representation and the ability to lead successful lives.”

The Democracy For All Video Challenge was created by Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way to tap into the creative potential of people in the United States who support a constitutional amendment that would allow for reasonable limits to be set on money in elections. A panel of judges selects the most impactful videos with $1,000 being awarded to the best video each week. At the conclusion of the video challenge, five best in category videos will be awarded $5,000 each, with $25,000 being awarded to the best overall video. Rather than hire an advertising agency to produce the spots, the sponsor organizations developed the Video Challenge to enable the true voice of Americans to be heard and give people across the country a chance to earn money for their efforts.

The Democracy For All Amendment, currently being considered by Congress with 138 cosponsors in the House and 41 supporters in the Senate, would overturn decisions such as Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court case that paved the way for unlimited political spending by corporations and the super wealthy. 

People For the American Way (PFAW) is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American. That means equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American Way. Our vision is a vibrantly diverse democratic society in which everyone is treated equally under the law, given the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams, and encouraged to participate in our nation’s civic and political life. More information is available at www.PFAW.org.

Say No To Big Money is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation for the public benefit with the mission of supporting the ratification of the Democracy For All Amendment that will regulate campaign contributions. Say No To Big Money is nonpartisan and does not promote or take sides on any political issues nor endorse candidates or elections. More information is available at www.SayNoToBigMoney.com.

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Coalition Nearly 200-Strong Takes a Stand and Says "NO" to Harmful Policy Riders

Far-right members of Congress take a dislike to something, say . . . the critical reproductive and preventive healthcare services offered by Planned Parenthood, and they write a line or two into an appropriations bill that says that government money cannot be used for that purpose. All kinds of programs and laws are subject to this kind of indirect assault: Just prohibit any money from being spent on it.
PFAW

Los Angeles Marketing Professional Creates Video Spoof About the Dangers of Big Money in Politics to Support Campaign Finance Reform

Democracy For All Video Challenge Gives Americans Platform to Protest Billions of Dollars Spent on Elections

WASHINGTON – The effect of money on politics is powerfully and entertainingly presented in a viral video spoof making its way around the Internet as part of an online video competition encouraging people to express their views on big money in politics. The Democracy For All Video Challenge, spearheaded by Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way, selects a different best video every week from submissions made by people across the country.

The video, “War on Democracy,” was created and produced by Clarke Watson, a native of Colorado Springs, CO now living in Los Angeles. The 90-second spot is a farcical version of the anti-drug campaign that told Americans “this is your brain… this is your brain on drugs” while showing an egg being fried. The video is meant to depict how average Americans no longer have a say in politics because of the impact of big money on the political process.

“I had kind of given up on politics until recently,” said Watson. “I’ve become re-energized now with the upcoming presidential election, which is why I feel resolving the issue of money in politics is paramount to our country being able to move forward in a way that truly embraces the democratic principles on which this country was founded.”

The video can be viewed at http://democracyforall.com/entries/the-war-on-democracy. All of the winning videos to-date are available to view at www.democracyforall.com/winners. People can enter the video challenge by submitting 30-90 second videos between now and Dec. 2. Full details are available at www.DemocracyForAll.com.

“Our objective with this video challenge is to get people across the country to express their frustration with the political process and their inability to have a fair say in government,” said Jeff Haggin, president of Say No To Big Money which created the video challenge. “This is a call to action for people to let their representatives know they object to the imbalance of influence that exists today.”

The Democracy For All Video Challenge was created by Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way to tap into the creative potential of people in the United States who support a constitutional amendment that would allow for reasonable limits to be set on money in elections. A panel of judges selects the most impactful videos with $1,000 being awarded to the best video each week. At the conclusion of the video challenge, five best in category videos will be awarded $5,000 each, with $25,000 being awarded to the best overall video. Rather than hire an advertising agency to produce the spots, the sponsor organizations developed the Video Challenge to enable the true voice of Americans to be heard and give people across the country a chance to earn money for their efforts.

The Democracy For All Amendment, currently being considered by Congress with 138 cosponsors in the House and 41 supporters in the Senate, would overturn decisions such as Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court case that paved the way for unlimited political spending by corporations and the super wealthy. 

People For the American Way (PFAW) is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American. That means equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American Way. Our vision is a vibrantly diverse democratic society in which everyone is treated equally under the law, given the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams, and encouraged to participate in our nation’s civic and political life. More information is available at www.PFAW.org.

Say No To Big Money is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation for the public benefit with the mission of supporting the ratification of the Democracy For All Amendment that will regulate campaign contributions. Say No To Big Money is nonpartisan and does not promote or take sides on any political issues nor endorse candidates or elections. More information is available at www.SayNoToBigMoney.com.

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