WASHINGTON – In a new report released today, “Our Voices, Our Democracy: Victories Since Citizens United and the Road Ahead Empowering Voters Over Wealthy Special Interests,” People For the American Way and six other national organizations leading the effort to empower voters over wealthy special interests document a national movement gaining steady momentum since the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision in Citizens United.
“Citizens United did more than usher in unprecedented outside spending – it also invigorated a national movement to ensure democracy for all that’s seen some real wins in the past six years,” said Marge Baker, executive vice president of People For the American Way. “Heading into the 2016 election, it’s critical that we continue to build on that momentum across the country.”
As the report notes: “Opportunities to reduce the influence of big money in elections are everywhere – in local towns and communities, in city halls and state legislatures, and in the White House and in Congress.”
According to the report:
- From California to South Dakota, there are more ballot initiatives in 2016 to rebalance the system so it works for voters than in any previous election cycle.
- After receiving more than one million petition signatures in support, President Obama is “seriously considering” signing an executive order to disclose political spending by federal contractors.
- Thousands of Americans organized by hundreds of organizations representing a diverse array of constituencies will pour into Washington D.C. between April 11-18 for mass civil disobedience, demonstrations, concerts, teach-ins, a rally, lobbying and more.
- More than 200,000 Americans have called on the presidential candidates to get serious about fighting big money in elections. For the first time ever, every Democratic candidate for president has publicly embraced a comprehensive plan to fight big money and many Republicans are embracing solutions of their own.
In addition to outlining a strong, coordinated plan of action that will make 2016 a critical year for ensuring a government truly of, by, and for the people, the report summarizes the range of nationwide victories building momentum for change.
According to the report:
- More than 5 million people have signed petitions urging Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn decisions like Citizens United since 2010. Moreover, sixteen states, the District of Columbia, more than 680 cities and towns, and a majority of the U.S. Senate in 2014 have called for an amendment.
- At least 23 states have enacted new disclosure rules since 2010 to ensure the public’s right to know the big donors trying to influence our elections.
- States and cities have acted to pass, defend, and strengthen citizen-funded election systems that amplify the voices of small donors, including in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland’s Montgomery County, Seattle, and Tallahassee.
The organizations that authored the report – Center for Media and Democracy, Common Cause, Demos, Every Voice, People For the American Way, Public Citizen, and U.S. PIRG – conclude, “The debate about the problem of money in politics is over. The question is not ‘if’ but ‘when and how’ we will reform our democracy. The movement for common-sense, winnable solutions is paving the way forward – to a government truly of, by, and for the people.”