Unity Statement of Principles: Solutions to the Undue Influence of Money in Politics

Original Post: http://www.getmoneyoutaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/UnityStatementSigners0116.pdf

The following is a statement of principles endorsed by 131 organizations in support of a wide range of solutions to the undue influence of big money in politics. Coming together to protect our fundamental democratic values, this is the largest collection of groups ever aligned behind such an extensive set of policy solutions to the money in politics challenge.

Each reform measure is an integral part of the solution, together working to build the type of democracy Americans want to live in.

Unity Statement of Principles

Solutions to the Undue Influence of Money in Politics

Democracy requires a commitment to self‐government passed from one generation to the next. We recognize our obligation to preserve our representative democracy as our way of resolving reasonable disagreements on public policy. Like generations before us, we come together as citizens setting aside policy differences and uniting to preserve our democracy, so that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from this Earth. We stand united in support of a comprehensive set of public policies that recognizes the people as the ultimate check on the corrosive influence of money in politics that is eroding the very foundation of self‐government.

This Unity Statement of Principles reflects policies already working in many parts of the country to ensure a democracy where everyone participates and everyone’s voice is heard; where everyone knows who is buying influence in our elections and government; and where politicians play by common sense rules and are held accountable with enforceable penalties to deter bad behavior.

1. Everyone participates: In a democracy, everyone should have a voice in the decisions affecting their lives. Our system of funding elections should not privilege any particular interest, nor suppress the voices of others. We need to provide incentives that encourage the active participation of small donors in our elections so candidates are accountable to, and dependent on, the people, not moneyed interests.

2. Everyone’s voice is heard: Our democracy is based on the principle of one person, one vote—not one dollar, one vote. From equal access to the ballot box to the right not to be silenced by big money, democracy requires we recognize each other as equals in the political process. When elected representatives only hear the policy preferences of the very rich it distorts government’s responsiveness to the people. We need limits on using money in politics so our democracy doesn’t just respond to wealthy and corporate interests but responds to the needs of the people.

3. Everyone knows: Voters have the right to know who is trying to influence our views and gain improper influence over our representatives. We need effective disclosure requirements for the use of money at all levels of government because transparency is a foundation for accountability.

4. Everyone plays by common sense rules: Access to and influence over our elected representatives should not be determined by the size of your wallet. We must overturn the effects of cases like Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC and reclaim our Constitution to empower people to adopt common sense rules to stop the improper influence of big money on our government.

5. Everyone is held accountable: We need a fair and accessible elections system so our elected officials will be responsive and accountable to the people. This requires the FEC, IRS, SEC, FCC, and state agencies to enforce our laws so those who break them face real consequences that deter bad behavior.

Signers as of January 16, 2015

 350 Colorado
 ActivUs
 Alliance for a Just Society
 American Association of University Women (AAUW)
 American Family Voices
 American Sustainable Business Council
 Appalachian Coalition for Just and Sustainable Communities
 Asian Americans Advancing Justice
 Ben & Jerry’s
 Bend the Arc Jewish Action
 Boston Common Asset Management
 Brave New Films
 Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
 BridgeRoots
 Center for Effective Government
 Center For Environmental Health
 Center for Media and Democracy
 Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists
 Center for Science in the Public Interest
 Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
 Chicago Democratic Socialists of America
 Christopher Reynolds Foundation
 Citizen Works
 Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
 Co-operate Colorado
 Coffee Party USA
 Common Cause
 Communications Workers of America
 Community Organizations in Action
 Conference of Major Superiors
 Constitutional Accountability Center
 Corporate Accountability International
 Courage Campaign
 Cow Hollow Fund at San Francisco Foundation
 CT Citizen Action Group (CCAG)
 Daily Kos
 Democracy 21
 Democracy for America
 Democracy Matters
 Democracy Matters – UPenn Chapter
 Demos
 Eco-Justice Ministries
 Endangered Species Coalition
 Energy and Policy Institute
 Environment Texas
 Ethical Markets Media
 Every Voice
 Fair Share
 Food & Water Watch
 Franciscan Action Network
 Free Speech For People
 Friends of the Earth
 Government Accountability Project
 Green Party Alliance at USF
 Greenpeace
 Harrington Investments
 Illinois Democratic Women
 Illinois Right to Know GMO
 Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
 Investor Voice
 Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
 Issue One
 Jobs With Justice
 Justice Party USA
 Kansas Values Institute
 League of Conservation Voters
 Left Action
 LocalHarvest
 Metro Denver
 Missionary Oblates JPIC
 Money Out Voters In
 MoveOn.org
 MOVI Wisconsin
 National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
 National LGBTQ Task Force
 National People’s Action Campaign
 National Women’s Political Caucus
 Natural Resources Defense Council
 NCLR Action Fund
 NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
 New Progressive Alliance
 Newground Social Investment
 North Carolina Voters for Clean Elections Coalition
 NorthStar Asset Management, Inc.
 Northwest Side Housing Center
 OurTime.org
 Pax World Management LLC
 Pay to Play
 People Demanding Action
 People For the American Way
 People’s Email Network
 Piper Fund
 Progress Florida
 Progress Texas
 Progressive Change Campaign Committee
 Progressive Democrats of America
 Public Campaign
 Public Citizen
 Purdue NORML
 Represent.Us
 ReThink Media
 Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network
 RootsAction
 Say No To Big Money
 Sierra Club
 Sisters of Mercy – Institute Justice Team
 Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
 Social Equity Group
 Stamp Stampede
 State Innovation Exchange (SiX)
 Story of Stuff
 Temple Political Science Society
 The Main Street Alliance
 The Other 98%
 UConn Students for Sensible Drug Policy
 Unitarian Universalist Association
 United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
 Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk, U.S. Province
 USAction
 Vermont PIRG
 Voices for Progress
 WAmend
 Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
 Women Donors Network
 Working America
 Young Democratic Socialists
 Zevin Asset Management, LLC

MEDIA RELEASE: Money Out Voters In Wisconsin Coalition to Lobby Madison Capitol on 5th Anniversary of Citizens United

For Immediate Release                                                           January 19, 2015

Coalition to Lobby Madison Capitol on 5th Anniversary of Citizens United

Assemblywoman Lisa Subeck to introduce bill to amend the U.S. Constitution

Press Conference at 9:00 a.m.


Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, (608) 255-4260, cell: (608) 695-7368

Peter Skopec, WISPIRG, (608) 268-1566; cell: (847) 687-7229

MADISON, WI:  The Money Out, Voters In – Wisconsin coalition will be holding a press conference at 9:00 a.m. this Wed, Jan. 21, in the Assembly Parlor of the State Capitol Building to kick off a day of lobbying to get money out of politics.

Jan. 21 is the fifth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC, which said that corporations, unions and other associations could give unlimited amounts of money to try to elect candidates of their choice so long as they don’t coordinate their activities with their chosen candidates.

“The Supreme Court, in its Citizens United decision, opened the floodgates, and our democracy is drowning,” says Matt Rothschild, the executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. “Here in Wisconsin, we’ve seen the consequences, as the Koch brothers, and Gogebic Taconite, and the school privatizers are throwing their weight around as never before.”

“Five years after Citizens United, big money is speaking louder than ever before – but the good news is that our leaders can take immediate steps to reduce its influence and empower ordinary voters,” says Peter Skopec, WISPIRG Campaigns Director. “State lawmakers should lower, not increase campaign contribution limits, and make coordination between outside groups and candidates explicitly illegal. They should empower small donors by matching small contributions with limited public funds. And they should maintain the Government Accountability Board’s independent oversight powers, rather than take us back to the days of ineffective, partisan-appointed monitoring that failed Wisconsin in the past.”

On Wed, Jan. 21, State Assemblywoman Lisa Subeck will be introducing a bill to create an advisory referendum on the November 2016 ballot asking whether Wisconsin’s congressional delegation should support, and the Wisconsin Legislature should ratify, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution stating that: “1. Only human beings—not corporations, unions, nonprofit organizations, or similar associations—are endowed with constitutional rights, and 2. Money is not speech, and therefore limiting political contributions and spending is not equivalent to restricting political speech.”

Rep. Subeck will be at the 9:00 press conference.

The Money Out, Voters In Wisconsin coalition believes that in a democracy everyone should have the ability to participate meaningfully, and that everyone’s voice should be heard, and that everyone should know who is buying influence in our elections and government. We believe in common-sense rules to ensure democracy, and one of those rules, which we need to put into the U.S. Constitution, is that a corporation is not a person.

The Money Out, Voters In Coalition- Wisconsin is a joint effort of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, WISPIRG, People For the American Way, United Wisconsin, Wisconsin Farmers Union, Center for Media and Democracy, South Central Wisconsin Move To Amend, Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups, Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans, Citizen Action Wisconsin, AFT- Wisconsin, National Association of Social Workers – Wisconsin Chapter, United Council of UW Students, Midwest Environmental Advocates, 9 to 5, Madison Teachers Inc., Move to Amend of Southeast Wisconsin, Chippewa Valley Move to Amend, Move to Amend Rock River, Lake Mills Move to Amend, Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, Reedsburg Area Concerned Citizens, Wisconsin Grassroots Network, Madison Area Urban Ministry, Madison MoveOn, Peace Action Wisconsin, Sierra Club – John Muir Chapter, Door County Environmental Council, SouthWest Wisconsin Area Progressives, One Wisconsin Now, Progressive Dane, South Central Federation of Labor, Teaching Assistants’ Association, and Wisconsin Wave.