On Tuesday, February 24, the Bay Area Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society in San Francisco hosted Jeff Clements for a special conversation on how to amend the Constitution and reclaim democracy from special interest groups. Five years after the Citizens United ruling, the movement to get money out of our politics is growing, but so is the threat of unchecked coporate power.
Speaker John Boehner has close ties to the American Action Network, a dark money nonprofit, and the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC. These groups raise funds from clients of lobbyists looking to increase their own influence. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Paul Blumenthal and Ryan Grim tell Huffington Post "The Inside Story Of How Citizens United Has Changed Washington Lawmaking". In this important piece, we learn the direct impact the Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling has had on the flow of money in Washington and its influence on decision making.
Blumenthal and Grim explain, "Politically active nonprofits, known as "dark money" groups for their ability to shield the identity of donors, and super PACs, which take unlimited sums of money but must disclose donors, have become dominated by lobbyists and other political operatives with close ties to leaders in Congress. Meanwhile, businesses with issues before Congress are pumping increasingly more money into the lobbyist-connected organizations."
There's a lot more to this story. Read the full article here.
Yesterday, on February 24, Chicagoans went to the polls and 80% of voters (and counting) took a stand against the corrupting influence of big money. Voters in Chicago voted "YES", in favor of small-donor focused reform that would put the power of politics back in the hands of the people.
Maine Citizens for Clean Elections aims to provide candidates with access to more cash so they can better compete with their privately financed opponents.
Maine’s secretary of state says a group hoping to strengthen the state’s clean public-financing elections law has submitted enough signatures to put its proposal to voters.
Check out this clip of Ben & Jerry's co-founder and StampStampede.org founder Ben Cohen, stamping money out of politics on CNBC.
President Obama spoke with Vox Editor-in-chief Ezra Klein on how to best reform campaign finance, amongst other topics.
On "unlimited money" in politics as a key cause of polarization, Obama said, "I would love to see some constitutional process that would allow us to actually regulate campaign spending the way we used to, and maybe even improve it."
Watch the full interview above and read more on Vox.
Ron Fein testifying before the Cambridge City Council
On February 4, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke to Georgetown University Law Center on her life and career, among many other issues of the law. In response to a question about the one decision she would reverse if she had a "magic wand", Justice Ginsburg responded it would be Citizens United. She also commented on redistricting and voter participation, and said that we need "a democracy for all."
Watch Justice Ginsburg discuss Citizens United in the clip below via C-SPAN.
Recently, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), announced new legislation to limit corporate felon's ability to influence elections. We proudly support Representative Ellison's work and acknowledge it is an important step toward undoing the damage of the Citizens United decision.
Today on Roll Call, our Legal Director, Ron Fein writes of the proposed legislation as "a bold step forward in challenging Citizens United."
Read the full article on Roll Call
Congressman Lieu Addresses California Supreme Court In Support Of The People's Right To Instruct Their Representatives
Last week, Congressman Ted Lieu of California addressed a letter to the California Supreme Court echoing support for the people's right to instruct their representatives with a ballot measure. The full text of Congressman Lieu's letter is below and available for download here.