Ten years ago today, the Supreme Court shocked the nation with a ruling that declared legislation limiting campaign spending by corporations, unions, and nonprofits violated the first amendment. Since that calamitous decision to allow unrestricted political spending, we’ve witnessed the most expensive decade of American elections and the degradation of the average voter’s political power. The 2010 decision was the final nail in the coffin … Continue reading A Decade After Citizens United: Big Money Wins, Voters Lose
As 2019 comes to a close, let’s take a moment to look back at the major events that impacted the state of the economy – and the national conversation around our three core issues – as we enter the new year, and the many policy developments this year that are giving us hope for better, brighter decade to come.
When Floridians voted yes on Amendment 4 last year, they spoke loud and clear: 65% voted to restore voting rights for Floridians who completed a felony sentence (except for felony sex crimes and murder), opening the door for over 1.5 million disenfranchised Floridians to regain their voting rights. But on Wednesday, the Florida House passed a measure requiring those with felony convictions to pay up … Continue reading Florida Republicans Are Bringing Back Poll Taxes
There is no amount of money that equals the worth of a human life. This should be the preface to every debate we have about our gun laws in this country, and the only afterword to every mass shooting. It is what we should remind ourselves of, shamefully, when our government does absolutely nothing to stop the next shooting because of the stranglehold that the … Continue reading Campaign Finance Reform Will Literally Save Lives
This blog is one in a series on HR 1, the For The People Act. Corporate Spending on Elections As their first order of business, House Democrats introduced HR 1 as soon as the new 2019 Congress came into session. An anti-corruption, pro-democracy reform bill, the For The People Act is aimed at improving our democracy for all Americans by limiting the corrupting influence of … Continue reading What’s in HR 1? Corporate Spending on Elections
As their first order of business, House Democrats introduced HR 1 as soon as the new 2019 Congress came into session. An anti-corruption, pro-democracy reform bill, the For The People Act is aimed at improving our democracy for all Americans by limiting the corrupting influence of money in politics and making voting easier, not harder. Today, it passed in the House without any Republican support. … Continue reading House Dems Votes “Yes” on HR 1, the For The People Act
This week, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) announced she would not attend private fundraisers or one-on-one meetings with big donors. In doing so, she is declining to participate in a traditional avenue of fundraising, potentially crippling her campaign’s ability to raise money from the start. But in doing so, she is making a powerful statement that is likely to reverberate throughout the Democratic primary: the time … Continue reading Sen. Elizabeth Warren Says No To Private Meetings with Big Donors
In the two months after Republicans introduced the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), their massive tax overhaul in 2017, millionaires and billionaires “dramatically boosted” their political donations, contributing over $31 million in 60 days. This is just one the latest examples of the corrupting influence of money in politics. While it makes sense that if a member of Congress shares one’s views, that person … Continue reading Our Democracy Needs Fixing
This week, Senator Mitch McConnell authored a piece in the Washington Post where he falsely portrayed HR 1, the House Democrat’s sweeping anti-corruption, pro-democracy reform bill, as a partisan attack on political freedom. In the process, McConnell revealed just how little he or his Republican colleagues actually care about the core tenets of our democracy, and how blatantly he’s willing to lie to preserve whatever … Continue reading Why is Senator Mitch McConnell Against Improving Our Democracy?
This week marks the ninth anniversary of the Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (FEC) ruling. In the 5-4 decision on January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court drastically altered the influence of money in American politics, and absolutely none of it for the good. (Check out last year’s blog for an in-depth recap of the case.) Ultimately, that ruling in Citizens United’s favor decided that … Continue reading HR 1 Is the Campaign Finance Reform We’ve Been Waiting For
Recently, Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told the New York Times that she was having a hard time finding an apartment in Washington DC, in part because she will not be receiving any salary until she is sworn in as a member of Congress in January. Beyond the issue of Washington rent being, frankly, out of control, this brings up the real issue of how most Americans … Continue reading Public Offices Need to be More Accessible to Working Class Candidates
With so many scandals taking place in Congress these days it’s hard to keep tabs on every instance of misconduct, but it’s important not to ignore the less salacious scandals like the ongoing campaign finance complaints against Utah Rep. Mia Love. Love, who is running for a third term, is being accused by the Alliance for a Better Utah of raising nearly $1.1 million for … Continue reading Campaign Finance Investigation into Rep. Mia Love is Ongoing
With all the talk surrounding money in politics, little attention has been paid to how this issue limits the candidate pool. Essentially, we are seeing now more than ever the devastating results of money in politics in the form of limiting the ability of potential candidates to afford running for office. There have been many reports on how expensive elections have become, but few have … Continue reading Who Should Run for Office?
The mayor of Mount Vernon, NY, a city of around 70,000 citizens just north of New York City, has been charged with several felonies, essentially for stealing money from his own campaign committee. Mayor Richard Thomas also spent tens of thousands of dollars raised for his inauguration on personal expenses, but that is apparently not illegal. New York State law clearly prohibits using money raised … Continue reading Elected Officials and Outside Income — Not a Good Match
The separation of church and state in our country’s federal and state governments is one of the most appealing aspects of our democracy. Without it, millions of Americans would be forced to follow legislation created with their neighbor’s God in mind, and church donations could be funnelled to candidates, unfettered. The resulting legislation would ultimately infringe on the rights and liberties of many non-believers or … Continue reading The Importance of the Johnson Amendment
A careful read of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission would appear to indicate that the only way to preserve our democracy is to avoid any means of disproportionate influence — which the Supreme Court (SC) has failed to do. My first blog on the Citizens United decision argued that a gross imbalance of money on one side of two … Continue reading Is it Time For the Public Financing of Elections?
Since the Citizens United vs Federal Elections Committee ruling over 8 years ago, the amount of money in politics has grown exponentially. Contributions from the National Rifle Association (NRA) are no exception. With the alarming number of mass shootings taking place in this country, it’s time we take a closer look at what we are sacrificing as a country by allowing these contributions to continue … Continue reading Money, politics, and the NRA
Does this decision support a level playing field in the marketplace of ideas? The whole point of the constitutional founders was to keep the marketplace of ideas open to all. Had the Supreme Court drawn a parallel with what actually happens in the marketplace of products and the corresponding promotional budgets among the competing products, they may have reconsidered. A marketplace of products in terms … Continue reading The Utter Morass of the Citizens United Decision
After the Supreme Court decided that George W. Bush won the 2000 election in which thousands of Black voters were purged from Florida’s voter registry because of similar names to actual criminals, a reporter named Greg Palast wrote a book titled “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy” in which he asserted that the election had been stolen by such shenanigans perpetrated by the Rich and … Continue reading Creating a Corporatocracy
We’re approaching the eighth anniversary of the Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (FEC) ruling. On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, changed the nature of money in politics, and absolutely none of it for the good. At least the good of 90% of American citizens. Let’s look back on what exactly happened. Citizens United, a conservative non-profit, wanted to air … Continue reading What Citizens United has Wrought on US Elections