September 5, 2019 is National Call-In Day for the Democracy For All Amendment

Help support the Democracy For All Amendment by calling U.S. House Representatives on Thursday, September 5, 2019.

NMMOP, through Declaration for American Democracy, a national coalition of advocacy groups is working in collaboration with over 60 other advocacy groups to promote the national call-in day for the Democracy for All Amendment,H.J.Res. 2 (Rep. Ted Deusch (D-FL)/S.J.Res. 51(Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM), to be held on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019.  While all Democratic senators have co-sponsored the amendment in the Senate, only 135 house representatives have signed on to the House version. SO we are asking all of you to make as many telephone calls as you can on that call-in day to encourage more house reps to cosponsor the amendment and thank those that are already onboard. Here are sample materials and here is the targeting list.

Please make these calls to show your support for the efforts of our own Senator Tom Udall and his colleagues in Congress who are fighting hard to get Big Money out of our elections and to advance the cause further!

 

NMMOP Among Reform Groups Asking DNC for Debate on Democracy Reform

REFORM GROUPS ASK DNC TO HOLD DEBATE ON PLANS TO FIX THE POLITICAL SYSTEM

Bill Theobald – Aug 20, 2019     www.thefulcrum.us

Eighteen groups promoting democracy reform sent a letter Tuesday to Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, asking for a presidential debate focused on the candidates’ democracy reform plans.

“Whether it comes to addressing our climate crisis, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, ending gun violence, or any other issue Democratic candidates have been talking about on the campaign trail, the role of a healthy democracy in achieving those ends is undeniable,” the letter states.

The groups who signed the letter are: Brennan Center for Justice, The Center for Popular Democracy, Common Cause, Communications Workers of America, Democracy 21, The Democratic Coalition, End Citizens United, Equal Citizens, Indivisible, New American Leaders, New American Leaders Action Fund, New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics, People for the American Way, Progressive Turnout Project, Protect Democracy, Public Citizen, Voices for Progress and Wolf-PAC.

Democracy reform issues have played only a small role in the two sets of debates by the Democratic candidates for president.

So far, 10 candidates have qualified for the Sept. 12 debate in Houston. If more than 10 candidates qualify — based on fundraising and polling — a second night will be added on Sept. 13.
Continue reading “NMMOP Among Reform Groups Asking DNC for Debate on Democracy Reform”

Tom Udall’s latest gangbuster article about Money in Politics

The Super-Wealthy Have Outsize Influence in Politics. Here’s How We Can Change That

by Senator Tom Udall (NM) in Time Magazine

In 2018, the 10 largest individual donors funneled more than $436 million to Super PACs in the most expensive midterm elections ever. Big money in politics has overwhelmed the political process, granting wealthy special interests more power now than at any time in recent American history. The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. FEC and other court decisions left Congress and the states constitutionally prohibited from putting limits on raising and spending money in elections, unleashing a flood of corporate dollars in U.S. elections and opening the door for the super-rich to fuel their own interests in our government at the expense of ordinary Americans. While this trend has been decades in the making, these decisions further dismantled our campaign finance laws.

This summer, I joined with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and other Senate Democrats to introduce the Democracy for All Amendment, a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC and other disastrous court decisions. The amendment would give Congress and the states the power “to regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections” as well to draw a distinction “between natural persons and corporations or other artificial entities created by law.”

When corporations and the super-rich have the ability to spend a limitless amount of money, they can not only influence elections but also set the political agenda. Take the Koch brothers as an example. Unlimited campaign contributions have allowed them to use millions of dollars to pervasively, perniciously and secretly influence the public policy. For instance, President Trump has staffed the White House and federal agencies with key officials tied to the Kochs who have systematically worked to discredit renewable energy, promote fossil fuels and deny climate science.

As a result of this type of spending, the American people are losing faith in our political system. Nearly eight in 10 voters said in a September 2018 poll that “reducing the influence of special interests and corruption in Washington” was either the “single most” or a “very important” factor in casting their midterm vote. And Americans overwhelmingly support limits on campaign spending.

The first step in fixing our broken campaign finance system is to sustainably address the root of the problem created by the Supreme Court. While it’s true that constitutional amendments are warranted in only the rarest of circumstances, this is undoubtedly one of those moments in our country’s history. Unlimited spending concentrated in the hands of a few continues to spiral out of control, distorting the voices of everyday citizens and putting the foundation of our democracy at risk.

Too many Americans have every reason to believe that their government no longer answers to them. And because the Supreme Court has now reinforced the misguided idea that spending money to elect politicians is the same thing as free speech, our broken campaign finance system lets billionaires and corporations have outsize influence in our elections. If we want to make progress on the very real problems Americans face, we have to create a democracy that is fair and open to all.

I urge Americans everywhere to contact your state and federal representatives and demand they support the Democracy for All Amendment. We need two-thirds support of all state legislatures as well as the Senate and the House in order to enact this monumental amendment to our Constitution. This amendment would take power back from wealthy special interests and put it back where it belongs: In the hands of “we, the people.”

Republicans should get behind the 28th Amendment

From The Hill, Thursday, August 8, 2019

Last week the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), with 46 co-sponsors, including seven presidential candidates. In January, the same bill—to impose reasonable limits on campaign money while protecting free speech rights—was sponsored by 133 House members. Unfortunately, only one of these 180 total members is a Republican, brave and lonely New York Rep. John Katko.

This lack of support leaves Congressional Republicans wildly and egregiously out of step with Republican voters, 66 percent of whom support an amendment to address big-money political corruption. This intense anti-corruption sentiment powered Donald Trump’s popular “drain the swamp” message used in the leadup to his 2016 election.

Tackling corruption is a slow-burn national emergency. Public confidence in two of our nation’s central organizing institutions—free-market capitalism and representative democracy—is approaching failed-state status.

Our Founders unleashed free-market capitalism, creating greater wealth, progress and well-being here and abroad than in all of prior human history. Today, 61 percent of Americans aged 18-24 have a positive reaction to socialism in a recent Harris Poll. By 54 to 40 percent, non-whites (projected to be the majority of voters in a generation) now prefer government rather than free-market control over the economy.

Our form of government, the American constitutional republic, is and was a bold and visionary advance in liberty. Today, only 17 percent of voters trust the federal government to do the right thing all or most of the time. A majority now believes that government corruption—legalized bribery and extortion—is our nation’s biggest crisis, with 87 percent viewing political corruption as “widespread.”

These twin collapses in confidence are joined at the hip. Big government occupies and controls a larger share of the economy and increasingly picks economic winners and losers via tax subsidies, regulatory carve-outs, spending programs and contract awards. Business competes by buying influence or submitting to extortion in Washington, rather than by offering better products and services to consumers. Free markets are becoming crony capitalism. The public accurately views this pay-to-play system as rigged against most of us.

The Conference Board, one of our nation’s leading champions of the enduring virtues of free-market capitalism, singles out today’s big-money, special-interest dominated campaign finance system as suppressing product innovation and market competition and eroding public support for capitalism. This crony capitalism is a direct threat to free-market capitalism and a dynamic, globally competitive American economy.

Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the unanimous Nevada Commission on Ethics v. Carrigan decision, recognized the gravity of the corruption problem and the need for a constitutional solution. As both the House and Senate did by rule a dusty 200-plus years ago, Congress could require all members to recuse themselves, like judges, from voting on any measure where they have a conflict of interest. Such conflicts include campaign contributions, independent election expenditures and personal, business or family-member financial or career interests perceivably affected by the vote. In finding mandatory recusal constitutional, Justice Scalia wrote, “[t]he legislative power thus committed is not personal to the legislator but belongs to the people.”

In theory, I love this solution. But it will not happen because today’s complex economy and costly campaigns would place most members of Congress in constant recusal handcuffs.

Fortunately, there is a thoroughly workable solution, one which lays a foundation of defense of free-market capitalism and restoration of public trust in government: a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In addition to this critical foundation, we Republicans have two more solid reasons to back a 28th Amendment.

Big-money players such as billionaires Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg or Sheldon Adelson, unions, SuperPACs, dark-money 501.c4s and laundered foreign money sources now routinely target swing districts and Senate seats. These players recruit and screen candidates and flood districts with out-of-state money, determining which candidates are financially viable and get media attention. In my home state of New Hampshire, with only 1 million voters, $132 million was spent on the 2016 U.S. Senate election, decided for the Democrat by 1,700 votes. Ninety-five percent of those dollars flowed from out of state.

Swing races have become increasingly nationalized. Preferences of local voters and the specific needs of your state or district are distinctly secondary. Candidate choice, debate and policy innovation are all suppressed. Big money is killing democracy’s laboratories, constitutional federalism and the 10th Amendment. First Amendment rights are monopolized by a tiny number of big money players from New York, San Francisco—and Saudi Arabia.

Finally, Republicans have been operating under the cynical misconception that we are better at the big-money game than Democrats. Reality is that Democrats have recently gotten better than Republicans at the out-of-state, big-money game. For the 2018 cycle nationally, liberal dark money groups outspent conservatives 54/31. In Alabama’s 2017 special Senate election Democrat Doug Jones won by 1.7 percent. LinkedIn co-founder and billionaire California Democrat Reid Hoffman funded the dark-money operation which likely tipped this election outcome.

Republicans and Democrats will not usually agree on how to address our nation’s challenges. But we must agree on action to restore public trust in our central economic and governing institutions. Whether you are a more principled or more pragmatic Republican, you have solid reasons to ask your Republican member of Congress to co-sponsor the 28th Amendment, S.J.Res.51 or H.J.Res.2.

Jim Rubens was a Republican state senator from New Hampshire and candidate for U.S. Senate in 2014 and 2016. He is New England chair for Take Back Our Republic & board member for American Promise

NMMOP Signs On to DNC Letter Calling for a Democracy Debate

As  a member of the Declaration for American Democracy (DFAD), a coalition of over 100 like-minded nonprofit advocacy organizations dedicated to reforming and protecting American democracy, NMMOP has signed on to a joint letter to be sent to DNC Chair Tom Perez asking for a DNC-sponsored debate among the presidential candidates to focus on democracy reforms.