Big Money in Politics

A few years ago, as a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, the U.S. Supreme Court essentially said to the wealthiest people in this country: you already own much of the American economy. Now, we are going to give you the opportunity to purchase the U.S. Government, the White House, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, Governors’ seats, legislatures, and State judicial branches as well.

The Citizens United decision hinges on the absurd notion that money is speech, corporations are people, and giving huge piles of undisclosed cash to politicians in exchange for access and influence does not constitute corruption.

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What can we do about it?

To start we must only appoint Supreme Court justices who will make it a priority to overturn Citizens United and who understand that corruption in politics means more than just quid pro quo. Here is the legislation you can can support and the steps you can do to help fight income and wealth inequality.

Pass a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

There are two ways to pass a Constitutional Amendment, Congress, or a Constitutional Convention. We have all seen the type of job Congress is doing with money in politics (I'll spare you reciting Bernie's stump speech here). It's time to pull the trigger on option number two: A Convention.

The most beautiful part of our Democracy is the depth of checks and balances built into it. While the influence of money may have pushed us towards oligarchy, our framers left us one last option, a way to check the power ourselves should our elected legislature fail us, as this one has: A Constitutional Convention. And there is an amazing Political Action Committee out there using the crooked finance rules to fund state candidates who will work to pass the call for a convention. 

The good news is, Illinois is already in, so a lot of the heavy lifting has already been done. Now we have 3 major goals:

  1. Play defense - Watch out for repeal attempts

  2. Help our brothers and sisters in neighboring states

  3. Lobby your representatives to support the 28th Amendment proposal by Warren and to take the Wolf-PAC pledge, no corporate donors

 

Learn more on our Wolf PAC campaign page

 

Pass the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act 

Getting big money out of politics is vital, but much more needs to be done to restore our democracy. Notably, we must ensure that all Americans are guaranteed an effective right to vote. Campaign finance reform must be accompanied by efforts to strengthen voting rights – restoring the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, expanding early voting and vote-by-mail, implementing automatic voter registration, ending gerrymandering and making Election Day a national holiday, among others. When nearly two-thirds of the electorate did not vote in 2014 midterm elections, it is clear we need radical change to bring more people into the political system. Our democracy cannot be truly representative unless elected officials hear from all of their constituents, not just the wealthy and the powerful.

Returning to a government of, by, and for the people – not the billionaires and giant corporations – will not be easy. We need not some, but all of the measures highlighted here. We won’t be able to accomplish these on our own. They will require agreement of Congress or, in the case of a constitutional amendment, two-thirds of the Congress and three-quarters of the states. We’re going to get there by building and continuing a movement – a movement with enough power not only to insist that all of our elected representatives return power to the people, a movement that not only identifies the deep corruption of our politics but rejects cynicism and instead insists on solutions, action and accountability.

The Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act was introduced by Warren as S.3357. and has been passed unanimously as HR 1 by House Democrats, the first bill for the 2019 session, when Democrats take control.  What does this act do? Warren explains the bill in the video here.