Posts Tagged ‘government reform’

We’ve seen an extraordinary amount of enthusiasm in recent weeks for our effort to build a grassroots movement for a constitutional amendment to restore free speech and fair elections to the people.

In our recent survey, activists across the nation expressed interest in supporting our effort to undo the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission by gathering petition signatures.

So we created a printer-friendly version of the constitutional amendment petition (PDF), a tip sheet about how to gather petition signatures and a web page where activists can pledge to collect signatures.

We’re already coordinating with activists in Washington, D.C., who are planning to help us gather signatures at several events, including Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity. And we’re encouraging activists across the nation to help build the movement by gathering signatures in their own communities.

Petitioning is a fundamental way to show Congress and others in power that the American people demand action against the threat to our democracy posed by the flood of unlimited corporate money into our elections. And we’re convinced that once they hear about it, millions more will join this cause.

As Americans gather this fall for events ranging from local festivals and concerts to political rallies and demonstrations, everyone can play a critical role by collecting signatures.

So take the pledge to gather signatures for the Don’t Get Rolled petition. If you have any questions or ideas, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at action@citizen.org.


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The folks over at the Center for Competitive Politics, a right-wing think tank, must think corporate front groups who run campaign ads are totally awesome.

They just issued a poll that they claim demonstrates public opposition to the DISCLOSE Act – even though their own numbers actually demonstrate broad public support for disclosure!

Jesse Zwick over at the Washington Independent skewers the poll – scarily titled, “Voters skeptical of intrusive disclosure.” (more…)

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One year ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court held a special session to re-hear arguments in the now infamous Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case that that led to the disastrous decision allowing corporations to spend as much money as they want influencing our elections.

And now our worst predictions about the Supreme Court ruling are coming true.

Target and Best Buy already have contributed more than $100,000 apiece to the campaign of a corporate candidate for governor of Minnesota.

However, the lack of disclosure laws enable most corporate contributions to remain in the dark and avoid the sort of backlash Target (and to a lesser extent Best Buy) (we know about these contributions only because of Minnesota’s disclosure laws, which are currently being contested in court by defenders of secret electioneering).

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce plans to spend more than $75 million this election season. Karl Rove’s American Crossroads plans to spend $50 million. Americans for Prosperity, an arm of the billionaire Koch brothers’ empire of corporate Astroturf, plans to spend more than $45 million. All told, hundreds of millions in corporate cash are expected to flood the election.

No doubt about it, we democracy-loving people are in the midst of the fight of our lives. Thankfully, there are solutions to the problem of corporate domination in our democracy. (more…)

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A new video from our friends at FairElectionsNow.org features real people describing in their own words the profound impact of corporate corruption in Washington. You can see from the video that big agriculture, corporate coal and BP are all playing the money game to make government work for them and not the American public.

As long as members of Congress must rely on donations from corporations and lobbyists to fund their campaigns, these special interests will continue to have a huge advantage over real people when it comes to finding policy solutions for the people’s problems.

After you watch the video, urge your members of Congress to end the political money chase by supporting public financing of elections via the Fair Elections Now Act at http://www.citizen.org/supportfairelectionsnow.

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Public Citizen Energy Director Tyson Slocum will be speaking today at a “Green Scissors” event hosted by Friends of the Earth (foe.org). The Green Scissors campaign was launched fifteen years ago. Its goal is to identify wasteful government programs that harm the environment. The annual Green Scissors report came out today. It targets four major areas for budget cuts: energy, agriculture and biofuels, infrastructure, and public lands.

Previewing what he will speak about today, Slocum said,

Powerful corporations and other special interests have too much influence in Washington. We need to reform a system that allows corporations to charge their pollution to taxpayers’ credit cards.

The report can be seen online here.

Public Citizen’s efforts to stem the harmful effects of Climate Change and our work dealing with the powerful energy companies  are described on our website.

To receive (not too many) updates about these efforts, click here.

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Despite the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Congress has done nothing to end our addiction to oil.

Wondering why? Crude is not the only thing flowing from Big Oil. The industry’s money is flowing through the halls of Congress and polluting our political system.

The members of Congress have oil on their hands.

Sign the “Congress: You Have Oil on Your Hands” petition.

The corporate control of our government – in particular, the influence of oil and gas money – has endangered our environment and the people who depend on it. The situation in the Gulf of Mexico is a tragic example of what can result from this corrupt political process.

We are collecting signatures to build public pressure on our elected officials to give their BP money – and all their oil and gas industry contributions – to the Gulf recovery effort.

We will deliver the petition on July 20 – the three-month anniversary of the disaster – following a rally on Capitol Hill.

And if you’re in Washington, come join us for the protest. It’ll be on Tuesday at noon. Meet in the upper Senate park, located at Constitution and New Jersey Avenues.

Speakers include:  (more…)

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According to The New York Times, the Fish and Wildlife Service concurred with a 2007 Minerals Management Service report that declared the risks posed by an oil spill insignificant. Although it agreed with the Minerals Management Service’s characterization of the risks as “low,” the Fish and Wildlife Service did make some minor suggestions that went largely ignored.

This story highlights what seems to be a trend not just among environmental regulators, but elsewhere in government as well: namely, a profound lack of accountability. The Fish and Wildlife Service, tasked (among other duties) with overseeing the protection of endangered species, ignored scientific findings that an oil spill could severely disrupt and harm the habitats of many plants and animals. The agency appears to have decided that ignoring the potential for disaster would be easier than confronting it.

We of course are upset (although unfortunately no longer surprised) by this behavior. The government has failed to effectively regulate for a long time. The House of Representatives just passed a compromise bill that promises to improve regulation of the financial industry; the Senate will vote on it in coming weeks. When will regulation of oil companies be seriously addressed?

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For those of you keeping score at home, it’s now Citizens United 2, Democracy 0. The Federal Election Commission voted 4-1 Thursday to give Citizens United, the conservative advocacy group based in Virginia, an exemption to campaign finance requirements. If you remember, in January, Citizens United won a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that gave corporations the right to spend an unlimited amount of money to influence our elections.

However, that court victory came with an *asterisk. Citizens United, and other corporations, could spend the dough but they would still have to disclose where their money was coming from i.e. the names of its donors, and how it was spending its money. As I blogged in April, Citizens United argued that since it produced “documentary” films, it should be considered a media company and exempt from disclosure requirements. This is the case for companies such as the New York Times, Washington Post and FOX News etc, which can produce opinion pieces about candidates and issues without having to fill out campaign finance forms.

SCOTUSblog has more about the FEC’s decision.

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Need help understanding why it’s ridiculous to think that corporations should have the First Amendment rights of people? Here’s a lesson set to music.

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Sophists have long known that when you cannot defeat a proposal based on merit, then resort to groundless – or even false – accusations to create hysteria and confusion over the proposal.

Those opposed to the recent health care reform legislation did exactly that when they invented the myth that the legislation would create the infamous “death panels” – government health officials ready and eager to pull the plug on granny when she gets too old. It was nonsense, of course. There was nothing in the legislation that would create death panels. But that wasn’t the point. The point was to spread hysteria and confusion about the legislation in order to defeat it.

We are now hearing some of the same sophistry from opponents of the DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 5175), legislation in response to the Citizens United decision, in which the Court ruled that corporations may make unlimited expenditures in elections. The DISCLOSE Act is a good but modest bill designed to open the books on who is paying for these unlimited independent expenditure campaign ads. (more…)

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