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Citizens United Carpet Bombing Democracy - Cartoon

It has been an emotional rollercoaster for progressives across the board ever since Scott Walker’s billionaire backers successfully bought the state of Wisconsin. The blatant manner in which it has happened has acted as an alarm screeching red alert, as the Wi$con$in model to subvert democracy may be coming to a state near you.

Likewise, it is time for us to redouble our efforts to expose how big money is increasingly turning our elections into auctions. And in anticipation of this July 17th, we will have quite an opportunity to do so.

On 7/17 the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Constitution Subcommittee will hold a hearing to examine pending constitutional proposals to remedy the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision.

“The devastating effects of the Court’s divisive decision in Citizens United are already being felt in states and communities across the country,” emphasizes Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT.). “Since the decision was handed down, Democrats in Congress have been working to protect the voices of millions of American voters.”

There are a number of constitutional amendment proposals that have been introduced, which will be explored and evaluated during the hearing. But this is so much bigger than just legislative wrangling and jargon. As grassroots activists we can help by honing in on the root of the issue, regarding how the voices of millions of American voters have been drowned out by the endless and unprecedentedly expensive SuperPac TV advertisements.

The 7/17 hearing provides us with an opportunity to shine a bright light on the exponentially corrupting influence of big money in our democratic system. And we are working on a campaign to help ordinary citizens be heard in conjunction with it, where we create and share videos online that tell our stories.

In this vein, a request -- can you help come up with questions we can ask that would help people speak from the heart about money in politics? Here are a few we are working on so far:

- What do you think about billionaires buying your politicians, and how will it affect you personally?

- What would you say to convince your representatives to support a constitutional amendment to get big money out of politics?

- Do you think big money is corrupting our democracy, and should congress put a stop to it?

How do these look so far, and do you have other ideas for questions that can inspire powerful and personal statements from ‘we the people’?

Please let us know, and thank you for all that you do!

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Comment Preferences

  •  More questions (0+ / 0-)

    - Do you believe that your voice is important in political discussions?

    - Do you believe that your voice is heard in political discussions?

    - Do you think politicians should be accountable to voters?

    - Do you think politicians are accountable to voters?

    - When you see an advertisement for a candidate or political issue, can you easily determine who paid for it?

    - Do you choose products and services that you consume based upon the political and social values of companies providing those goods and services?

    - Do you think that corporations should be allowed to participate in writing model legislation that impacts the general population?

    - Do you think that election cycles should be shortened so that less money needs be spent on campaigns?

    - Do you think that media outlets that enjoy the use of public airwaves should be required to provide free and evenly allocated air-time to qualified political candidates?

    - Do you think that campaign finance reform should include limitations to the spending of qualified candidates to evenly allocated public funds?

    - What ideas do you have about how to make our elected officials more accountable to voters?

    I kinda screwed up with a careless uprate so (for now?) I'm a "No Rate" pariah. So when I give a comment "+110% n/t", please consider that a recommend. (That's my workaround fix to participating in this community!)

    by The Angry Architect on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 08:14:03 AM PDT

  •  Confusing two issues. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There are two separate aspects to the problem of "money in politics".

    One issue is the direct giving of money to politicians.  Politicians need money to run effectve election campaigns, and wealthy and corporate interests have money to give to politicians.  The politicians return the favor by writing or supporting bits of legislation favored by the wealthy and corporate interests.  Current US law limits the amount of money that can be given directly to a politician, and that those donors must be identified.

    The second issue is the giving of money to political action committee.  The supreme court has said (i.e. "Citizen's United") that interested parties can give unlimited amounts of money to certain political action committees (the ones that are independent of any politicians), and a separate supreme court ruling said those donations may be anomynous.

    This distinction is important if we are to properly protect our democracy.  Giving money to a politician is different from giving money to a movement.  While we may not like the fact that wealthy and corporate interests have more money, we cannot deny those monied interests the expression of their political thinking and still call ourselves a democracy.

    As always, I advocate for the outlawing of ALL private donations to made directly to politicians, and making ALL elections publicly funded.

    What to do about the deluge of money for movement and issue ads must be, in my opinion, handled separately.

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 08:14:53 AM PDT

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