October 16, 2015
Here’s something to think about: It’s been over 5 years since the Citizens United decision transformed the political landscape by allowing virtually unlimited amounts of campaign spending. Now we have a broken system where the wealthiest overpower the voices of average Americans, and political candidates are forced into a fundraising arms race. We can’t go on like this – and we won’t!
Just look at these numbers: Between the 2008 and 2012 election cycles, outside spending tripled, reaching over $1 billion. 68% of that spending came from just 216 donors, with one person alone donating $92.7 million. And the next election cycle is expected to reach over $5 billion in spending. That’s a billion dollars for each year that President Obama, the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the IRS and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have done nothing to turn this damaging decision around and give electoral power back to the people.
That’s why we’re calling on the President to use the time he’s got left in the Oval Office to move on this, now— before the 2016 election cycle gets into full swing. Obama can’t revoke the Citizens United decision, but he can sign an executive order forcing government contractors— including many large corporations— to disclose their political spending. It’s not a perfect solution, but it can be a big step in the right direction.
Since 2000, the government’s track record on this issue has been one of hamstrung inaction. Congress has passed no new disclosure rules, made no efforts to crack down on the Super PACs that collect unlimited funds to support political campaigns, and made no efforts to establish public election financing. The FEC either has its hands tied, or simply won’t stand up to the rampant financing and spending abuses that have developed out of Citizens United. The IRS has let “social welfare” organizations become conduits of untraceable “dark money” into our elections. And the SEC has yet to pass regulation requiring publicly traded companies to disclose election spending.
A presidential executive order could begin to turn the tide. It would signal that at least someone in the government recognizes the problem and will stand up to the big corporate donors to protect our democracy. It would be a win for the millions of activists who have been working on this issue for the good of our country. It might even build momentum for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United once and for all. That’s why it’s important to click here and sign a petition asking President Obama to take a stand, and get our democracy on the right track— back into the hands of the people, and out of the pocketbooks of the wealthiest individuals and corporations.
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