On Monday, November 16, Republican presidential candidate Gov. George Pataki announced his support for tax incentives to empower small-dollar political donations, part of a package of reforms he supports to fight big money politics. Good government reformers cheered the announcement and renewed their calls on all presidential candidates to present concrete solutions to combat the corrupting influence of big money in politics.
Speaking at a public forum hosted by NH1 News, First Budget, and the NH Business and Industry Association in Concord, Pataki stated, “We have lost control of the campaign process. One of the things I would do is … put in place a tax credit for up to $200 in contributions to presidential candidates to encourage small donations," a system practiced under President Reagan. Pataki underscored the importance of small donor incentives "because that’s the people who should be electing the president, not somebody who could be writing a $30 million check to a Super PAC.”
Thursday night, FEC Chairwomen Anne Ravel went on The Daily Show so that she could talk about the dysfunction of the FEC. This hilarious segment has got to be seen to be believed!
NH Rebellion Congratulates Bernie Sanders for Supporting We the People Pledge to Fight Big Money in Politics
One week after NH Rebellion officially launched the We the People Pledge to fight big money in politics, Senator Bernie Sanders endorsed every major component of the Pledge, adding substance to his longstanding calls for ending big money corruption in Washington. The Sanders announcement follows months of direct engagement of all presidential candidates by members of the nonpartisan NH Rebellion and the release of similar plans by Sanders' Democratic rivals Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley. It marks the first time in American history that every presidential candidate in a major political party has publicly committed to comprehensive campaign finance reform.
“Sen. Sanders' plan is a direct assault on the monied interests that are attempting to buy our elections and rob us of representation," said Daniel Weeks, director of the NH Rebellion. "We applaud the Senator for rejecting Super PAC support of his campaign, for speaking out against systemic corruption on the stump, and for today releasing a comprehensive plan to overhaul the big money system if elected president."
According to the campaign's newly-released position paper, "Getting Big Money Out of Politics and Restoring Democracy," Sen. Sanders will work to eliminate Super PACs and overturn Citizens United through new Supreme Court appointments and a constitutional amendment; fight for citizen-funded elections that amplifies small donations through public matching funds; insist on full transparency in the funding of campaigns and outside spending; and strengthen enforcement of campaign finance rules.
The plan also calls for an end to gerrymandering and improvements in voting and election administration such as automatic voter registration and a national Election Day holiday.
According to Weeks, the Sanders plan represents a major victory for the citizens Rebellion against big money in politics, which has so far mobilized hundreds of "rebels" to question the presidential candidates and march 30,000 miles collectively across NH in support of reform. "For the first time ever, every Democratic candidate for president has publicly committed to stopping the corrupting influence of big money in politics, and Republicans are starting to embrace solutions of their own," Weeks said.
In September and early October, respectively, Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley presented their own reform agendas, consistent with the We the People Pledge, after consulting with NH Rebellion and other groups. And recent Democratic candidate Lawrence Lessig, a champion of the NH Rebellion, launched a presidential campaign solely focused on reforming money in politics.
Last Thursday, NH Rebellion officially launched the We the People Pledge with a rally in downtown Manchester and a march to deliver the parchment Pledges to the presidential campaign headquarters throughout the city, led by the Rebellion's own "Paul Revere". The agenda calls on candidates at all levels of government, beginning with the presidential candidates, to support six fundamental reforms deemed necessary by campaign finance experts to curb the outsized influence of wealthy special interests in government:
- Close loopholes and enforce campaign finance laws
- Expose secret donors and require full transparency
- Ban bribes from lobbyists and government contractors
- Ban Super PACs and overturn Citizens United
- Establish small-donor, citizen-funded elections
- End gerrymandering and modernize voter registration
In addition to the Democratic candidates' support, every Republican vying for president has also publicly acknowledged the need to fight big money, according to NH Rebellion's online tracker of candidate statements, Questionr.us. The solutions offered by Republican candidates to-date center on stricter disclosure requirements and lobbying restrictions, and a few Republican candidates have also expressed support for citizen-funded elections, overturning Citizens United, and nonpartisan redistricting reform.
“Big money politics is a bipartisan problem and it demands a bipartisan response,” said Brian Tilton, Republican outreach coordinator for the NH Rebellion. “Just as the Rebellion reached out to Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders to give input on their plans, we are also been in talks with several Republican contenders about conservative-friendly approaches to breaking the big money-big government nexus that has voters up in arms. Republicans recognize that crony capitalism and wasteful spending won't be stopped until voters regain the upper hand against wealthy special interests. We call on the remaining campaigns to answer our invitation and work with us on solutions to stop big money.”
"Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others." -- Plato
Late last week you received an email from Dan Weeks about our new "We the People" pledge to Fight Big Money. Along with thousands of others, your signature will be delivered to all the presidential campaigns in person to demonstrate the commitment of NH voters to reform.
Your help in getting others to sign the pledge is critical to our success.
THIS WEEK'S ACTIONS:
- SIGN the "We the People" pledge -- If you haven't pledged, do so as soon as possible!
- SEND emails to your friends -- After you sign the We the People pledge to Fight Big Money, you'll receive an email containing links to the pledge. Please forward this to your friends along with a note as to why its important that they stand against Big Money corruption in our government. If you've already signed, THANK YOU! Find that confirmation email and resend to your town committee colleagues or other groups to which you belong.
- SHARE a Link to Facebook -- If you are a Facebook user, please post this link, http://www.nhrebellion.org/pledge/ in your Status on Facebook. After you paste, our "We the People" pledge graphic will pop up. Write a note as to why your friends should rebel against our legislators being bought by billionaires and special interests. Once it is shared on your page, you may also SHARE this on pages to which you belong: Town political committees, activist sites, candidate sites, etc.
Remember that this Thursday, Nov. 5th, 11:30 AM is our "We the People" press conference and rally at Manchester City Hall. We hope to have the new version of our signs available, along with our new million dollar bill handout. The weather is supposed to be great, so RSVP now!
We're counting on you to help us Fight Big Money politics!
-- Brian Beihl and the NH Rebellion Team
PS: If your municipality has a vote on Tuesday, don't forget to VOTE!
Seth Meyers really hit the nail on the head during a segment last week. He did his "A Closer Look" segment on the recent New York Times story detailing the 158 families who effectively dominate our political discourse. And he actually made it funny! Share this post with your friends on facebook or twitter and spread the word!
Since day one of the New Hampshire Presidential Primary, we have consistently reached out all the presidential candidates to start a serious discussion about how to end the corrupting influence of big money in politics.
Democratic and Republican candidates alike have responded on the stump or behind the scenes, and this weekend Hillary Clinton sat down with our executive director Daniel Weeks in Nashua, NH to discuss her reform agenda. We appreciate Secretary Clinton's time and congratulate her once again on the ambitious plans she unveiled in September, with input from NH Rebellion and other reform groups.
Now we urge the Secretary to make those plans a centerpiece of her presidential campaign, by connecting the dots for voters between big money and the many big challenges she proposes to address, from climate change to equal opportunity to affordable healthcare. Time and time again, we are reminded that without real reform of our campaign finance system, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans will be able to meaningfully deliver on their promises for America.
We look forward to hearing more on the stump from Secretary Clinton and to future such meetings with the other presidential candidates.
Bipartisan Leaders Call on NH House to End Endless Spending in Elections
House committee voted Tuesday to refer to interim study SB 136
Concord, NH - A group of New Hampshire leaders from both political parties is calling on state lawmakers to put an end to endless spending by billionaires and special interest groups in elections, a practice it believes is undermining American democracy.
The NH House Legislative Administration Committee voted 7-3 on Tuesday to refer to interim study SB 136, the bipartisan bill affirming the need to overturn Citizens United and examining the effects of unlimited spending on New Hampshire elections. The vote effectively blocks SB 136 from further action until 2017 unless the full House rejects the committee's recommendation and passes the bill when it comes to a vote in January.
While proponents had hoped to receive full support from the committee, the "Interim Study" vote from representatives previously hostile to the measure demonstrates the growing public demand to get money out of politics and leaves the door open to future action. The latest October 2015 Bloomberg poll found that 78 percent of Americans and 80 percent of Republicans want to overturn Citizens United, while only 17 percent support for the ruling. In March, the State Senate approved the measure by unanimous consent.
"Citizens United has been an all-out disaster for democracy," said Betty Tamposi, former Assistant Secretary of State under President Bush and an Open Democracy Advisor. "We teach our kids that the size of your wallet shouldn't determine your standing as a citizen, but thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court and an intransigent Congress, the opposite is true today. We call on the full House to undue the committee recommendation and instruct Congress to overturn Citizens United by passing SB 136 in January."
"There is nothing more destructive of good politics and good policy than secret special interest money in elections," added John Broderick, the former Chief Justice of the NH Supreme Court and an Open Democracy Advisor. "Left unchecked, it will consume our electoral process and silence the voice of the people."
Tamposi, Broderick, and ten other New Hampshire leaders from across the political spectrum are part of Open Democracy, the nonpartisan nonprofit founded by legendary reformer Doris "Granny D" Haddock in 2009. Open Democracy and allied groups have campaigned actively to translate public anger over money-in-politics corruption into positive action for reform, with a special focus on the 2016 presidential primary currently under way. As a result of their efforts, 69 New Hampshire towns have passed warrant articles at town meeting calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and some 12,000 Granite Staters have echoed the call through petitions.
In January 2014 and 2015, hundreds of concerned citizens marched over 200 miles in frigid temperatures across the state to protest big money corruption as part of Open Democracy's NH Rebellion campaign. The Rebellion has led more than a dozen walks and logged 30,000 miles throughout New Hampshire since 2014, with an eye to making money in politics reform the leading issue in the upcoming presidential election. Over 500 citizens rebels have volunteered to question the presidential candidates about reform; the resulting candidate statements and videos are publicly available at www.Questionr.us.
"Recommending interim study is a tacit acknowlegdment of the hundreds of thousands of New Hampshire citizens who want reform, but it is not enough" said Dan Weeks, executive director of Open Democracy and leader of the NH Rebellion. "Our representatives should not hide behind legislative delay tactics – they should take action now to stop the corrupting influence of big money in politics. We hope to see the New Hampshire House reject the committee's recommendation in January, and listen instead to the voices of their constituents."
Our supporter Wayne wrote a letter to the editor that was simply too good not to share, so here it is:Read more
One day after the presidential candidates completed their latest fundraising frenzy ahead of Wednesday’s third-quarter reporting deadline, Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley released a plan to “get big money out of politics” and turn current fundraising practices on their head. The plan was welcomed by the nonpartisan NH Rebellion and reform groups nationwide.
Under Governor O’Malley’s“Restoring Our American Democracy” plan, ordinary citizens would be empowered to fund congressional campaigns in lieu of wealthy interests through a $25 refundable tax credit on small donations. Donations would then be matched on a multiple basis for qualifying candidates and candidates would be forced to abide by strict contribution limits. The plan also calls for disclosure of secret election spending by special interest groups; a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision; an overhaul of the Federal Election to ensure enforcement of election law and non-coordination between candidates and Super PACs; and a new constitutional right to vote free from discriminatory voting laws. The plan embraces many of the reform proposals put forward by NH Rebellion and other groups, although it omits citizen-funding of presidential elections.
“Voters of all stripes are disgusted by the way big money is dominating our democracy,” said Dan Weeks, Executive Director of Open Democracy and leader of the NH Rebellion. “This plan is a direct assault on those big money interests that have already spent hundreds of millions of dollars attempting to buy the presidential election. We applaud Gov. O’Malley for tackling the problem of big money corruption head-on with a plan that can help restore the basic American promise of an equal voice for all.”Read more