NH Rebellion Congratulates Governor Martin O’Malley on “Restore our Democracy” Reform Agenda

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.”

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Action of the Week: Write the FEC

We know that not everyone has the stamina – and good knees – to Walk the Talk across New Hampshire.  As we get closer to the NH Primary, we need legions of Armchair Rebels to TAKE ACTION if we are going to end Big Money politics!

Each week, we'll ask you to take a different action.  We may ask you to write a letter to the editor, give the campaigns a piece of your mind, or call your representatives and demand action.  We may ask you to collect signatures for our town warrant initiative or tweet up a storm.  Whatever the action, we promise to keep it easy, relevant, and fun.


ACTION OF THE WEEK:  Demand the FEC enforce the law!
We are getting reports that Big Money interests are blurring the lines on campaign-SuperPAC coordination.  This piece by NH Public Radio's Emily Corwin, "Pro-Fiorina Super PAC Tests Boundaries in Campaign Ground Game," gives a prime example of the suspect activity happening on the NH Primary campaign trail.   

We need you to write a letter to the Federal Election Commission and raise hell.  Why are campaigns and Big Money interests allowed to engage in this collusion?  Why have candidates filmed advertising with their Super PACs?  The FEC needs to enforce the existing law!

Write a short letter to:
Federal Election Commission
999 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20463

You can even multiply your impact six-fold by addressing a copy of your letter to each of the six Commissioners at the same address: Chair Ann Ravel, Vice Chair Matthew Petersen, Lee Goodman, Caroline Hunter, Steven Walther, and Ellen Weintraub. 

Do you have ideas about how you can help as an Armchair Rebel?  We want to hear your ideas!

Brian and the NH Rebellion team

PS. Not content to sit in your armchair? Local Rebels are invited to attend a monthly NH Rebellion strategy meeting with the various reform groups next Thursday at 12:30pm and on the first Thursday of every month. Just email doreen@opendemocracy.me to RSVP.


The Pope Asks Congress to Get Money Out

Thank you to the 1,534 NH Rebellion Rebels who joined Stephen Colbert and signed our petition to Pope Francis ahead of his address to Congress yesterday.  We asked the Pope to speak out, as he has before in Argentina, on the corruption of money in politics and the moral imperative of developing a representative system.

The Pope did not disappoint: "You [Congress] are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you… I think of the political history of the United States, where democracy is deeply rooted in the mind of the American people. All political activity must serve and promote the good of the human person and be based on respect for his or her dignity… If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance."

Strong words from Pope Francis, and we hope to see strong actions from the congresspeople and candidates whom he addressed.  Thanks for liking, tweeting, and sharing your support, allowing us to vault this issue into the international spotlight provided by the Pope's visit.



Colbert + NHR ask the Pope to address Money in Politics

When Pope Francis speaks to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Thursday, there are many worthy issues he could discuss:  Poverty, income inequality, affordable healthcare or other social ills.  But when comedian and political satirist Stephen Colbert was asked what single message the Pope should bring to Congress, Colbert suggested an issue that interferes with legislation to fix many of those social issues.

"The corrupting influence of money in politics because it reinforces not looking out for the poorest or the least of my brothers," Colbert,  arguably one of America's most famous Catholics, said in the recent interview with a syndicated Canadian Catholic news program, Connect5.    He continued, "I think that's the one they need to hear the most because until you can control the money, you won't control the message of Congress…you won't get action from Congress that looks out for average people," he said.     Colbert famously demonstrated on his previous Comedy Central show, the Colbert Report, how SuperPacs are allowed to cloak their donors and coordinate with campaigns by starting a political action committee himself.


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NH Rebellion Congratulates Hillary Clinton on Reform Agenda


Contact: media@nhrebellion.org

One day after the unofficial Labor Day kickoff to the 2016 Presidential campaign, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became the first declared candidate to issue a detailed campaign finance reform agenda. The Clinton plan to "Restore Integrity to American Elections" was welcomed by the nonpartisan NH Rebellion and likeminded groups nationwide.

In a statement, the Clinton campaign said, “Hillary Clinton has made revitalization of our democracy a key pillar of her campaign.  She will fight to ensure that our democracy works for everyday Americans and leads to government of, by, and for the people, not just the wealthy and well-connected.”

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We're Hiring!

NH Rebellion's parent organization, Open Democracy, is hiring people to join our team, either full-time or part time.  If you want to help save our democracy, check out the full job postings at http://www.opendemocracy.me/hiring.



NHR Climbs Mt. Liberty

Last weekend, a small but determined group of NHR supporters tackled Mt. Liberty as part of the Vertical Granny D program.  In addition to walking the talk, we're spreading the word around the state: check out the following letter to the editor written by Wayne Merrit:

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Vertical Granny D: Presidential Traverse

After many months of planning, I finally got to go on a Presidential Traverse through the Vertical Granny D program.  For those unfamiliar, the exact definition of a Presidential Traverse is the subject of some argument, but it definitely involves a hike along the ridge of the Presidential mountains in the Whites, bagging anywhere up to 10 summits along the twenty-some miles.  In my opinion, it's best attempted as a (long) dayhike - just keep moving!

My group of seven had a beautiful day for a hike.  We summitted Mt. Madison, Mt. Adams, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Clay, Mt. Washington, Mt. Monroe, Mt. Eisenhower, and Mt. Pierce, clocking in a total of 126 miles and 54,200 vertical feet.  Even with seven of us hiking for almost 20 hours, we still couldn't quite match Granny D's feat!

Interested in hiking for the cause?  Check out the Vertical Granny D page and see what climbs are happening near you!


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Conservative Activist Brian Tilton Joins the NHR Team!

Former radio talk show host and political operative Brian Tilton joins NH Rebellion as Republican Outreach Coordinator & Media Relations Specialist.  As part of its efforts to make big money in politics the number one issue of the 2016 presidential campaign, NH Rebellion is actively reaching out to both Republicans and Democrats to promote cross-partisan solutions to the problem of big money corruption.

Brian_Tilton.jpg“We are thrilled to have Brian join our team to strengthen our bipartisan coalition and assist with media relations,” says Dan Weeks, Executive Director of Open Democracy, parent organization of NH Rebellion.  “Brian brings nearly two decades of diverse media experience and solid relations with many factions of the Republican base.  By educating and engaging both conservative and progressive activists in our cause, we will make our electoral and legislative process more open, transparent and fair to the ordinary citizens who demand it.  With very low voter turnout and roughly 0.5% of New Hampshire’s population providing a majority of all state campaign contributions, this issue reaches equally across party lines.  We expect those running for office to offer solutions,” Weeks said. 

In accepting the position, Tilton states: “For the past few years, I have become increasingly concerned about the big money corruption of our political process.  The majority of voters stay home on Election Day because they feel they have no voice.  I have seen a number of people forgo the opportunity to run for office because they can’t compete against the big money machine of special interests.  This issue matters because the influence of big money spending in election and lobbying does affect public policy.  With so many Republican presidential candidates, there is a great opportunity for them to bring forward solutions and restore integrity to the system.  I look forward to helping make this the number one issue in the 2016 presidential campaign.” 

Tilton recently served as Communications Director for the Jim Rubens for U.S. Senate campaign in 2014.  From 2008-2014, Tilton hosted the popular radio talk show "Bulldog Live!" on WTPL Radio in Concord focusing on a wide variety of local and national issues.  Prior to moving to New Hampshirein 2006, Tilton produced Maryland's highest-rated talk show at WBAL Radio in Baltimore, "The Ron Smith Show", where he was part of a team that earned one of the most prestigious awards in the industry, the National Headliner Award for investigative journalism.  Tilton also worked as a news reporter and anchor in Connecticut.  He resides in Hooksett with his wife and two children.


The Moment You Know

When you’re working at a grassroots level, it is often difficult to see progress being made. Being so close to the ground makes it difficult to see what is happening overhead. But this week, it became clear that this movement is working.

On Tuesday we arrived to Chris Christie’s event five minutes late. We snuck in the back, standing between the line of reporters and the crowds of people there to see the Governor speak. Standing next to the reporters, it was easy to see the movement of cameras, the note taking, and the general hub around a presidential candidate. But after an hour of the typical town hall questions about social security, national security and securing our borders, the typing became less furious. Reporters started zoning in and out, checking their Twitters and responding to e-mails.

But then one question made the reporters look away from their Twitter feeds, grab their smartphones and start recording. And that question was:

"What specific reforms will you advance to end the corrupting influence of money in politics?"

The reporters lit up, several even jumping onto their chairs to take videos. The increase in activity was remarkable, clearly signaling that this was an issue that they wanted to hear about; this was an issue that they wanted to report on. 

It may only be a small victory, but things like this seem to be happening all around us. More and more media outlets in New Hampshire and throughout the country are writing about this issue; Hillary Clinton even started including it in her stump speech this week. And at an event in Conway on Tuesday, John Kasich stated that he looked forward to receiving suggestions from NH Rebellion about a campaign finance reform policy.

Our momentum is clearly building, and that is why we need your help. We need your help to go out to candidate events and ask them more questions. We want to make sure that we know exactly what they would do as President regarding this issue. Go to questionr.us to see upcoming events and find out what questions still need to be asked.

The media is paying attention, now we just need to make sure that they get an answer to their questions.