Scanning through the hours and hours of newly-released video from our We the People Convention on Primary Weekend, I was reminded of this line:
"I came to New Hampshire looking for hope … and I got it!"
That was the actor Sam Waterston bidding farewell to the NH Rebels at the Convention. He had driven five hours through a wicked snowstorm to be with us, and he didn't waste any time speaking with Rebels, the media, and even leading our first march.
But Sam didn't come looking for publicity – he came in search of hope. And thanks to all of you, NH Rebellion has brought hope that democracy is possible to a lot more people than Sam.
Big money from special interests isn't just flooding the presidential contest – it threatens the integrity of our state races as well. That's why, as the presidential contest moves to other states, NH Rebellion is turning our attention to the blockbuster Senate race between Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Gov. Maggie Hassan, which could easily exceed the 2014 record of $30 million in negative attacks from "independent" groups – unless we intervene now.Read more
After yesterday’s New Hampshire primary results were finalized, NH Rebellion Executive Director Dan Weeks issued the following statement:
"What a day for reform!
When we launched the NH Rebellion two years ago, we had one aim: to make big money corruption the defining issue of the 2016 presidential primary.
Yesterday, we saw the results. Thanks to the tireless work of thousands of volunteers and in response to voter demand, the four top vote-getters in New Hampshire have all claimed that campaign reform is a top priority.
This is one issue that just about everybody agrees on, regardless of party affiliation. Poll after poll shows that voters agree – in overwhelming numbers – that we need to fix our campaign finance system. Multiple candidates from different political parties competing to out-reform each other is just fine with us!
Big money in politics has been the ‘silent story’ of this presidential election – and it’s becoming less silent by the day. The American people have been way ahead of the political establishment in their condemnation of how our government is being corrupted by the campaign spending of billionaires and special interest groups.
At NH Rebellion, our work is far from complete. As the primaries move from New Hampshire to other states, we will continue working with partners around the country to inject our issue into the national debate. We will also ensure campaign finance reform is addressed by candidates for state offices in New Hampshire in 2016."
After a remarkable We the People Convention, Primary Day finally arrived in New Hampshire – and what a day for reform!
When we launched the NH Rebellion two years ago, we began Walking the Talk and Asking the Question across New Hampshire with one single aim: to make big money corruption the defining issue of the 2016 presidential primary.
Today, we met our goal – thanks to We the People.
For the first time ever, the top candidates in NH claimed that campaign reform was their top priority, in response to voter demand.
On the Democratic side, Sen. Bernie Sanders' landslide 60-38% victory over Sec. Hillary Clinton was linked to Sanders' consistent condemnation of a "corrupt campaign finance system" and his calls for reform in every speech. Declaring victory in Concord tonight, Sanders said, "We served notice to the political and economic establishment…that the American people will not continue to accept a corrupt campaign finance system that is undermining American democracy."
Even so, Clinton sought to challenge Sanders' widely-accepted claim to the reformer mantle with help of a comprehensive reform agenda of her own. In her concession speech tonight, she maintained that "no one is more aggressively committed to campaign finance reform than me" and assured her supporters that "Senator Sanders and I both want to get secret, unaccountable money out of politics and [overturn]Citizens United."
Multiple candidates competing to out-reform each other is just fine with us!
On the Republican side, Donald Trump scored a decisive victory in the NH Primary under the banner "can't be bought." According to Trump's own estimation tonight, "one of the things that really caught on, it's very important, [is] self-funding my campaign" – a sharp contrast with the millions in "special interest [and] lobbyist" money being raised by his opponents. "We were not going to let it happen," he said. "We have to do something about it." Although Trump has yet to release policy specifics on this or other issues, he has consistently called for full transparency, banning Super PACs, closing the revolving door, and even expressed support for small donor citizen-funded elections in response to our demands.
Trump's runner up, John Kasich, also decried the millions in negative advertising as the "old politics" that must end, in a moving speech tonight. Under a flurry of questioning from NH Rebels around the state, Kasich has also said he would support full transparency and nonpartisan redistricting reform, and is open to banning Super PACs and passing citizen-funded elections, as recommended by the late Republican senator Warren Rudman. Not far behind him, Jeb Bush just yesterday joined former candidates Lindsay Graham and Jim Gilmore in supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United – no small feat for a Republican in today's climate.
All four leading candidates received the highest scores of any credible candidates on NH Rebellion's preliminary Candidates Scorecard.
Our work as a reform movement is far from complete. As the primaries move from New Hampshire to other states, we will continue working with partners around the country to inject our issue into the national debate, we we'll ensure it also gets addressed by state candidates in 2016.
Next up: Democracy Spring!
But tonight, we pause to celebrate how far we've come together. Together, we will #FightBigMoney – and win!
The NH Rebellion Team
NH Rebellion claims a victory as more candidates adopt #FightBigMoney agenda before #FITN Primary
In New Hampshire campaign stops today, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush added his voice to the national movement to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, a victory for the anti-big money grassroots group NH Rebellion. In an interview with CNN, later repeated at other events, Bush said “I would turn that [ruling] on its head if I could.”
NH Rebellion Executive Director Dan Weeks welcomed Bush’s shift, even after the former governor raised over $100 million in unlimited contributions to his affiliated Super PACs. “I am glad Governor Bush has come to agree with the majority of Americans that Citizens United needs to be overturned to end the disgrace of unlimited Super PAC spending in campaigns,” Weeks said. “Ironic though it is coming from the #1 beneficiary of Super PAC money, Bush’s evolution shows that voters in both parties are finally being heard when they say, overwhelmingly, that our current campaign finance system is corrupt.”
On #FITN Primary Eve, reform groups release new ranking of presidential candidates on “root issue” of campaign reform
Leading presidential candidates made fighting big money a centerpiece of their campaign in response to voter demand
NH Rebellion Executive Director Dan Weeks predicts that the outcome of tomorrow’s First-in-the-Nation Presidential Primary will be driven largely by citizens’ concerns about campaign finance corruption and the candidates’ responses, as revealed by a new Candidates Scorecard just released by the #FightBigMoney coalition of state and national reform groups. The groups include NH Rebellion’s parent organization, Open Democracy, founded by the legendary "Granny D."
The #FightBigMoney Scorecard ranks candidates on their official campaign finance reform positions, after hundreds of town hall encounters and sit-down meetings with NH Rebellion activists, and gives leading grades of A- and B+ to Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sec. Hillary Clinton, respectively. Separate tracking of candidate statements on NH Rebellion’s QuestionR.us platform shows several Republican candidates – notably Donald Trump, Gov. John Kasich, and Gov. Jim Gilmore – are also supporting major reforms, although the absence of official position papers brings their #FightBigMoney score to D- or worse.
All five campaigns attended or sent surrogates to NH Rebellion’s We the People Convention in Veterans Park this past weekend.
“Big money in politics has been the ‘silent story’ of this presidential election – and it’s becoming less silent by the day,” Weeks said. “The American people are way ahead of the political establishment in their condemnation of how our government is being corrupted by the political spending of billionaires and special interest groups.”
A new poll of Iowa caucus-goers showed that campaign finance was one of the top issues people used to decide which presidential candidate to support. It was the single most important issue for one-quarter of Democratic caucus voters and among the top three issues for 64% of them.
“In 2014, New Hampshire voters were stunned by the impact of out-of-state special interest money being thrown at our elections. All kinds of records were broken. Total spending by campaigns and outside groups added up to more than $106 million – just here in New Hampshire – and it was one of the nastiest election seasons we have ever seen,” Weeks said.
“Going into this primary, we were expecting to see a similar level of spending,” he said. “But it looks like it’s actually going to be even worse.”
According to a recent Bloomberg analysis of political spending on broadcast advertising, by this point in 2012, $2 million had been spent in New Hampshire on broadcast advertising. This election, it’s over $100 million – a fifty-fold increase over the last presidential primary, with a lot of that money coming from ‘outside spending’ groups that don’t have to disclose their donors.
“The money coming at New Hampshire feels like a fire hose. They’ve spent more just on broadcast advertising than they spent on everything, during the 2014 elections,” Weeks said. “All the phone calls, the mail, the advertisements, it’s just overwhelming – and it’s all because of the money that’s being poured into New Hampshire by special interests trying to influence our elections. Granite State voters have every reason to be angry. Our elections have been hijacked by special interest donors.”
“This is one issue that just about everybody agrees on, regardless of party affiliation,” he said. “Poll after poll shows that voters agree – in overwhelming numbers – that we need to fix our campaign finance system. The political establishment and some of the media haven’t focused on it yet, but this issue is driving many voters’ decisions.”
NH Rebellion just finished its We the People Convention in Manchester, which brought together hundreds of activists, experts and some well-known voices to talk about the subject. “Best-selling author Marianne Williamson calls this ‘the greatest moral issue of our generation.’ Actor Sam Waterston says campaign finance is ‘central to the way democracy works.’ For three days, speaker after speaker – from both political parties – talked about this issue and this election as a turning point in American history,” Weeks said. “We need to fix the problem, and get our country back to having a government ‘of the People’ rather than ‘of the political donors.’”
During the primary season, NH Rebellion members have attended hundreds of events asking each presidential candidate “What specific reforms will you advance to end the corrupting influence of money in politics?” Candidates’ replies are available at www.QuestionR.us.
The group also sent each campaign a formal questionnaire, asking for support of six solutions to restore democracy detailed in the group’s We the People Pledge and members have met with several of the presidential candidates and campaigns.
“This is an issue that’s important to almost everybody, but too many voters don’t know where the candidates actually stand on the different solutions,” Weeks said. “When they walk into the voting booth tomorrow, we want voters to be able to make the best choice they can, based on real information about the candidates’ support for various types of reforms.”
After a snowy opening day, the sun broke through the clouds and hundreds more Rebels and media outlets packed the tent for day two of the We the People Convention in downtown Manchester.
We think what happened inside the tent is worth writing home about…
- Actor Sam Waterston kicked off the day with a little #FightBigMoney trivia before dashing off to do more media interviews for the cause
- Candidates for governor Colin Van Ostern and Mark Connolly, and candidates for Congress Rep. Carol Shea-Porter and Shawn O'Connor made their case to voters and pledged support for the #FightBigMoney agenda
- Ambassador Richard Swett convened a panel tracing big money's influence on the Northern Pass and NED Pipeline projects
- Leading national reformers from Common Cause, Every Voice, Free Speech for People, Issue One, and Represent.US unveiled a brand-new report of landmark victories and the path ahead for reform across the country
- Pulitzer-Prize winner Hedrick Smith, syndicated-radio host Arnie Arnesen, Ben & Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen, Independents Rising leader Jackie Salit, author-activist Derek Cressman, and citizen leaders in IA, MA, and NH regaled the crowd with tales and inspiration from the frontlines of the #FightBigMoney movement
- US Representatives John Sarbanes and Annie Kuster talked about the push to pass comprehensive campaign reform in Congress
- New Jersey Senator Cory Booker spoke passionately in support of our reform agenda on behalf of Hillary Clinton.
Poll Shows Campaign Finance is Top Issue for Many Voters as NH Rebellion Convention continues today in Manchester NH
In the wake of a new poll showing that campaign finance reform is driving many voters’ decisions about which presidential candidate to support, the NH Rebellion convenes the second day of its We the People Convention to #FightBigMoney.
Hundreds of New Hampshire voters are gathering this weekend at the three-day Convention, being held in a huge heated tent in Veterans Park, directly across the street from the Manchester Radisson hotel.
Jim Gilmore, NH Gubernatorial and Congressional Candidates, others to speak at “We the People” Convention starting today in Manchester NH
The NH Rebellion three-day “We the People” Convention kicks off today in Veterans Park, Manchester with additional speakers, including
- Presidential candidate Gov. Jim Gilmore, confirmed to speak at2:30 pm today;
- NH gubernatorial candidate Rep. Frank Edelblut (R- Wilton NH), confirmed to speak at 1:45 pm today;
- NH gubernatorial candidate Mark Connolly (D, former NH Deputy Secretary of State), confirmed to speak at 10:00 am tomorrow;
- NH gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern (D, Executive Councilor), confirmed to speak at 10:30 am tomorrow; and
- Democratic candidate in NH first Congressional District, businessman Shawn O’Connor, confirmed to speak at 2:15 pm tomorrow.
As people of faith, we recognize the responsibility of government to seek justice for all people and to build the common good. Justice cannot be achieved unless the rules governing the democratic process are just and fair for all. Central to that process is a citizen’s vote—not limited by the powers of money, social class, and unequal access to public media.
Money has always played a role in electoral politics, but what kind of role it plays should be subject to regulations that reflect ethical and democratic values. Most important, it is necessary to have policy safeguards in place which ensure that more than just the wealthiest interest groups have a voice in the public sphere.Read more