- Justice Louis Brandeis
* HERE - Public Financing of Campaigns
* HERE - The Secret Power Behind Local Elections (6/25/16)
* HERE - How Much Dark $$ is being funneled into our Democracy?
* HERE - US Politics Are Rigged, It's Time for a Small-Donor Revolution.
* HERE - Money in Politics by Lawrence Lessig in Sierra Magazine (8/16)
* Chart on Growth of Family Income from 1947
* Dark Money: The Hidden History of Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer - HERE (5)
* Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress - and a Plan to Stop It by Lawrence Lessig - HERE (19)
* Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About it by Nick Penniman and Wendell Potter (2016) - HERE!
Common Cause PA
PA United to Amend Update -
Update on PA United to Amend’s effort to pass Free and Fair Elections Resolutions in the PA House and Senate. The measures seek to ultimately amend the U.S. Constitution to “authorize the states to apply disclosure rules and reasonable guidelines on election campaign contributions and expenditures.” (More on this below.)
This week we are starting regular phone-banking and canvassing (going door-to-door) in Sen. Folmer’s 48th District, asking constituents to urge him to do all he can to advance our SR254. Folmer is chair of the State Govt. Committee, where that resolution languishes.
We had a successful Citizens Action Day on April 18, adding 4 House co-sponsors and paving the way for more. Beyond that, we met with Fred Sembach, chief of staff for Folmer.
Sembach is floating the idea of the committee holding a hearing on both the idea of conventions of the states to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution and on the measures now before the committee calling for such conventions. Sembach says Folmer holds hearings only on topics related to pending legislation, not on individual bills/resolutions. We know of at least 2 recent hearings bearing that out.
We don’t love this hearing idea but it’s probably the best we’re going to get. Folmer seems to sometimes respond to outside pressure to move legislation that isn’t on the top of his list. That’s why we are starting the phone-banking and canvassing.
That said, we are considerably ahead of where we ended up at the close of the 2015-16 session. We can always use more co-sponsors. Our Senate resolution, SR 254, has 29 co-sponsors (out of 50 senators), 13 Republicans and 16 Democrats, and a majority of the committee members are co-sponsors.
When you’re advocating for other GG measures, PLEASE TALK UP SR 254!
The House resolution is HR 357, with Republican Jim Cox as prime sponsor. We’ve increased the number of co-sponsors to 76 (out of 203 members), almost evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. The measure is in the State Government Committee. Rep. Metcalfe, the committee chair, has said he adamantly opposes the resolution and so won’t schedule a hearing. We’re working with legislative allies to change his mind. We’re also arranging to ask his constituents, especially Republicans, to advocate for us.
When you’re advocating for other GG measures, PLEASE TALK UP HR 357!
The best way for you (and your friends, family and acquaintances) to help is to volunteer for the cross-partisan PA United to Amend, an all-volunteer
partnership between the Wolf-PAC nonprofit and the Unitarian Universalist Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network. Sign up at http://www.wolf-pac.com.
If you don’t want to volunteer for PAUA, you can still help by asking your state representative and senator to co-sponsor or otherwise support the measures, and encourage others to do the same. If the lawmakers say yes, let Neil Goldstein know at email@example.com.
Passage of the resolutions would put Pennsylvania on the official list of states calling for a limited convention of the states (under Article V of the U.S. Constitution) for the single topic of campaign-finance reform. Two-thirds of the state legislatures (34) must pass such resolutions for a convention to be called (governors’ signatures not required). So far, five states have done so. The convention would have the authority only to propose an amendment, which would require approval by three-fourths of the states (38) to become part of the Constitution, the same as if the measure were proposed by Congress.
Videos and Documentaries
* Video on Public Financing of Elections from Public Citizen. (3)
* Video - How other countries keep money out of politics. (3)
* Video - Lawrence Lessig TED Talk: We the People and the Republic we must reclaim (18)
* Video - Wealth Inequality in America (6) - underlying reason for our problems.
* Video - Wealth Inequality Explained in Two Minutes
* Documentary - We Are Not Broke (81)
* Video - Jim Hightower on Why we need public financing of elections! (5)
* Video - Corruption is legal in America (5)