Let's Get Money Out of Politics!
On March 25th, the FEDDs heard from Ann Drumm, regional organizer for American Promise, a national nonpartisan organization advocating for a constitutional amendment to address big money in politics. She explained that our political system is out of balance: that those with more money have more political power, and that, as a consequence, the needs and priorities of ordinary Americans are going unaddressed. American Promise’s advocacy for a constitutional amendment is based on our shared American values of equal rights and equal representation.
Ann explained that the Supreme Court married two ideas - that money is speech, and corporations are people – to create a jurisprudence that says those with money may spend as much as they want to influence elections because such spending is speech protected under the First Amendment. But American Promise believes money isn’t speech, it’s power, and that the Court got it wrong. The only remedy is a constitutional amendment; this isn’t a problem that Congress can fix.
She identified three related but distinct problems with money in politics: Big Money, Dark Money and Foreign Money. She told a story of a fictional Congressman who has to fight a wealthy opponent who wants to keep him from voting for a bill that has broad bipartisan support in his district. She illustrated the way that Citizens United opened the floodgates not just to Big Money but to Foreign Money influencing our elections.
She explained that American Promise’s optimism about an amendment lies in the broad, bipartisan public support for it. The North Texas chapter is working to build local support and get more members of our Congressional delegation to sponsor one of the versions of the amendment that’s pending in Congress. Both Rep. Colin Allred and Rep. Marc Veasey have co-sponsored one version, H.J. Res. 2. Like everyone else, the North Texas chapter has gone online. She offers specific things our members can do:
· Write a letter to your member of Congress explaining why you want them to support the constitutional amendment. You can download the letter here, or email AmericanPromiseNTX@gmail.com to get the form. When American Promise is able again to schedule meetings with Congress, they will deliver your letter.
· The organization’s Candidate Pledge Campaign continues. Volunteers are asking candidates for Federal, State and Local offices to sign the pledge stating that they will use their office to advance the amendment. Read the pledge here and email AmericanPromiseNTX@gmail.com if you want to help.
· Follow the local chapter on Facebook and watch the Events schedule for online programs.
· Sign up for the local chapter’s weekly email: contact AmericanPromiseNTX@gmail.com to get on the list.
· If you know other organizations that would welcome this presentation, let them know!