Fight back against Citizens United!

Take Action
Today you have an important opportunity to take an essential first step to fight back against Citizens United and the deregulation of the campaign finance system. Click here to urge President Obama to clean house at the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Already in this important election year, new Super PACs are flooding elections with huge expenditures from million-dollar donors. Because they are supposedly “independent” from the candidates, and with new loopholes from the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited amounts from corporations and individuals, and they can do so with limited disclosure.

While there are different avenues that can be taken to fight back against Citizens United and cut the influence of special interests, you can join us by taking the first step today by urging President Obama to appoint new commissioners to the FEC. Among other duties, the FEC can define what election efforts are “independent” from the candidates.

The FEC is supposed to be the agency that enforces campaign finance laws, but it is dysfunctional. Of the six commissioners at the agency, three of them staunchly refuse to enforce the law, and five of the six are serving despite expired terms. It is time to clean house.

We need real campaign finance reform, and getting President Obama to nominate new commissioners to do their duty and enforce campaign finance laws is a good place to start. In the next 30 days we need to gather 25,000 signatures of support.

Don’t just sign it yourself; post the petition on Facebook, Tweet about it and forward this note to all of your friends. Together we can make sure that the citizen’s voice is heard.

For extra reading, click here for an interesting discussion of the new Super PACs presented by PBS.

Watch Are Super PACs Living Up to Supreme Court’s Intentions? on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

Supreme Court Public Financing Pilot Project Press Conference

Kathy Stolz spoke on behalf of WV League of Women Voters at this press conference put together by Natalie Tennants office.  The Supreme Court public financing pilot project would provide funding to participating candidates for the 2012 Supreme Court races.

Supreme Court Public Financing Pilot Project Press Conference from SoS Natalie Tennant on Vimeo.

Special Interests

Take Action
In this year’s elections, secret money ran rampant.  Corporations and unions were able to spend unlimited amounts, without having to disclose their expenditures, to support or oppose candidates.  If we’re going to scrub our democracy clean with a strong dose of transparency that eliminates this kind of spending in our elections then we need action before Congress calls it quits for 2010.

Take action to send a critically important message to your Senators.

There is a small window of time for Congress to pass the DISCLOSE Act in its “lame-duck” session that ends in just a few weeks.  We, as concerned citizens, must take action to protect future elections. The DISCLOSE Act would empower voters by forcing groups bankrolled by anonymous donors to disclose the sources of their funding and their political spending.

Secret money has no place in our democracy.

TAKE ACTION

1. Contact your Senators now and tell them to support the DISCLOSE Act.

2. Send this alert to other concerned citizens – your grassroots network, your friends, neighbors and coworkers. Encourage them to contact their Senators today!

BACKGROUND

Learn more about what the League is doing to support campaign finance reform.

Sign up to receive Action Alerts directly by email. Don’t miss an opportunity to take action! It’s easy to sign up and the League will never share your email with others.

LWVUS Press Release about DISCLOSE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 23, 2010
www.lwv.org

Contact: Kelly Ceballos
202-263-1331
kceballos@lwv.org

OBSTRUCTIONIST POLITICS PREVAILS OVER CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM

Voters on the Losing Side of Political Gamesmanship

Washington, DC – The League of Women Voters of the U.S. issued the following statement by national League President Elisabeth MacNamara on the obstructionism that prevented the Senate from beginning debate on the DISCLOSE Act today. The DISCLOSE Act aims to restore transparency to U.S. elections after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

Continue reading LWVUS Press Release about DISCLOSE

DISCLOSE Act falls short by 1 vote in the Senate

Elisabeth MacNamara, president of LWVUS, reports what happened in the Senate today:

Today in Washington we fell short by just one vote in our continuing battle to pass the DISCLOSE Act, which would restore transparency to U.S. elections by requiring disclosure of corporate and union spending in candidate elections.

She went on to say that we will not give up the fight, and clarifies why:

This bill would require corporate and union CEOs to stand by their ads and expose special interest groups behind last-minute attacks. It stops manipulation of elections by fly-by-night hit groups, and prevents U.S. corporations controlled by foreign – or even hostile – governments from pumping secret money into our elections.

Walk Across Usa To Abolish Corporate Personhood

Two brothers,  Laird and Robin Monahan, are walking across the United States from San Francisco to focus attention on the Citizens United v. FEC decision, the issue of corporate personhood, and the need to amend the Constitution to say that corporations are not entitled to personhood rights, and money is not equivalent to free speech.  They will be in the Parkersburg area on September 26, 2010 and in Charleston on September 27, 2010.

Laaird and RObin

While their personal goals are not endorsed by the League of Women Voters, the LWVUS recently issued an action alert about the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act, that failed to pass through the Senate earlier this year, but that is expected to be brought up for a vote again this week.

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) released its decision in Citizens United v. FEC on the morning of January 21, 2010, allowing corporations to be considered persons with respect to free speech rights in elections. This was a big victory for entities like Citizens United, which had produced a film called Hillary, The Movie and wanted to show it within 60 days of the primaries, thereby, violating the 2002  McCain–Feingold Act. On the other hand, LWVUS had presented an Amicus Brief in the case that supported retaining existing federal election campaign finance laws governing campaign contributions by corporations. On February 3, 2010, Mary Wilson, president of the LWVUS, released a strong statement before the Committee on House Administration about “Defining the Future of Campaign Finance in an Age of Supreme Court Activism” in response to the SCOTUS decision.  Her conclusion powerfully defines the Leagues sentiments:

Conclusion.  The League of Women Voters believes that the Court’s majority decision in Citizens United v. FEC was fundamentally wrong and a tragic mistake. The majority mistakenly equated corporate free speech rights with those of natural persons.  And the majority confused associations of individuals with corporations.  But this is the decision of the Court.  Even though we believe it will be overturned eventually, both in the judgment of history and in the law, Congress needs to respond now, recognizing its own authority and responsibility to uphold the Constitution.

Until the question of personhood for corporations is resolved, the least that voters should expect is the right to know the identity of those paying for the candidates’ campaigns.

DISCLOSE Act

Take Action
Earlier this year the DISCLOSE Act failed to pass through the Senate. The legislation, which would restore transparency to U.S. elections by requiring disclosure of corporate and union spending in candidate elections, is expected to come up for a vote again this week.

Your Senators could cast the deciding votes. Urge your Senators to protect elections from being controlled by special interest dollars. Tell them that voters deserve to know who is paying for election advertising.