Fighting Big Money in Politics

The richest of the 1 percent have increasingly been able to put their mark on our democracy. Their values and interests differ from those of everyday Americans, and their mega-dollars diminish the votes and power of the rest of us. But we have the power to build a people-powered democracy. People need to get involved and adopt common sense reforms at the local, state, and federal level to ensure that the American people have a say in our government and the policy choices they make.

Concrete steps like the 2015 measure for clean, accountable elections in Maine and democracy vouchers in Seattle promote fair and just standards that eliminate barriers for people from all walks of life to run for office, not just a wealthy few. These reforms make a real impact on the lives of minorities, young people, people with disabilities, and working people. For instance, Connecticut was the first state in the nation to require paid sick leave for most employees. The passage of that law followed closely on the adoption of a law to fund campaigns with small contributions only. Not only are their solutions, there is a growing movement of people committed to solve the problem.

Small changes in cities and states are important first steps in the fight for fair, accountable campaign spending and a government that is truly of, by, and for the people. Breaking down the barrier of money in politics, however, will not be easy. The 25 largest donors collectively contributed $261 million in disclosed contributions and tens of millions more in undisclosed contributions in 2012. They have good reason to oppose laws that will amplify the voices of everyday citizens, because most of those voices - 7 in 10 of all Americans - support campaign finance reform. If we all work together, we can shift the balance of our democracy back to the people and show our leaders that the best way to get elected is with our votes, not their money. 

The DI Report: Shelby County, Constitutional Amendment, CWA Legislative Conference, & Delaware

The DI Report

This summer, the Democracy Initiative continued to fight for our democracy and engage activists around the country to stand up for our future. The stakes have never been higher as powerful interests are spending unprecedented amounts in campaign contributions and the health of our voting rights remains tenuous in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act and new laws implemented since the last election that circumscribe the ability of many to vote.  ... Read More

Democracy Initiative Partners and Allies Release Statements Supporting Passage of Fair Elections in Montgomery County, MD

Press Release

Washington, DC – This afternoon, Montgomery County Council passed Bill 16-14, a landmark fair elections law empowering small donors. Specifically, the bill allows candidates to raise low-dollar donations from individuals in their district to qualify for matching funds. Once a candidate meets the threshold to qualify, donations of $150 or less are matched with public funds, with smaller donations receiving a higher match. In exchange, candidates agree to turn down large... Read More

Democracy Initiative Partners and Allies Release Statements Following  Senate Vote on Democracy for All Amendment

Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Democracy Initiative coalition partners and allies released statements following the Senate vote on the Democracy for All constitutional amendment following a week-long debate. With 55 Democrats unanimously supporting the amendment, but failing the 67 vote threshold, it is clear that public pressure is mounting to end the post-Citizens United regime of unlimited dark money threatening our democracy.

Continue reading for statements released by... Read More

Democracy Initiative Organizations Release Statements in Support of Democracy for All Constitutional Amendment

Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, coalition members of the Democracy Initiative released statements in support of the historic Democracy for All constitutional amendment, currently being debated in the U.S. Senate. Introduced by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), the amendment seeks to restore Congress’ authority to regulate campaign finance and curb the influence of big money in politics once and for all.

Continue reading for statements... Read More

The DI Report: McCutcheon, NY Public Finance, and National Voter Registration Act

The DI Report

Welcome to the second installment of the Democracy Initiative’s newsletter. We have continued our fast pace and remain actively engaged on the critical issues facing our country. This has been a tough month in the wake of McCutcheon, but we remain determined to save our democracy from big money and special interests.

Please continue reading for an update on our recent work.

Supreme Court Hands Down Disappointing Decision in McCutcheon v. FEC
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The DI Report: Virtual Teach-In, Government By the People Act, and More

The DI Report

Welcome to the first installment of the Democracy Initiative's monthly newsletter. We have had an exciting start to 2014 and look forward to advancing the critical issues facing our nation: money in politics, voting rights, and Senate rules reform. 

We would like to take this opportunity to update you on our recent work. 

2014 Democracy Initiative Convening 

On January 8, 2014, the Democracy Initiative held a follow up meeting to our first large... Read More