Americans awoke on Sunday morning, December 14, to find that, in passing a budget to run the federal government for the coming year, our elected leaders have also enacted two unrelated amendments. They have greatly increased the amount of money individuals can pour into election campaigns and they have loosened the regulations enacted after the 2008 financial crisis to curb damaging speculation in Wall Street and the banking system.
But while Congress is opening the gates wider to the influence corporations and private wealth on government and democracy itself, people across the country have begun to speak from the grassroots at the ballot box. In November 2014 elections, citizens in dozens of communities voted in margins of 70% and greater for their legislators to pass a Constitutional Amendment to clarify that limiting money in election campaigns does not limit ‘free speech’. There is a growing tide across the country to get big, anonymous money out of politics and to clarify the rights listed in the constitution are the rights of individual people only.
Do you want to help Washington state become the 16th state calling for an amendment to the US Constitution? Please click on ‘get involved’ and sign up on the registration form. You will get a monthly newsletter to keep you up to date and when we will need help when we sponsor our next initiative.
Would you be willing to support our cause financially? We have so far survived only with small donations. Our biggest donation so far has been $3000. Our smallest less than a dollar. We need funds to keep this website up and safe, mailbox rental, printing, room rentals, etc. We have no paid staff when we are not in campaign mode. We are all volunteer. Our expenses are bare bone and necessary. Please help and click on the donate button.
Looking for a great stocking stuffer gift this year? Check out Ben Cohen’s stampstampede.org at http://www.stampstampede.org Currently there are over 26,000 people across the country stamping messages like “Not To Be Used for Bribing Politicians” on dollars to help build the movement to overturn Citizens United and get big money out of politics. Visit their online store and pick up an anti-corruption stamp for you and everyone on your list.
Although we didn’t collect enough (300,000) signatures on our initiative to make it on the ballot this first time around, we are really proud that with no major funding and less than 2000 active volunteers, we were able to get almost 175,000 signatures. Professionals in the political nonprofit arena had dared us to get >10,000.
Each signature represents a Washington voter who’s had enough of the current political system where the voice of Big Money drowns out the voices of We the People. Where our democracy, as well as our environment, economy, and human rights, are threatened by short-sighted, greedy special interests. We will not rest, just because a deadline has come and gone.
Our cause is still just. Sixteen other states have passed similar resolutions, and more will – and we will, sooner or later – either in our Legislature or by another initiative, next year or in 2016. And there’s lots to do right now.
For instance, right now we are working to ensure that the next Washington state Legislature is more supportive of a stronger resolution. We will pin each lawmaker and candidate down – did you support Initiative 1329, and would you support a similar measure in the Legislature? And we will reveal their position, and work to support our supporters. Keep watching our Politicians for Democracy webpage for updates, and for the latest list of candidates’ forums here, leading up to the November election for members of the US Congress and for the State Legislature.
In 2015, we will mount another initiative campaign, but this time it will be an Initiative to the Legislature, rather than to the People, which will give us the whole summer, too, to gather signatures – 8 months instead of just 5. If you want to help gather signatures sometime between April and December next year contact us.
In the US Senate, Senate Joint Resolution 19 didn’t pass, but it got a majority (54-42), and just that it got a vote and a healthy vote at that, is a major accomplishment. Both our Washington State Senators and all the Democratic Congressmen co-sponsored it! There will be more, similar bills in Congress, and we will back every one, even if it’s not ALL we want.
Our ideal amendment wording would clarify that:
- The rights of people protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of human beings only.
- All citizens should have equal voice in the political process, and no person or artificial legal entity should gain undue influence over government as a result of financial resources. To meet this goal, federal, state, and local governments shall be fully empowered to regulate all political contributions and expenditures.
- All political contributions and expenditures shall be publicly disclosed in a full and timely manner.
WAmend is a coalition of grassroots organizations who believe that unlimited and anonymous money has corrupted our political system. Our mission is to put the State of Washington on record as calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment will empower the people to pass laws which will limit and control money in politics. We believe this amendment is needed to declare the intent of the people to make political candidates and representatives responsive to the needs and desires of the people alone.
Here are the full text of the initiative, the 75 Word Summary, and the 30 Word Concise Description that were on the official Initiative 1329 petition.
Enjoy John Nichols’ rip-roaring, inspiring address from his appearance at the 28th Amendment Roadshow in Seattle May 3 2014. It’s 57 minutes, but you won’t believe it’s that long! But if you don’t have that much time, you MUST – please – watch the last part.
That same day former WAmend Coordinator Jay Heyman, a retired rabbi, offered a moving insight into the moral foundation of his involvement in the Get Big Money out of Politics movement.
And for a quick overview of the problem of money in politics, watch a delightful, fast-moving, partly-animated, 8-minute video that explores the inordinate power that corporations exercise in our democracy. Stars Annie Leonard. Courtesy of Story of Stuff Project.