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.

 Supreme Court "Justices" Florence Vincent and Susan Eidenschink present a certificate to Senator Maria Cantwell's staff, certifying that >160,000 Washington voters signed our initiative - and asking why she can't co-sponsor SJR19 - as Patty Murray already has.  Their robes flaunt corporate logos.

On July 2, Supreme Court “Justices” Florence Vincent and Susan Eidenschink presented a certificate to Senator Maria Cantwell’s staff, certifying that almost 175,000 Washington voters signed our initiative – and asking her to co-sponsor SJR19.  A couple of weeks later, she did – as Patty Murray already had. Their robes flaunted corporate logos.

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, SJR 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! Here is the amended Durbin text:

  That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States: `Section 1. To advance democratic self-government and political equality, and to protect the integrity of government and the electoral process, Congress and the States may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections. `Section 2. Congress and the States shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation, and may distinguish between natural persons and corporations or other artificial entities created by law, including by prohibiting such entities from spending money to influence elections. `Section 3. Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress or the States the power to abridge the freedom of the press.’.

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.