We the People Claim Our Democracy: I-1329 Launches
WAMEND, the statewide coalition supporting a constitutional amendment, has launched a campaign to have Washington join with 16 other states that have called for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and other disastrous Supreme Court decisions. The Initiative calls upon Congress to pass an amendment to the states declaring that only natural persons have inalienable rights and that money is not speech. Washington Public Campaigns is one of 29 WAMEND members and is recruiting signature gatherers, training speakers and encouraging endorsements over the next months. Gathering 350,000 signatures by June 25 will require an intensive volunteer effort.
Other states that have passed resolutions or initiatives are Illinois, Deleware, West Virginia, Maine, Colorado, Montana, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, Maryland, Vermont, New Mexico and Hawaii and Oregon. Go to www.wamend.org to find out more about I-1329.
Government by the People Act
A campaign to reform public financing of Congressional elections in the U.S. House of Representatives has been launched. The good news is that three House members from Washington State are co-sponsors (Jim McDermott, Adam Smith and Derek Kilmer) . The bad news is that seven are not Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Doc Hastings, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Dave Reichert and Denny Heck). Introduced by Rep. Sarbannes, the Act would reduce corruption and the influence of big money in government.
A central element of the Act is to encourage small donations by giving a $25 refundable tax credit to donors to Congressional campaigns. The buy in for members of Congress is the establishment of a fund that will match small donations at a $6-1 ratio and if they pledge to not take money from PACs the match for contributions up to $50 goes up to $9-1 ratio.
Several of WPC’s national allies are working on building support for the Act: Public Campaigns, People for the American Way, Public Citizen and Bold Progressives to name a few. Read the press release issued by WPC HERE.
Anything Happening in Washington State’s Legislature?
YES! Washington Public Campaigns has testified on two bills: HB 2525, a public financing mechanism for state Supreme Court races, and SB 6098, a disclosure bill to tighten up requirements for disclosing contributions from “incidental organizations” that are not considered political action committees, but are funding campaigns. Testifying on HB 2525, Alice Woldt, WPC’s Executive Director, said the highest court in our state must be held in trust by its citizens as “unbiased, impartial and independent.” The increasing level of spending on judicial races erodes that trust, said Woldt. Rep. Reuven Carlyle introduced HB 2525 and made the point that we can do better than the way judicial campaigns are funded now. SB 6098 is aimed at uncovering the dark money in campaigns, especially initiative campaigns. The bill provides for transparency of uber contributions from organizations donating $100,000 or more to statewide offices or initiatives and $20,000 or more to legislative races. An unusual feat for this legislature, the bill sponsored by Andy Billig of Spokane has bi-partisan support from the Governmental Operations Committee.
See and hear Lawrence Lessig’s TED talk – We the People, and the Republic We Must Reclaim.
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