Corporate Money Unplugged

February 23, 2012
By Linsey Pecikonis | 0 comments

There is no question that a wealth gap that has not been seen since before the Great Depression currently exists in our country. Reid Cramer explains it nicely in Mother Jones recent estimates indicate that while the top 1 percent earn 21 percent of the nations income, they possess 36 percent of the total wealth. This is especially troubling because while income dictates how well youre doing today, it is access to wealth (the stock or resources) that creates opportunities down the line." In the end it seems as though the joke just might be on us those of us who still believe we can achieve the American Dream. For months local communities have stood up against the Citizens United decision trying to block its effect at whatever local level they can. For example, last week the U.S Supreme Court blocked Montanas Supreme Courts decision in December that upheld the states ban on corporate spending. The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the decision out of Montana by a five member majority claiming, corporations independent spending in elections does not corrupt or even appear to corrupt the political process. This block opens the door for more challenges to Citizens United, which could cause another major uprising across the country - one where citizens directly challenge corporate influence in politics. Democracy for America is laying the groundwork for a grassroots surge to overturn Citizens United. So far, we collected over 100,000 signatures that support a resolution for a constitutional amendment from Sen. Bernie Sanders that would overturn Citizens United and create the clear distinction that corporations are not people. All over the country, DFA members are fired up. In over 26 states, members activated their personal networks asking their friends and family to come and meet with their senators and ask them to support Senators Sanders because the corporate influence in Americans politics must end. In Washington, DFA memberLiz Campbell and ten petition signers delivered over 4,000 signatures to Sen. Cantwell and Sen. Murrays office asking them to support reversing the Citizens United decision. Senator Murray said, If Citizens United is allowed to stand, these Americans are going to be drowned out and beaten down by the onslaught of unlimited and anonymous money special interests can throw into races to support candidates who agree with them. In neighboring Oregon, DFA Member Christy Richardson met with Senator Merkleys office to share over 3000 petitions that Oregonians do not believe that corporations are people and Citizens United should be overturned. Senators Merkleys office later said, Every person should have a right to their say thats the beauty of the First Amendment. But corporations are not people, they are legal entities created by our laws to foster commerce. In California, the state that gathered over 19,000 signatures against Citizens United, DFA members Jim Pratt and Bill Nuttle delivered the signatures to Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. California has seen its fair share of corrupt politicians (does Richard Pombo ring a bell?) and the state's progressive communities remain committed to ending corporate influence inpolitics. Moving across the country to Texas, over 3,000 DFA members signed onto the petition supporting Sen. Sanders constitutional amendment to overturn citizens united. While members are just getting organized to deliver petitions you can bet your boots that Texans are tired of corporate influencing their politicians decisions. Jumping to Ohio -- Sen. Sharrod Brown faces a tough reelection due to the influence of corporate cash. Ohioans have joined forces and will deliver over 2000 petitions later in the week to Sen. Browns and Sen. Portmans offices. Sen. Brown believes that Citizens United is the wrong decision for America and has stated Corporations and foreign interests should not have a louder voice than everyday Americans when it comes to our elections, while Sen. Portman will most likely follow the influence of corporate cash like his GOP presidential hopefuls have. Across the country DFA members have stood with the 99 percent and said enough. The waterfall of money flooding politicians offices and their uncoordinated Super PACS needs to be corked and real members of democracy - citizens not corporations - should have influence over their representatives inside the beltway. If this years primary is any indication what our electoral process will look like until Citizens United is overturned, our democracy is in trouble. Never before have so few had such a major influence over the future of our country. Our politicians should not look at the size of our pocketbooks when voting on legislation and should end the influence of corporate money and wealthy funders. This movement is just beginning - and DFA members, members like you are leading the charge.

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