Citizens United is about to Get Much Worse and No One is Talking About It

photo via Reuters

How much worse?

On Oct. 8, the Supreme Court is poised to take up a case that we all need to pay attention too. In McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Court will rule on whether aggregate contribution limits are constitutional.

The media buzz surrounding the case is minimal, but don’t be fooled: this attack on key campaign finance regulation could hugely increase the power of big money to decide elections.  McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission is yet another attempt from the GOP to drown out the voices of average Americans and unfairly tilt the scales— it’s Citizens United 2.0.

Again?! Who’s the culprit?

Plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon built his fortune as CEO of Coalmont, an engineering firm specializing in coal mining; eliminating net giving limits would allow McCutcheon to drown out average Americans while supporting the dirty energy agenda. And because the Republican National Committee so wants donors like McCutcheon to enjoy unfettered donation privileges, it has joined McCutcheon as an appellant on the case.

And they think this is fair?

In Citizens United, the Supreme Court eroded our first line of defense against big money by allowing unlimited donations to groups with political agendas as long as they don’t coordinate with candidates. Now McCutcheon, the RNC and their legal team want to eliminate our last line of defense — contributions directly to candidates and committees. A ruling against aggregate contribution limits would lay the groundwork for the elimination of candidate contribution limits, which would effectively eliminate the average American from the conversation.

Why we should pay close attention to this

McCutcheon’s lawyers have won before; lead counsel Jim Bopp was a driving force behind Citizens United. And we’ve already seen what Citizens United has done. One study revealed that the ruling had an immediate effect on funding in the 2012 election; of the $465 million spent on the presidential election by September, $365 million could be attributed to the Supreme Court’s ruling. Money in politics is already hard enough to fight without additional regulatory rollbacks.

A ruling against the FEC would further drown out the little guy — it’s difficult for politicians to focus on middle class voters when the rich can donate $93 million to a campaign. This case is less about McCutcheon’s gains than about the average American’s losses; money speaks volumes in politics, and it is profoundly unfair to allow the most affluent among us to exert virtually unlimited influence on our nation’s policymakers. We believe that everyone deserves an equal voice, even if they can’t donate to a campaign. After all, there’s a reason we’re not called Plutocracy for America.

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Categories: Big Business Campaign Finance Elections

WATCH: Jon Stewart and Robert Reich Solve Income Inequality

Robert Reich dropped by the Daily Show to discuss his new movie, Inequality for All (watch the trailer here), as usual a thorough and fascinating discussion ensues.

At 2:30 Robert Reich exposes that income inequality is a direct assault on the American Dream

At 2:50 He picks up the Howard Dean mantra, You Have the Power!

At 4:00 He quotes Winston Churchill, telling us to be upbeat.

At 5:00 Jon Stewart sets up a Slam Dunk for why the conservative movement could not be more wrong about income inequality.

At 6:48  Robert Reich lays out some pretty shocking numbers.

At 7:00 Jon and Robert solve income inequality... it's just that simple.

In Part Two, Robert Reich tells you why you can’t give up on politics.

What do you think we need to do to solve this crisis? 

PS Don't forget to sign up to join Robert Reich and Howard Dean on a conference call to discuss Income inequality this Wednesday.  

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Categories: Campaign Finance Economy and Jobs

Minimum Wage -- I'm Not Loving It.

This week, we learned that the income gap between the rich and the rest of us is greater than it's been since the 1920's. The 1% are pulling in profits hand over fist while most Americans struggle to make ends meet. It's unacceptable and we need change now. Congress could alleviate some of the economic pain and close the gap by raising the minimum wage, but we all know that the Republicans would never let that happen. 

But that doesn't mean that progress needs to wait. Multi-billion dollar corporations like McDonald's could improve the lives of millions of working Americans tomorrow by paying their employees a living wage instead of locking them in near the minimum wage. McDonald's workers went on strike recently to demand better pay, but they can't win this fight alone. McDonald's won't change unless the American public stands behind these workers and demands it.

Tell McDonald's that you've had enough - no working American deserves to live in poverty. Pay your employees a living wage. 

Last year, McDonald's brought in $5.5 billion dollars in profits - and tripled its CEO's salary. But the majority of its employees make less than $16,000 a year. Many of these workers are adults caring for ailing parents or young children, and a salary that low makes it nearly impossible for them to survive. Most of them have to hold down multiple jobs. Many frequently go hungry.

McDonald's has responded to public pressure to make positive change happen before. Decades ago, environmentalists turned up the heat on McDonald's over the use of plastic foam packaging, which isn't biodegradable. The corporation resisted at first, but after the environmentalists educated and rallied the public McDonald's listened to the people and introduced more eco-friendly packaging.

They've listened before. Let's make them listen again.

Join us and tell McDonald's to pay their employees a living wage now. 

Thank you for standing up for workers,


Karli Wallace, National Campaign Organizer
Democracy for America

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Categories: Economy and Jobs

Chris Christie is wrong.

While he’s putting on a show down in Texas to get GOP support for a potential presidential run, Chris Christie has proven to be out of touch with the state he supposedly governs, and New Jersey deserves better.  His extreme policies have consistently favored the wealthy and big businesses, while he continues to ignore the interests and values of the people who elected him to office.  Not to mention, he has completely gutted the budgets for education, public services, and health care.

Although he claims to be a moderate, he remains firmly against marriage equality, responsible environmental policies, and women's reproductive rights.  Instead, he aligns himself with far-right republicans, slashing critical state aid to institutions he believes to be unnecessary.  Clearly, it’s time for a change in New Jersey.

Fortunately, there is a progressive option for governor: Barbara Buono. 

New Jersey should support a real leader who will represent real progressive values.  Democratic State Senator Barbara Buono is committed to turn New Jersey around.  She offers a progressive vision for the state and has delivered before.

Help us elect Barbara Buono and stop Chris Christie.

During her time as Budget Chair, Buono proved that you can cut billions in wasteful government spending without sacrificing critical funding for education, healthcare, and public services across the state.  She has worked tirelessly for the rights of LGBT citizens in New Jersey, sponsoring marriage equality legislation in 2008, and expanding the state’s hate crime laws to include protections for the transgender community.  Her commitment to women’s rights is unwavering, fighting to keep health clinics like planned parenthood open and firmly supporting the right to choose. Unlike Christie, Buono supports common sense solutions to reduce gun violence, offering a comprehensive plan that includes universal background checks to close the private sale loophole for gun purchases. 

Barbara Buono is a clear champion for DFA values in New Jersey, and deserves your support for Governor. 

Just remember: 

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