A turning point — if we make it one

There’s no getting around it; today is a bad day for our democracy.

In McCutcheon v. FEC, the Supreme Court this morning struck a blow on behalf of the powerful and against the hundreds of millions of Americans whose voices now can be further drowned out by the wealthiest one percent. The decision is a disaster, astonishing in its willful ignorance of the realities of campaign finance — and in the fact that it is not at all surprising coming from this court.

So what can we do?

We can rededicate ourselves to the fight for public financing systems that enhance the clout of small donors. This struggle is being waged at the state level and there are promising signs for its success.

We can renew the fight for meaningful disclosure laws. The court today again highlighted the value of disclosure as a counter to the influence of big money.

We can resolve to work for long-term changes in the legal system, so that future cases are reviewed and decided consistent with our Constitution and our fundamental values of democracy and equality.

We can engage our lawmakers to ensure that our election laws protect everyone’s right to vote and we can resolve as citizens and activists to see that every eligible voter has a meaningful opportunity to vote.

Around America today, people are rallying at 140 locations in 38 states to voice their discontent with politics as usual – as amplified in this decision. These rallies are just one piece of a long term fight for a stronger, more equitable democracy.

There is plenty to fight for. Let’s get on with it.

For more on the McCutcheon decision, click here. Read Common Cause’s press release here.

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4 Responses to “A turning point — if we make it one”

  1. Andrew Fisher April 3, 2014 at 5:42 am

    It was a call from Common Cause that summoned me and my camera to the Chicago rally against the recent McCutcheon v. FEC US Supreme Court ruling in Federal Plaza this afternoon. I just finished uploading them to this web page for you and many others to see: http://www.puregrassrootsinfo.org/photowebs/DemoAgainstSupremeCourtRuling040214/index.html

  2. Ron Schoenherr April 3, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    On election days three weeks ago former Common Cause employee and now NPR contributor, Peter Overby misled NPR listeners by stating that outside funding from Democrats (from a recent period) had outpaced that from Republicans. Open Secrets and the Center for Integrity both had information online on election day that outside Republicans PACs had outspent Democrats. If NPR’s comment section was any indication, NPR’s listeners were misled by Overby’s report. Overby then did several stories critical of union and Democratic funding of elections. I am wondering why Overby left Common Cause or ever worked there in the first place.
    http://www.npr.org/2014/03/11/289092268/outside-groups-lay-millions-on-florida-special-election#comment-1284290667

  3. The Roberts court’s next step may be to abolish donation caps. SCOTUS already killed public campaign funding in Arizona, saying giving matching public funds to the rival of a self-funded candidate “burdens” the self-funder’s free speech. (Roberts never said how boosting one candidate’s speech can burden another’s. The wealthy candidate’s speech is not limited or made difficult in any way, just because an opponent can match it. And the wealthy guy could always take the public funding too. The only “right” this system burdened was a self-funder’s “right” to drown out others.)
    But the Roberts court could not strike down a second self-funding candidate’s right to “match” the expenditures of a first. Nor, presumably, the right of any citizen or organization to contribute funds that effectively “match” and level the field. Roberts’ opinion only says the >governmentnon-government< group to provide matching campaign funding along the exact same lines as their public system that the Roberts court killed? Like a huge public-interest PAC that’s basically neutral, funded by low-dollar public donations and giving theoretically unlimited funds to any candidate of any party who follows its rules? Surely Roberts and his cronies would hate it, since it would again foil the ability of their wealthy friends to drown out everyone else, but could they find legal basis to kill it?

    • the 2nd part of my comment got garbled:

      But the Roberts court could not strike down a second self-funding candidate’s right to “match” the expenditures of a first. Nor, presumably, the right of any citizen or organization to contribute funds that effectively “match” and level the field. Roberts’ opinion only says the government can’t do it.
      So once caps are gone, could the citizens of Arizona create a private, non-government group to provide matching campaign funding along the exact same lines as their public system that the Roberts court killed? Like a huge public-interest PAC that’s basically neutral, funded by low-dollar public donations and giving theoretically unlimited funds to any candidate of any party who follows its rules? Surely Roberts and his cronies would hate it, since it would again foil the ability of their wealthy friends to drown out everyone else, but could they find legal basis to kill it?