Most oppose unlimited corporate campaign spending

Most Americans know they have a constitutional right to freedom of speech, and for a clear majority, that does not translate into allowing unlimited spending by corporations or labor unions on political campaigns, according to a new survey.

Americans oppose unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions by a 2-to-1 margin

according to poll results released Tuesday by the Freedom Forum’s First Amendment Center.

The poll found 63 percent believe corporations or unions should not be able to spend as much as they want supporting political candidates

Most oppose unlimited corporate campaign spending –

Constitutional Amendment: An Overwhelmingly Popular Idea

American as Apple PieWhen an overwhelming majority of Americans–regardless of their political leanings–in poll after poll show that they are sick of the campaign funding system we have, suspicious of the government it creates, critical of the ‘Citizens United’ ruling, and supportive of a Constitutional Amendment to start to fix all of this… 

Town Meeting’s upcoming vote on Article 23 is about the most un-controversial action we can take!

Though the policies and the legalese can become complex, at the end of the day, the issue is simple: corporations–economic entities with a legalistic ‘personhood’ structure–are not people, and are not protected by the Bill of Rights.

When the highest bidder can buy our elections, your single vote counts less and less. Our ability to decide what we want for our town–our local control of our priorities and values–is undermined at the very foundation.

Our forefathers left England to escape a system where the aristocracy controlled everyone’s fates. But we have allowed that same scenario to be recreated in our campaign financing system, and Citizens United just made it worse.

The politicians who are now enslaved to the corrupting system cannot be relied on to advance the changes we need. It has to start with the People.

Let’s do this!

See you Monday.

POLL: Voters Care About Money in Politics

“Money in politics is not a distraction from the economy, it is the economy.”

New poll, findings as summarized by

  • Money in politics is not a distraction from the economy, it is the economy. For ordinary Americans, this is not an either/or proposition; it is not question of addressing money in politics at the expense of talking about pocketbook problems. Voters believe that Washington is so corrupted by big banks, big donors, and corporate lobbyists that it no longer works for the middle class.
  • Voters feel strongly about reducing the influence of big money in politics and there is broad-based support to alternatives to the current system. Voters are supportive of small-donor matching systems with limited public financing and support common sense restrictions on what corporations and wealthy donors can spend on politics.
  • Voters will strongly support candidates — from both political parties — who seize this issue. Voters do not currently trust either party to tackle money in politics. All voters, and swing voters in particular, strongly support candidates who are willing to take on money in politics as a serious campaign issue. In fact, more than a third of all voters make this a litmus test for their support.

See more here.

Barry Goldwater (R-AZ)

Many people look on successful candidates as being bought and paid for by whomever gave the most money.

To make representative government work the way the framers designed it, elected officials must owe their allegiance to the people,

not to the wealth of groups who speak only for selfish fringes of the whole community.


The public does not have any doubt about the power of money.

Every poll taken shows that the vast majority of Americans believe campaign spending is a very serious problem and that those who contribute large sums of money have too much influence over the government.

Our nation is facing a crisis of liberty if we do not control campaign expenditures.

We must prove that elective office is not for sale.

We must convince the public that elected officials are what James Madison intended us to be, agents of the sovereign people, not the hired hands of rich givers.



A Conservative Voice for Reform from Battles Past

Bipartisan Consensus: Unlimited $ Leads to Corruption

New Poll: Super PAC Spending Has Produced Widespread Perceptions of Corruption

By significant margins, Americans believe new rules allowing individuals, corporations, and unions to donate unlimited amounts to SuperPACs will lead to corruption.

These beliefs are held equally by both Republicans & Democrats.

  • 69% agreed that “new rules that let corporations, unions and people give unlimited money to Super PACs will lead to corruption.” Only 15% disagreed.  Notably, 74% of Republicans and 73% of Democrats agreed with this statement.
  • 73% agreed that “there would be less corruption if there were limits on how much could be given to Super PACs.” Only 14% disagreed.  Here, 75% of Republicans and 78% of Democrats agreed.
  • Only about 1 in 5 Americans agree that average voters have the same access to candidates (and influence on candidates) as big donors to Super PACs.  Two-thirds of Americans disagree.

Broad Bipartisan Majorities Believe Elected Officials Favor the Interests of Super PAC Donors over the Public Interest

Large majorities of Americans believe that members of Congress will favor the interests of those who donate to Super PACs over those who do not — and that Super PAC donors can pressure elected officials to alter their votes.

  • More than two-thirds of all respondents (68%) — including 71% of Democrats and Republicans — agreed that a company that spent $100,000 to help elect a member of Congress could successfully pressure him or her to change a vote on proposed legislation.  Only one in five respondents disagreed.
  • More than three-quarters of all respondents — 77% — agreed that members of Congress are more likely to act in the interest of a group that spent millions to elect them than to act in the public interest.  Similar numbers of Republicans (81%) and Democrats (79%) agreed.  Only 10% disagreed.

The Perception that Super PACs Have Excessive Influence over Government Threatens Grave Consequences for Participatory Democracy

An alarming number of Americans report that their concerns about the influence of donors to outside political groups make them less likely to engage in democracy.  Communities of color, those with lower incomes, and individuals with less formal education are more likely to disengage due to concerns about how much influence is wielded by Super PAC donors.

  • Two in three Americans — 65% — say that they trust government less because big donors to Super PACs have more influence than regular voters.  Republicans (67%) and Democrats (69%) uniformly agree.
  • One in four Americans — 26% — say that they are less likely to vote because big donors to Super PACs have so much more influence over elected officials than average Americans.

Republicans, Independents, Democrats Agree: It Undermines Democracy

New polling reveals an increasing number of voters concerned about the role of money in politics.

The poll found the majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents in agreement with the following statement:

“Given what I see in the presidential race,

I am fed up with big donors and secret money that controls which candidate we hear about.

It undermines democracy.”

Campaigns and Elections, Jan. 2012

Broad, Bipartisan Support for a Constitutional Amendment

68% of Republicans

82% of Independents

87% of Democrats

would support a Constitutional Amendment that would overturn the Citizens United decision and make clear that corporations do not have the same rights as people.

Addressing these key questions of our democracy is not a partisan issue. It’s a “We the People” issue.

Learning from the Suffragettes

In this inspiring and provocative essay, author Theo Anderson explores the similarities between the push to reform campaign financing and overturn Citizens United, and the suffragette movement of the early 20th century. Read the whole piece here, or an abridged version below:

In truth, the momentum for reversing Citizens United was never going to come from the White House, much less from Congress. Both are too deeply enmeshed in the system to invest much effort in reforming it.

The energy to defeat the ruling will come, if it comes from anywhere, from old-fashioned grassroots activism. And on that front, the outlook is more promising than you might guess. There’s good news and bad news, and some more good news.

The first piece of good news is that Citizens United isn’t a partisan issue: a substantial majority of voters favor imposing limits on the influence of money and lobbyists in American politics (poll).

The bad news is that reversing Citizens United is only the first step if we’re serious about addressing corruption in American politics. To believe that reversing the ruling a panacea is to believe that “our democracy was fine and Citizens United broke it.

But of course, the democracy was already broken,” as Lawrence Lessig, who directs the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard, has observed. He argues that the Left and the Right can agree that the influence of money is a major reason for the corruption of our politics, and calls for them to join forces and replace the current system with public financing and limited private donations.

The second piece of good news is that there is a well-marked path toward achieving both the immediate goal of overturning Citizens United and the broader goal of replacing our current system of campaign finance. It involves building on the accomplishments of campaigns at the state and local levels.

Building on state-level activism and incremental progress – with the ultimate aim of passing a constitutional amendment that addresses both Citizens United and the general corruption of our politics – has an important precedent. It was the strategy used by the woman suffrage movement a century ago, at a time when passing an amendment that guaranteed women the right to vote seemed about as likely as purging corruption from our politics seems today.

Continue reading

Turned off from politics? Blame the campaign finance arms race.

In an opinion piece in the Washington Post today, Steven Pearlstein argues that despite the reasonableness and moderateness of the American electorate, the increasing polarization of our politics has hit a fever pitch.  Candidates are more extreme and less able to compromise.  Why? Pearlstein argues it is because of campaign financing:

Public opinion polls consistently report that Americans aren’t happy with these developments — they don’t like partisanship or gridlock — and that their views on issues are closer to the center than to the extreme positions in either party.

And it’s not just the voters. Politicians themselves are frustrated at not being able to get things done; they chafe at their loss of independence and public respect; they loathe the endless fundraising needed to wage unending partisan warfare.

So if voters and politicians don’t like it, why does this polarization persist?

Something fundamental seems to have changed in the political marketplace. The winning strategy is no longer to be more moderate than your opponent, to offer a bigger tent. Instead, it is to be more zealous and committed to your party’s ideology.

This transformation has its roots in what has become the dominant reality of American politics: the arms race in campaign finance.

Candidates and parties now raise and spend enormous sums, well beyond what would reasonably be needed to provide for a well-informed electorate and well beyond what is raised and spent in other advanced democracies.

These days, the average Senate candidate raises and spends $9 million to win election, which works out to slightly more than $4,000 for each day of a six-year term.

For the average House candidate, it’s $1.4 million, or just under $2,000 per day in office (including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays). These sums are several times what they were 25 years ago.

Read the rest of at the Washington Post.

Small Business Owners

The latest poll results reveal that

small business owners believe unlimited corporate political spending in elections is detrimental to small business success.

Small business owners across the country are in broad disagreement with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

With 2/3 of respondents believing this change is bad for small business and another 88% of them negatively viewing the role money plays in politics overall,

Small business owners’ perspectives are clear:

Unlimited corporate political spending in elections hurts the interests of small businesses, America’s jobs engine.

Small Business Poll Results: Money in Politics