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Jan. 15, 2015

Rally to Mark Fifth Anniversary of Citizens United

Citizens to Highlight U.S. Chamber of Commerce – a Dark Money Conduit – and Call for an End to Corporate Money in Politics

WHAT: Rally to mark the fifth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and shine a light on the fact that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the biggest secret spender in elections. Speakers will explain how corporate political spending influences a range of issues that affect Americans.

The rally is part of a day of events being held throughout the country to mark the fifth anniversary of Citizens United and call for measures to curb the influence of corporations and the wealthy over politics. Other events include a press conference on Capitol Hill by congressional lawmakers, who will reintroduce measures to curb spending in elections, and protests throughout the country.

The Chamber was both the largest overall spender in the 2014 congressional elections among outside groups that do not disclose their contributors. It was the largest such spender in 28 of the 35 races in which it was involved, according to a Public Citizen analysis released last fall. And although the Chamber purports to represent all business, its funding base is a handful of giant corporations; more than half of its contributions came from just 64 donors. The Chamber is the largest lobbying organization in Washington, D.C., by far.

The Chamber invested very heavily and successfully in the 2014 elections to defeat populist-minded tea party candidates somewhat independent of Big Business control in primaries and to elect corporate-minded candidates in the general election.

In addition to Public Citizen, conveners of the rally include: 350.org, 99Rise, American Family Voices, Center for Media and Democracy, Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Coffee Party USA, Common Cause, Communications Workers of America, Courage Campaign, Daily Kos, Endangered Species Coalition, Food & Water Watch, Franciscan Action Network, Free Speech For People, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Jobs With Justice, NJ for the Overturn of Citizens United Coalition, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Progressive Democrats of America, People For the American Way, Price of Oil, Public Campaign, Sierra Club, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Stamp Stampede, SumOfUs, U.S. PIRG, Unitarian Universalist Association, Democracy for America, Corporate Accountability International, Other98, Oil Change International, MoveOn and Northern Virginia Move To Amend.

WHEN: Noon-1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21

WHO: U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)
Robert Weissman, president, Public Citizen
Rhana Bazzini – an 82-year old grandmother who recently walked 400 miles across Florida to raise awareness of money in politics
The Rev. William Lamar IV, senior pastor, Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, D.C.
Alexis Goldstein, communications director, The Other 98%
Fatmata Jabbie, Wal-Mart employee and activist
Sandy Rusher, organizing director, Communications Workers of America
Sarita Gupta, executive director, Jobs With Justice
Rochelle Rice, singer, All Souls Festival Choir

WHERE: Lafayette Park, H Street between 15th and 17th Streets NW, Washington, D.C.

VISUALS: Banner and stickers of a $100 bill with the phrase “Money [not equal symbol] Speech” stamped on it.

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