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851,000 Signatures and Counting: ‘Obama, When Will You Curb Dark Money?’

Nov. 10, 2015

851,000 Signatures and Counting: ‘Obama, When Will You Curb Dark Money?’

Activists From 57 Groups Nationwide Call for Obama to Issue an Executive Order Requiring Federal Contractors to Disclose Political Spending

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On behalf of a broad coalition of 57 organizations, Public Citizen today delivered more than 851,000 signatures from people nationwide urging President Barack Obama to issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose political spending.

Activists also flooded the White House switchboard today as part of a national call-in day, urging Obama to act.

The groups that gathered signatures are listed at the end of this release.

“President Obama has repeatedly denounced the influence of money in politics,” said Public Citizen President Robert Weissman. “Yet, so far, his administration has done nothing to combat this corruption before the 2016 elections are in full swing. Time is running out.”

Corporations can spend hundreds of millions of dollars on elections with no public knowledge or accountability. More than 40 percent of the outside expenditures in the 2014 elections were made by groups that did not fully disclose their donors. The amount of money in elections skyrocketed after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, which permitted corporations and the wealthy to spend unlimited sums to influence elections.

But with the stroke of a pen, Obama could sign an executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose their political spending. Doing so would force the disclosure of political spending by at least 70 percent of the Fortune 100 companies. And it would lessen the very real risk of corruption in the contracting process due to secret spending by companies seeking or doing business with the government.

It also would show voters that that the government can, in fact, take action to restore our democracy and correct the imbalance of power created in the wake of Citizens United.

Momentum for such an order has been growing all year. In April, Public Citizen and other groups rallied outside the White House and presented more than half a million petition signatures calling on Obama to issue an executive order. On that same day, activists in 30 states held events calling for an executive order. In addition, activists flooded the White House telephone lines with 6,000 calls in one day demanding an executive order.

In June, 130 congressional lawmakers sent strong letters to the president asking him to finalize an executive order requiring those who receive federal contracts to fully disclose their political activities.

It’s not just good government groups that are pushing for contractors to disclose political spending information. A variety of voices – the New York attorney general, representatives from the Latino community, gun safety advocates and others – are pushing too.

The groups that gathered signatures are: ActivUs, American Family Voices, Avaaz, Ben & Jerry’s, Brennan Center, California Clean Money Campaign, Campaign for American’s Future, Center for Effective Government, Center for Popular Democracy, Code Pink, Color of Change, Common Cause, Communications Workers of America, Corporate Accountability International, Courage Campaign, CREDO Action, Daily Kos, Demand Progress/Watchdog.net, Democracy For America, Democracy Matters, Democrats.com, Demos, Earthworks, Energy Action Coalition, Environmental Action, Ethical Markets Media, EveryVoice, Food & Water Watch, Franciscan Action Network, Free Speech for People, Friends of the Earth, Grassroots NC, Greenpeace, Harrington Investments, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Issue One, Just Foreign Policy, Justice Party, Mainstreet Alliance, MoveOn.org, North Carolina Voters for Clean Elections Coalition, OurTime.org, Pay 2 Play, People Demanding Action, People For the American Way, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Progressive Democrats of America, Progressives United, Project On Government Oversight, Public Citizen, Roots Action, Sierra Club, StampStampede, The Other 98%, The People’s Email Network, USAction, U.S. PIRG.