June 9, 2016
Proposed Democracy Reforms Are Critical to Restoring Voter Confidence in the Political Process and Government
#WeThePeople Proposals Range From Disclosure of Political Spending to Amending the Constitution to Overturn Citizens United, to Revolving Door Reforms; Would Begin to Ensure Voters – Instead of Corporations – Are Heard
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Democracy reforms unveiled by lawmakers today are a critical step toward answering the frustrations of voters who feel muscled out of the political process by big corporations and the wealthy, Public Citizen said today.
The package unveiled by the lawmakers – associated with the hashtag WeThePeople – includes measures to increase disclosure of political spending by corporations, rein in out-of-control super PACs, reform the Federal Election Commission and address revolving door abuses. It also includes a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.
“It is morally unacceptable that just a few hundred superrich people and corporations are dominating election spending and exercising an outsized influence over who runs for office, who wins, what gets debated and what policies are ultimately adopted,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “The proposals put forth today are a key step toward righting this wrong. We either address the problem of Big Money dominance of our politics, or give up on addressing the nation’s most pressing problems, from inequality to climate change.”
Added Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, “People understand that the system needs to be cleaned up, and they are demanding that it happen now. This package will set the stage for this election and beyond, and help show citizens that proposals exist that can begin to restore our democracy.”
Election spending by the wealthy and outside groups has skyrocketed since the 2010 Citizens United ruling. This presidential election cycle is expected to shatter the officially reported $6.3 billion in spending in 2012.
Polls show that voters across the political spectrum feel cut out of the political process. They believe too much money is in politics. They support an amendment to overturn Citizens United, disclosure of political spending by corporations and more.
And they are starting to mobilize. In April, as part of Democracy Awakening and Democracy Spring, thousands of people from around the country poured into Washington, D.C., to march, rally, attend teach-ins and engage in civil disobedience. It was the largest democracy-focused protest in a generation.
In addition, more than 1.2 million signatures have been gathered in support of a rule by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to disclose political spending, and on Wednesday, numerous organizations rallied outside the White House calling on President Barack Obama to live up to his rhetoric and move on democracy reforms such as an executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose their political spending.