Public Citizen for #WeThePeople

Lisa Gilbert at #WeThePeople launchLast week Public Citizen was proud to join Senate Democrats to announce a new policy agenda to curtail big money’s influence in elections.

Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, joined nine senators and other progressive organizations outside the Capitol to debut a package of commonsense policies that will bring the voices of the people back to the electoral process.

Some of the parts of the #WeThePeople agenda would:

  • Demand transparency from corporations, trade associations, and tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups that are playing in politics while keeping their donors secret;
  • Close unethical lobbying loopholes that give special interests special access to government officials through lax lobbyist registration policies;
  • Better enforce existing campaign finance laws by creating a new agency to serve as a campaign finance watchdog to hold candidates accountable;
  • Slam shut the “revolving door” between Wall Street and Washington – a practice which rewards former bankers for taking roles in government in the very agencies that are meant to protect Main Street from Wall Street recklessness; and
  • Overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision by constitutional amendment.

As money floods into elections in every state across the union, the voices of ordinary people are drowned out beneath the avalanche of money the 1 percent is able to dedicate to their special interests – and it’s time to brings back the voice of the people to the political process and renew their faith in a government that works.

Billionaires, Big Businesses, and their lobbyists have had too large a say in politics for entirely too long – and the problem was only exacerbated by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United which has opened a floodgate to SuperPAC and secretmoney.

A New York Times poll found that 84 percent of the Americans on both side of the aisle believe there is too much money in politics, and 94 percent believe it’s time for at least some kind of campaign finance reform – evidenced by the thousands of passionate activists that joined us to demand a money in politics reforms at Democracy Awakening in April.

Public Citizen  stood with  Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Al Franken (D-MN), Angus King (I-ME) and Charles Schumer (D-NY), and representatives from the Center for American Progress, Democracy 21, and Voices for Progress to debut the #WeThePeople policy proposal as a critical first step towards reclaiming our government and achieving the reforms that we have been fighting for since the Citizens United decision.

Keira Thompson is the online advocacy organizer in Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.