Every American has a right to know that the companies doing business with our government aren’t gaming the system by spending huge amounts of money in politics to help them secure huge government contracts.
Americans of every political persuasion agree that money has too much power in our government and we are tired of hearing politicians pander to us about the problem and taking no action on a solution. Since the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, millions of Americans have put cynicism aside, joining together to take action – and demand President Obama end secret pay-to-play deals in federal contracting by signing an executive order requiring corporations that currently have federal contracts to disclose their political spending, including money they funnel through groups like the Chamber of Commerce and other advocacy groups.
You can join us by sharing this video in our “Tweet @POTUS” campaign to make sure the White House sees what millions of Americans have done to urge him to act, and act now.
What is this about?
Every American, it seems, has heard of the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision, Citizens United. It opened the doors to ever-increasing amounts of secret money from corporations and other special interests. Each election cycle since has set spending records and 2016 will blow them all away, with predictions of $9-10 billion dollars spent on this election.
It took two election cycles for people to realize the full impact of Citizens United, but as they did, it became an iconic symbol of how horribly out of balance our political system is.
It was the 2014 Supreme Court decision in McCutcheon where public outrage, building in isolated cities and towns for four years, boiled over into national outrage reflected in 150 protests in 41 states starting within two hours of the decision. Journalists noted the overwhelming response on Twitter where the outrage reached 1.1 billion readers.
The White House took notice and opened a dialogue with advocates from Common Cause, Democracy 21, People for the American Way, Public Citizen, US PIRG, and the Democracy Initiative and its founding members the Communications Workers of America, Greenpeace, NAACP, and Sierra Club. Representing the collective anger of millions of our members, we briefed senior staff and started a process urging President Obama to act that continues when you tweet this video @POTUS today and every day until he does.
That was more than 25 meetings and two years ago when we first asked President Obama to sign an executive order shining light on secret money in the federal contracting process. It will impact 70 of the top Fortune 100 companies. For the businesses covered by the executive order, it represents no more than the addition of a few boxes to fill out on existing forms.
But for our democracy it represents so much more in that it will:
- Honor a core value that everyone has a right to know how government conducts business with tax dollars;
- Be the first federal action to strike back against the Citizens United and other Supreme Court decisions that have wrongly made money more powerful than people;
- Help many still cynical Americans who believe nothing can be done to fight big money realize there are solutions – in addition to disclosure and transparency reflected in the executive order -- that are reason for hope and that they can bring to their communities; and
- Shift the conversation from the problem caused by giving money power over people in a democracy to a national debate about what the American people are already doing to put a check on money’s power and restore balance to our democracy.
Mr. President, as an organizer you famously said, “make me do it” referring to reforms people want and need you to lead on. You spoke eloquently about a “Better Politics” in two State of the Union speeches and continue to around the country. For the millions of Americans reflected in this video who trust you will honor your word and take action once you see all they’ve done, we say, it’s time to sign the executive order.
Please watch and Tweet this video @POTUS.
Karen Hobert Flynn (@KHobertFlynn) is president of Common Cause, a nonpartisan citizen advocacy organization with 475,000 members and offices in 35 states working at all levels of government for a democracy that works for everyone.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Money in Politics