Common Cause: Holding Power Accountable

MAY 20, 2011 

Putting Your Mouse Where Your Values Are

For weeks, we’ve called on and waited for President Obama to sign an executive order that would require federal government contractors to reveal their political spending. Your voice has been loud and resonating — you support this order and want the President to sign it. Twelve thousand of you signed our petition to the President in the first 12 hours it was online.

At the same time, groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which funneled $32 million in secret money into the 2010 elections, are trying to stop the President from standing up for the American people.

Corporate donors may be afraid to reveal their political dealings but you’ve never been afraid to speak out for what’s right. So we decided to give you the chance to do that in a very public way — an online rally using social media to spread our message and gain support.

On Wednesday morning, May 18, Common Cause posted the following message on the White House Facebook page:

President Obama: An informed electorate is the bedrock of our democracy. But today, millions of dollars from secret donors are flowing into our elections, depriving voters of critical information as we evaluate appeals for our support. You can lift the veil shrouding part of that money. We urge you to sign an executive order to require companies doing business with the federal government to disclose their political spending. These companies are using profits gleaned from our tax dollars to make investments in our elected officials; we have a right to know what they’re up to. (More info:

If you haven’t done so already, there’s still time to speak up!

Sign our petition
 and share it with your friends and family. We’re delivering these on Tuesday, May 24, and want to make sure your name is included!

And you can still leave a comment on the White House Facebook page.

On the Common Cause Facebook page and Twitter stream, we asked you to like our comment, add your own comments, and sign our citizens’ petition. Our goal: make it impossible for the President and White House to ignore our collective voices.

The results were inspiring:

  • 620 citizens liked this social media action
  • 157 added their own comments of support
  • eight thousand more signed our citizens’ petition, bringing the total number of signatures to 23,239.

Our Twitter hashtag #discloseEO was used so much that it became a trending topic in the Washington, D.C. metro area. More than 177,000 people used #discloseEO to help us gain more likes, comments, and signatures.

Those numbers are impossible to ignore. On Tuesday, May 24, Common Cause will deliver your petition signatures, Facebook likes and comments, and tweets to the White House, so there’s no doubt where you stand on this issue.

Thank you for helping us harness the power of social media to amplify this message and create more support for disclosure by government contractors.

Here are some of our favorite Facebook and Twitter posts from Wednesday:

RT @CommonCause: Democracy=transparency. @BarackObama - sign the exec order! #discloseEO @WhiteHouse (JessicaRothhaar, Twitter)

“Corporations have no soul to be damned and no body to be kicked." -- Mark Twain. Corporations are not US citizens and do not deserve to have the rights of citizens. At least let us see what the no good bums are doing to us peasants. (Jean Alford, Facebook)

B/c of #CitizensUnited elections are for sale; we should know who’s buying them. @BarackObama sign #discloseEO (Rick Alan, Twitter)

Americans have the right to know who is purchasing our government and what our government and its representatives are purchasing with taxpayer dollars. (Sherry Golightly, Facebook)

WE the PEOPLE according to our Constitution elect our leaders, not corporations. Sign the EO please Mr. President. I want to see who is corrupting our process before I vote. Public funding for campaign finance! Get these corporate villains out of here. (Chris Morrissey, Facebook)

Candidates depend on TV commercials and the media to get elected. We need to know who's buying the time. (Michele Kelly, Facebook)

Make our elections mean something again. @BarackObama – sign the executive order! #discloseEO (SLarsFL, Twitter)

Righto, you good folks at Common Cause have been speaking truth to power for the longest. You're each and all epitomizing genuine "public service," and you are loved. (Lew A. Welge, Facebook)

#CitizensUnited put elections up for sale; we shld know who’s buying them. @BarackObama sign #discloseEO (jrflanagan, Twitter)

@BarakObama @WhiteHouse If corporations get to speak with their pockets, we the people have a right to know their power. #discloseEO (clfep, Twitter)

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Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy, reinventing an open, honest and accountable government that serves the public interest, and empowering ordinary people to make their voices heard in the political process.