Common Cause Launches “Amend2012” Effort

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  • Dale Eisman

Common Cause Launches “Amend2012” Effort Aims to Give Voters a Direct Voice in November on Overturning Citizens United

New Strategy Provides a Roadmap and Tools for Citizens in all 50 States to Demand a Return to Common Sense in Elections;

Launch features website and video with Robert Reich

Two years after the Supreme Court turned unlimited corporate money loose on our elections in the reckless Citizens United decision, Common Cause has launched a national effort to help voters strike back.

The nonpartisan government watchdog today announced a 50-state drive to give voters a voice to push back on corporate political spending, and build toward national referenda calling on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United.

“A huge majority of Americans reject Citizens United and want a government of, by, and for the people, not of, bought and paid for by the special interests,” Robert Reich, chairman of Common Cause’s National Governing Board, said Tuesday on a telephone press conference. “This campaign will help people make their voices heard at the ballot box, where the elected officials who must pass an amendment ignore them at their own peril.”

The campaign launched with a new website,, featuring a call-to-action video with Reich using an animated whiteboard to explain the damage being done to our democracy by Citizens United, and urging citizens to get involved with Amend2012. The video, which will be available Wednesday, was produced by The New Media Firm. The campaign will also rely on social media, using Facebook and Twitter to generate participation and enthusiasm.

Amend2012 provides a creative and ambitious addition to the constitutional amendment movement by giving voters a direct opportunity to make their voices heard NOW, during the 2012 elections, on the need to overturn Citizens United. The campaign aims to give voters the tools to put “voter instruction” measures on the November ballot in as many states as possible, either by voter initiative or action by the state legislature. The measures would instruct Congress to adopt a constitutional amendment to make it clear that corporations are not people and authorize campaign spending limits.

“The Supreme Court misread the Constitution and ignored common sense in Citizens United,” said Bob Edgar, Common Cause’s president and CEO. “Most Americans are appalled by how big corporations and other special interests have hijacked our government and drowned out our voices by pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns from the courthouse to the White House. It’s time to restore common sense to our elections and democracy.”

The campaign will provide a roadmap and tools for citizens to push the issue onto the November 2012 ballot. Common Cause is actively exploring potential ballot campaigns in three states – Colorado, Massachusetts and Montana – where initiatives are permitted, and will work with allies and activists on the ground to assess options in an additional six states where it is still feasible to put an Amend2012 initiative on the fall ballot – Arizona, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and Washington. In non-initiative states, Common Cause will work to get bills introduced in state legislatures and major municipalities that would refer an advisory question to the fall ballot.

Common Cause will tap its national network of thousands of volunteer activists to promote the campaign, reach out to allied groups, and use social media to recruit and organize citizens to circulate petitions and lobby legislators.

The Amend2012 strategy has the potential to re-engage disenchanted drop-off voters, including many attracted by the “Occupy” movement, or the Tea Party, to inject issues of corporate control and big money in politics directly into the presidential and key congressional races.

“The Occupy movement, and the Tea Party before it, provides powerful evidence of the frustration Americans of all political stripes feel about our government’s coziness with special interests and unresponsiveness to everyday citizens,” Edgar said. “Amend2012 is a bottom-up grassroots strategy designed to give voters the tools they need to force the issue into the 2012 elections.”

This week marks the second anniversary of Citizens United, which has sparked record spending in national politics, including hundreds of millions of dollars provided by undisclosed and virtually untraceable donors. The presidential race is expected to shatter all fundraising records, while Super PACs, born of the Citizens United decision, pose as independent but operate as subsidiaries of the campaigns and do the candidates’ dirty work.

“We will not, we cannot, solve our nation’s other critical problems until we rein in the power of these special interests,” Edgar said.

Common Cause coordinates its constitutional amendment work with a broad coalition of reform groups, and has been involved in efforts in a number of cities that have already passed resolutions supporting a reversal of Citizens United, including New York, Los Angeles, Portland, OR, Boulder, CO and Missoula, MT.

For more information, or to request an interview with Robert Reich or Bob Edgar to discuss Amend 2012, please contact Mary Boyle at

For more information, also visit