Movement to Fight Big Money Sets Sights on State, Local, and Federal Reforms in 2016

U.S. PIRG and Allies Release Report on Money in Politics Reform Victories Since Citizens United and the Road Ahead in 2016

U.S. PIRG Education Fund

WASHINGTON, DC – On Monday, U.S. PIRG and a coalition of six national organizations released “Our Voices, Our Democracy: Victories Since Citizens United and the Road Ahead Empowering Voters Over Wealthy Special Interests,” a new report documenting the effort to reduce the influence of big money in politics and empower American voters. In addition to detailing victories since Citizens United, the report highlights opportunities for reform over the coming year.

“Voters across the country are proving that regular Americans can stand up to big-money politics and win,” said Dan Smith, Democracy Campaign Director for U.S. PIRG. “Today’s report takes an inside look at how reformers have won victories against Citizens United and where those changes are headed next. As today’s presidential race shapes up to be the most expensive in our nation’s history, clean election supporters have found big money’s weak spot — people power.”

As the report notes, opportunities for election reform over the coming year exist at the local, state, and federal level.

Key opportunities highlighted by the report include:

  • From California to South Dakota, there are more ballot initiatives in 2016 to rebalance the system so it works for voters than in any previous election cycle.
  • This December, D.C. Councilmembers introduced their own small donor empowerment legislation, following major victories in Maine and Seattle, where residents voted to create and strengthen fair election initiatives this past November.
  • After receiving more than one million petition signatures in support, President Obama is “seriously considering” signing an executive order to disclose political spending by federal contractors.

Thousands of Americans organized by hundreds of organizations representing a diverse array of constituencies will pour into Washington D.C. between April 11-18 for mass civil disobedience, demonstrations, concerts, teach-ins, a rally, lobbying and more.

In addition to outlining a strong, coordinated plan of action that will make 2016 a critical year for ensuring a government truly of, by, and for the people, the report summarizes the range of nationwide victories building momentum for change.

According to the report, past highlights include:

  • More than 5 million people have signed petitions urging Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn decisions like Citizens United since 2010. Moreover, sixteen states, the District of Columbia, more than 680 cities and towns, and a majority of the U.S. Senate in 2014 have called for an amendment.
  • At least 23 states have enacted new disclosure rules since 2010 to ensure the public’s right to know the big donors trying to influence our elections.

States and cities have acted to pass, defend, and strengthen citizen-funded election systems that amplify the voices of small donors, including in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland’s Montgomery County, Seattle, and Tallahassee.

Organizations that authored the report include U.S. PIRG, Center for Media and Democracy, Common Cause, Demos, Every Voice, People For the American Way, and Public Citizen.

The full report can be found here.


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With public debate around important issues often dominated by special interests pursuing their own narrow agendas, U.S. PIRG Education Fund offers an independent voice that works on behalf of the public interest. U.S. PIRG Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization, works to protect consumers and promote good government. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public, and offer Americans meaningful opportunities for civic participation.