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Rallying for Democracy at the State House

2015-04-02 McCutcheon Rally 1

Democracy activists held dozens of rallies around the country today to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon decision.

Nationwide, the rallies focused on public disclosure of political contributions by federal contractors. Organizers urged President Obama to issue an executive order requiring any company that receives a federal contract to disclose its campaign contributions.

In New Hampshire, that issue was also raised last week by presumed presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul.  “I think special interests have too much influence in Washington,” he told the Conway Daily Sun.  “I think what makes people mad is, say you’re a contractor and you get a billion-dollar contract, the first million you take is to hire lobbyists to get you more.”

The Sunlight Foundation recently studied the 200 corporations which have been most politically active at the federal level.  The Foundation found that for every dollar spent influencing politics, the corporations received an average of $760 back from the government in contracts, tax breaks or other support.

Groups around the country organized rallies today to draw attention to the issue of political activity influencing federal contracts, and to pressure President Obama to take action on the issue.

However, at the New Hampshire State House today, the McCutcheon anniversary rally took a more rebellious tone.

Speaker Jim Reubens, a Republican candidate for US Senate in 2014, spoke about the campaign for a Constitutional Convention which could revise our form of government and reduce the influence of Big Money.

Speaker Arnie Alpert, NH Co-Director of the American Friends Service Committee, led rally attendees in a reading of Article 10 of the New Hampshire Constitution:

[Art.] 10. [Right of Revolution.] Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.  June 2, 1784

As the Stamp Stampede mobile billboard circled the State House, some attendees reflected on “Head Stamper” Ben Cohen’s observation to the Portsmouth Herald last month. “It’s becoming the rule of the corporations and the ultra wealthy elite instead of the rule of the people,” he said. “The whole history of this country has been people revolting against elitism.”

The two dozen activists returned to the State House today less than a day after a massive rally protesting decisions by the House of Representatives to cut needed government programs rather than raise tax revenues. “These are the types of decisions that cause voters to question the loyalty of our elected officials,” said Paul Brochu, StampStampede Lead Organizer-NH.  “Budgets are, above all else, choices about priorities.  In a more-perfect world, our elected officials would make these sort of decisions based on the best interests of their constituents. But we live in a world where political donations speak louder than votes.”  Read more here and here.

Today’s rally was organized by the New Hampshire Rebellion, in partnership with the Stamp Stampede, AFSC-Governing Under the Influence project, People for the American Way and NH Citizens Alliance.

2015-04-02 McCutcheon Rally 2

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The Stamp Stampede is tens of thousands of Americans legally stamping messages on our nation’s currency to #GetMoneyOut of Politics. As more and more stamped money spreads, so will the movement to amend the Constitution and overturn Citizens United.

You can get your own stamp online at www.stampstampede.org. Or, if you’re a member of CWA, you can get a stamp from your LPAT coordinator. The average stamped bill is seen by 875 people – which makes stamping a highly-effective way to get the message out about how money in politics is corrupting our government.

It’s time to #GetMoneyOut of politics and take back our government.

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About Liz Iacobucci

Liz Iacobucci is the former Public Information Officer for the State Employees’ Association of New Hampshire, SEIU Local 1984. Over the past three decades, she has served in government at the federal, state and municipal levels; and she has worked for both Democratic and Republican politicians.
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