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Ayotte Calls On Maggie Hassan To Take The People’s Pledge – No I am Not Joking

Kelly Ayotte 3 (Gage Skidmore)Senator Ayotte makes a mockery of the Campaign Finance Reform movement by calling on Governor Hassan to sign the “People’s Pledge”

After voting to block a bill to reverse the disastrous Citizens United decision Senator Ayotte is now calling for her Democratic opponent to take the “people’s pledge” to keep third party spending out of the race for NH’s U.S. Senate seat. (Full text of the People’s Pledge below.)

In her press release Ayotte said:

“… I believe New Hampshire voters deserve a campaign that focuses on the issues they care about most,” Kelly wrote. “I also believe that we owe it to the people of New Hampshire to have an honest discussion of our respective records and stand behind the ads run on our behalf. But excessive spending by third party special interest groups threatens to drown out New Hampshire voices in our race and undermine the meaningful debate that our citizens expect and deserve.”

It is ironic that she would be calling on Hassan to take the People’s Pledge after she routinely rejects attempts to reverse the overwhelming amount of money pouring into our elections from unknown billionaires and unnamed corporations.

“Ayotte said she supports reform in Washington, especially federal tax reform, but said she doesn’t support campaign finance reform efforts that seek to change the U.S. Constitution.”
[Union Leader, 1/7/15

(Ayotte) I think that on terms of campaign finance, one thing that I need to understand is that, if you look at Citizens United, it’s decided under the first amendment of the constitution. And I’ll be honest, the constitution’s important to me, as I know it is to all of you. And so, if we’re going to look at amending the constitution, I think that’s very, very tricky and can be very dangerous. And so I worry when I see proposals that are amending the first amendment of the constitution, because I’m not sure we’re going to get it as even as half as good as the people that drafted the constitution, and so I can’t support that. “ [American Bridge, Youtube, 6/12/15]

Just today, Ayotte doubled down on her opposition to reversing Citizens United in an interview with Fosters Daily Democrat.

“I’m certainly open at looking at ways to address the issue as long as they’re even handed and as long as they’re not rewriting the Constitution.”

Previously she’d said that reversing Citizens United would be “absurd” and called for more dark money groups like the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity. And last week, she voted against a measure that would have required big oil companies to disclose their political spending. 

 The Americans for Prosperity spent well over a million dollars on ads in 2015 attempting to discredit Governor Hassan all to benefit Ayotte in the upcoming election. 

“Kelly Ayotte’s attempts to erase her record of siding with special interests over the people of New Hampshire are so transparent as to be laughable,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “Not only has she consistently opposed efforts to reform our campaign finance system and overturn Citizens United but she’s happily accepted millions in special interest money and has a record of voting with the Koch Brothers nearly 90% of the time.”

ayottewontgetmoneyout


Full text of the People’s Pledge: 

The Candidates on behalf of their respective campaigns hereby agree to the following:

  • In the event that a third party organization airs any independent expenditure broadcast (including radio), cable, satellite, or online advertising in support of a named, referenced (including by title) or otherwise identified Candidate, that Candidate’s campaign shall, within three (3) days of discovery of the advertisement buy’s total cost, duration, and source, pay 50% of the cost of that advertising buy to a charity of the opposing Candidate’s choice.
  • In the event that a third party organization airs any independent expenditure broadcast (including radio), cable, satellite, or online advertising in opposition to a named, referenced (including by title) or otherwise identified Candidate, the opposing Candidate’s campaign shall, within three (3) days of discovery of the advertisement buy’s total cost, duration, and source, pay 50% of the cost of that advertising buy to a charity of the opposed Candidate’s choice.
  • In the event that a third party organization airs any broadcast (including radio), cable, or satellite advertising that promotes or supports a named, referenced (including by title) or otherwise identified Candidate, that Candidate’s campaign shall, within three (3) days of discovery of the advertisement buy’s total cost, duration, and source, pay 50% of the cost of that advertising buy to a charity of the opposing Candidate’s choice.
  • In the event that a third party organization airs any broadcast (including radio), cable, or satellite advertising that attacks or opposes a named, referenced (including by title) or otherwise identified Candidate, the opposing Candidate’s campaign shall, within three (3) days of discovery of the advertisement buy’s total cost, duration, and source, pay 50% of the cost of that advertising buy to a charity of the opposed Candidate’s choice.
  • The Candidates and their campaigns agree that neither they nor anyone acting on their behalf shall coordinate with any third party on any paid advertising for the duration of the 2016 election cycle. In the event that either Candidate or their campaign or anyone acting on their behalf coordinates any paid advertisement with a third party organization that Candidate’s campaign shall pay 50% of the cost of the ad buy to a charity of the opposing Candidate’s choice.
  • The Candidates and their campaigns agree to continue to work together to limit the influence of third party advertisements and to close any loopholes (including coverage of sham ads) that arise in this agreement during the course of the campaign.

Jeb Bush Calls For Overturning Citizens United To Stop Super PAC Spending

When asked about the NED pipeline at the VFW Town Hall in Hudson, Bush responded:  "There's a trade-off in this, which is how public policy works. The trade-off is how do you balance the economic interests of working-class families with environmental considerations? And those are best sorted out at the state level, not in Washington, DC," said Bush. After the town hall, Bush told News 9 that he won't be taking sides. "Governor of Florida Jeb Bush at VFW in Hudson, New Hampshire, July 8th, 2015 by Michael Vadon a 09" by Michael Vadon - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

“Governor of Florida Jeb Bush at VFW in Hudson, New Hampshire, July 8th, 2015 by Michael Vadon a 09” by Michael Vadon – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

NH Rebellion claims a victory as more candidates adopt #FightBigMoney agenda before First-in-the-Nation Primary

In New Hampshire campaign stops today, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush added his voice to the national movement to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, a victory for the anti-big money grassroots group NH Rebellion.  In an interview with CNN, later repeated at other events, Bush said “I would turn that [ruling] on its head if I could.”

NH RebellionNH Rebellion Executive Director Dan Weeks welcomed Bush’s shift, even after the former governor raised over $100 million in unlimited contributions to his affiliated Super PACs.  “I am glad Governor Bush has come to agree with the majority of Americans that Citizens United needs to be overturned to end the disgrace of unlimited Super PAC spending in campaigns,” Weeks said.  “Ironic though it is coming from the #1 beneficiary of Super PAC money, Bush’s evolution shows that voters in both parties are finally being heard when they say, overwhelmingly, that our current campaign finance system is corrupt.”

In addition to overturning Citizens United, Bush has called for complete disclosure of campaign donations and for eliminating the dollar-limit restrictions on contributions to candidates’ campaigns.

“Full transparency would certainly be better than the current system, which allows high-dollar political spenders to hide their identities through shady c4 organizations,” Weeks said. “But disclosure doesn’t fix the real problem:  Americans aren’t just angry that we don’t know who is buying our politicians, we’re angry that our politicians are being bought, period.

Weeks noted that, during the course of the New Hampshire primary, several Republican and Democratic candidates have shifted their positions on campaign finance reform.  “There has been a lot of movement in the right direction, as candidates have seen thousands of Granite Staters take to the streets as part of the NH Rebellion, and answered countless questions in diners and town halls,” he said. “Last month, we issued a preliminary candidates scorecard showing how far the candidates have come since we began the marches and birddogging, and it’s encouraging to see the continued movement since.”

Weeks noted that the leading GOP candidate in New Hampshire, Donald Trump, had already endorsed a ban on Super PACs and expressed support for small donor citizen-funded elections, although he had yet to release specifics. “Trump has been speaking about the problem since day one of his campaign – easy enough for a billionaire who doesn’t need outside support.  But just talking about the need for campaign finance reform isn’t enough.  Voters deserve to have some idea of how he plans to fix the system,” Weeks said.

Just yesterday, the NH Rebellion concluded its We the People Convention to #FightBigMoney bringing together over 700 activists from across the political spectrum to hear from issue experts, elected officials and celebrities including actor Sam Waterston, comedian Jimmy Tingle and best-selling author Marianne Williamson.  The Convention included presentations by conservative political consultant John Pudner and former Bush administration official Richard Painter, as well as remarks by GOP presidential candidate Gov. Jim Gilmore and surrogates for the Kasich, Trump, Clinton, and Sanders campaigns.

In the press release sent earlier today, Weeks predicted that the outcome of tomorrow’s First-in-the-Nation Presidential Primary will be driven largely by citizens’ concerns about campaign finance corruption and the candidates’ positions on the issue.  

“Big money in politics has been the ‘silent story’ of this presidential election – and it’s becoming less silent by the day,” Weeks said. “The American people are way ahead of the political establishment in their condemnation of how our government is being corrupted by the political spending of billionaires and special interest groups.”  

New Report Highlights How “We The People” Are Fighting Back Against Money In Politics

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New Report Looks at Wins on Money in Politics Reform Since Citizens United

It’s no secret that the Supreme Court’s misguided Citizens United decision opened the floodgates for an influx of money into our elections. But a new report released today by PFAW and six other organizations highlights what else it did: energize a movement to fight big money in politics that’s made real progress in the six years since the decision was handed down. 

As the report notes, since 2010:

  • More than 5 million people have signed petitions calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United. Sixteen states and more than 680 cities and towns – as well as a majority of the U.S. Senate in 2014 – have called for an amendment.
  • At least 23 states have put in place disclosure rules to ensure the peoples’ right to know about the big donors trying to buy political influence.
  • States and cities across the country have acted to pass or strengthen publicly funded election systems to amplify the voices of small donors, including Seattle and Maine in 2015. 

As the 2016 presidential race sees an increasing focus on the problem of big money in politics, the magnitude of our country’s current crisis can make progress seem unlikely, or even impossible. But as this report outlines, change is already happening in cities and states across the country, as people organize in their own communities for solutions to make sure that our democracy is working for everyone – not just for billionaires and corporations.

The Fighting Big Money agenda calls on candidates to endorse a series of important solutions including:

  • Creating a strong small-donor public financing system
  • Ensuring meaningful contribution limits
  • Protecting the right to vote
  • Advancing campaign disclosure and transparency efforts
  • Overturning Citizens United and Buckley v. Valeo through the Democracy For All constitutional amendment
  • Reshaping the way the U.S. Supreme Court views money in politics issues
  • Making sure lawbreakers are held accountable by replacing the Federal Election Commission with a stronger agency and encouraging the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute criminal violations of campaign finance laws

You can read the full report here.

Below are excerpts from the report:

Mobilizing Millions for Democracy in 2016

“2016 will kick off a year of action to awaken our democracy. In every election cycle since Citizens United, more Americans have fought back against the problems they see and created more energy for the growing national democracy movement…”

2016 Campaigns Underway from Coast to Coast to Strengthen Democracy

“Looking at the year ahead, opportunities to reduce the influence of big money in elections are everywhere — in local towns and communities, in city halls and state legislatures, and in the White House and in Congress. They find their support with voters from every political party, and together, they have the potential to reclaim democracy for voters in every corner of the United States. While this report does not list all opportunities for money in politics reform over the coming year, below is a snapshot of campaigns in 2016…”

One Million Americans Urge President Obama to Use the Power of the Pen

“In December of last year, a broad coalition of 59 organizations delivered one million petitions to President Obama, urging him to shine a light on secret money in elections by issuing an executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose their political spending. Earlier in 2015, 130 congressional lawmakers took a stand on the issue, sending letters to the president that carried the same message…”

Voters in Maine & Seattle Stand Up to Big Money

“On Election Day, 2015, volunteers, activists, and voters in Maine and Seattle took a stand against big money politics. These two victories at the ballot box took place on opposite sides of the country, but the campaigns supporting them tell the story of a single movement – one to put ordinary voters back in control of our elections…”

(There are many more state level examples in the full report. You can read the full report here.)

NH Rebellion Calls on Trump to Make Good on his Statements and Release a Campaign Finance Reform Agenda

Image by Gage Skidmore

Image by Gage Skidmore

Welcoming Donald Trump back to the Granite State today, one day after his latest statement in favor of campaign finance reform, the grassroots organization NH Rebellion called on the businessman to get specific about how he plans to fix America’s broken political system.

“Mr. Trump started his presidential campaign by talking about how our politicians ‘are controlled fully by the lobbyists, by the donors and by the special interests’ – that’s a direct quote from his announcement speech,” said NH Rebellion Executive Director Dan Weeks.

“He has talked a lot about the issue throughout his campaign. It seems to be part of Mr. Trump’s stump speech, and it really resonates with the voters,” Weeks observed.  “Just yesterday, he was on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ saying he supports campaign finance reform.”

“Now, we’re calling on him to put some action behind his comments – to not just keep talking about the problem, but also to tell us exactly what he’s going to do to fix it,” Weeks said.

The Rebellion is promoting its “We the People” Pledge to #FightBigMoney, which includes six bipartisan solutions to the problem of donor influence.   Solutions in the Pledge include: full disclosure of secret donors; banning SuperPACs and overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling; small-donor citizen funding of elections; limiting undue influence from lobbyists and government contractors; ending gerrymandering and modernizing voter registration; and fully enforcing campaign finance laws.  (Take the Pledge yourself here!)

Over the last year, NH Rebellion activists have questioned the presidential candidates hundreds of times to demand their support of the “We the People” pledge, and won commitments from all three Democratic candidates. Republican candidates, including Donald Trump, have voiced broad support for portions of the Pledge, and the group is actively seeking specific commitments ahead of the New Hampshire primary.  A full review of candidates’ statements, including videos taken by activists as Town Hall forums can be found at www.questionR.us

“We were glad to hear Mr. Trump disavowing SuperPACS last October,” Weeks said.  “We were happy to hear, in his media statement, that he himself ‘will not be controlled by the donors, special interests and lobbyists who have corrupted our politics and politicians for far too long.’  But he still hasn’t explained how he would fix things, other than having candidates self-fund their own campaigns like he does.”

“I am sure Mr. Trump has a plan to solve this problem, some solution other than only allowing rich people to run for president,” Weeks said.  “We are calling on him to use his visit to Concord today to announce some specifics of his plan.”

————

nh_rebellionThe NH Rebellion is a cross-partisan movement drawing attention to the issue of money in politics.  The group was inspired by the legendary “Granny D,” who walked across America to raise support for the campaign finance efforts of Sen. John McCain and Sen. Russ Feingold.  To date, about 2,000 members of the Rebellion have walked a total of more than 30,000 miles, through all kinds of weather, raising awareness about big money in politics.  www.nhrebellion.org

Upcoming events include:

Wednesday, January 20th starting at 6:00 pm in the Aldermanic Chambers of Manchester City Hall: “Faithful Democracy,” a panel discussion of faith leaders including Sr. Simone Campbell of NETWORK/Nuns on the Bus and Patrick Carolan of the Franciscan Action Network.

Thursday, January 21st starting at 10:00 am in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building in Concord: press conference commemorating the sixth anniversary of Citizens United, about reform efforts in the context of the presidential campaign.  Followed by a full day of actions held in conjunction with the US Rebel Alliance, a non-partisan group using the cultural energy of Star Wars to fight political inequality. www.usrebelalliance.org

February 5 – 7, in Veterans Park, Manchester: “We the People Convention” featuring presidential candidates, national reform leaders and entertainers, educational and artistic programming in a huge heated tent.  http://www.nhrebellion.org/convention

Bipartisan Leaders Call on NH House to End Endless Spending in Elections

House committee votes Tuesday on whether to make NH 17th state to call for a Constitutional Amendment overturning Citizens United

Concord, NH – A group of New Hampshire leaders from both political parties is calling on state lawmakers to put an end to endless spending by billionaires and special interest groups in elections, a practice it believes is undermining American democracy. 

The Open Democracy Advisors support a comprehensive campaign finance reform agenda that includes repealing the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, full disclosure of secret outside spending, and small-donor citizen funded elections. One part of that agenda, a bill instructing Congress to overturn Citizens United, is scheduled for a committee vote in the NH House on Tuesday. 

Citizens United has been an all-out disaster for democracy,” said Betty Tamposi, former Assistant Secretary of State under President Bush and an Open Democracy Advisor. “We teach our kids that the size of your wallet shouldn’t determine your standing as a citizen, but thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court and an intransigent Congress, the opposite is true today. We call on our state representatives to instruct Congress to overturn Citizens United by passing SB 136.”

“There is nothing more destructive of good politics and good policy than secret special interest money in elections,” added John Broderick, the former Chief Justice of the NH Supreme Court and an Open Democracy Advisor. “Left unchecked, it will consume our electoral process and silence the voice of the people.”

On Tuesday, the House Legislative Administration Committee will hold a long-anticipated vote on SB 136, the bipartisan bill to study the effects of Citizens United on New Hampshire elections and weigh the various constitutional amendments proposed in Congress. The bill clearly states “the need for a U.S. Constitutional Amendment to address the Citizens United ruling and related cases, that protects New Hampshire’s ability to make its own laws regarding campaign finance while protecting the First Amendment.” In March, the State Senate approved the measure by unanimous consent.

Tamposi, Broderick, and ten other New Hampshire leaders from across the political spectrum are part of Open Democracy, the nonpartisan nonprofit founded by legendary reformer Doris “Granny D” Haddock in 2009. Open Democracy and allied groups have campaigned actively to translate public anger over money-in-politics corruption into positive action for reform, with a special focus on the 2016 presidential primary currently under way. As a result of their efforts, 69 New Hampshire towns have passed warrant articles at town meeting calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and some 12,000 Granite Staters have echoed the call through petitions. 

WHEN: Tuesday, October 13 at 9:30am (vote scheduled for 10:30am)

WHERE: Legislative Office Building, Room 104

In January 2014 and 2015, hundreds of concerned citizens marched over 200 miles in frigid temperatures across the state to protest big money corruption as part of Open Democracy’s NH Rebellion campaign. The Rebellion has led more than a dozen walks and logged 30,000 miles throughout New Hampshire since 2014, with an eye to making money in politics reform the leading issue in the upcoming presidential election. Over 500 citizens rebels have volunteered to question the presidential candidates about reform; the resulting candidate statements and videos are publicly available at www.Questionr.us

The reforms backed by Open Democracy enjoy widespread public support across the aisle, according to numerous polls. The latest October 2015 Bloomberg poll found that 78 percent of Americans and 80 percent of Republicans want to overturn Citizens United, while only 17 percent support for the ruling.

“This is not a liberal issue or a conservative issue – it’s an American issue,” said Dan Weeks, executive director of Open Democracy and leader of the NH Rebellion. “We are not simply asking our elected representatives to vote for SB 136; we are demanding that they heed their constituents’ demands and restore equal citizenship for all.”

Dear Candidate Clinton: Disclosure isn’t enough

SOLD flagKudos to Hillary Clinton for making stock buybacks into an issue in the 2016 presidential campaign.  Most Americans don’t realize just how much money corporations spend buying back their own stock, rather than creating jobs.  It’s probably the biggest, ugliest secret of our troubled economy.

But Candidate Clinton doesn’t go far enough.

Her speech yesterday called for more-timely disclosure of buybacks. But just like with #MoneyInPolitics, public disclosure isn’t going to fix the problem.  We need to restore the laws that used to protect us, back when we had a Middle Class.

Disclosure hasn’t solved the problem of our politicians being bought by corporations and the ultra-wealthy.  Everybody knows that the Koch Brothers plan to spend almost a billion dollars buying themselves a president in 2016.  They announced it in the press.  They’re proud of it.  Disclosure isn’t stopping them.  Ever since they made the announcement, they’ve had a steady stream of sycophantic candidates “interviewing” with them, seeking their support.

Anyone who’s watching Big Oil knows that the industry has been busy buying politicians.  Starting with the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Environment, Jim Inhofe.  Disclosure hasn’t made a difference.  He’s proud of the money he gets from Big Oil: “Whenever the media asked me how much I have received in campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry, my unapologetic answer was ‘not enough’.”

Disclosure hasn’t fixed the problem of #MoneyInPolitics.  And it’s not going to fix the problem of stock buybacks, either.

WWYD_707_billionBefore the Securities and Exchange Commission created its “Safe Harbor Rule” in 1982, stock buybacks were almost unheard-of.  Now, they’re one of the top priorities of corporate executives.  Last year, corporations spent more than $556 billion buying back their own stock.  This year, they’re expected to spend $707 billion.

The ugly secret of our “trickle-down” economy: corporations are spending enormous amounts of money consolidating their ownership.   Rather than, say, expanding their businesses, hiring new employees or even paying existing employees a living wage.

(Can’t help but notice the trend of corporations focused on stock buybacks, while their employees need public assistance programs to make ends meet.  WalmartMcDonaldsBig Banks.)

Disclosure isn’t going to solve this.  Corporations are proud of their buyback programs.  They announce buybacks in press releases.

Just like the Koch Brothers used the press to announce their intention to buy a president.

Somebody needs to tell Secretary Clinton: the SEC’s 1982 “Safe Harbor Rule” is the regulatory equivalent of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.  It enables corporations to do things that are really, really bad for our country.

But unlike Citizens United, the “Safe Harbor Rule” is an administrative regulation. It can be changed or repealed by the administrative agency.

And SEC members are appointed by the President.

Clinton could be pledging to only appoint SEC Commissioners who will repeal the rule.  Instead, she’s just looking for more disclosure.

Clinton deserves a whole lot of credit for raising the issue, and for talking about the impact that stock buybacks are having on our economy.

But it would be even better if she would go one step further, and talk about a solution that would actually fix the problem.

—–

Read more NHLN coverage of stock buybacks here.

Read Marketwatch, “Wall Street’s new drug is the stock buyback” here.

Stamp Stampede Marching July 4th to #GetMoneyOut of Politics

2015-04-18 statelineThe anti-corruption group The Stamp Stampede will join presidential candidates and citizens celebrating Independence Day at parades in Amherst and Merrimack, and will also appear at a NH Rebellion rally in Portsmouth.

The Stampede is tens of thousands of Americans legally rubber-stamping anti-corruption messages on US currency.  About 1,000 of those Stampers live in New Hampshire.   More than 130 Granite State small businesses host “Stamping Stations” where customers can learn more about the issue of #MoneyInPolitics, can stamp their money and can get their own stamp.  Stamp messages include “Corporations are Not People – Amend the Constitution,” “Stamp Money out of Politics,” and “Not to Be Used for Bribing Politicians.”  Every stamped dollar bill is seen by about 875 people, which means one person stamping four bills a day can get their message out to a million people.

Both Lincoln Chafee and Lindsey Graham, who are expected at the parades, have already endorsed a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

Around the country, 16 states and more than 600 cities and towns have called for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and allow limits on political spending.  Here in the Granite State, 69 municipalities have passed resolutions calling on Congress to begin the process of amending the Constitution.

A recent New York Times poll found broad bipartisan support for changing the way political campaigns are financed. 84% of Americans think “money has too much influence” and 85% think that elected officials “promote policies that directly help the people and groups who donated money to their campaigns.”

Here in New Hampshire, more than two-thirds of residents support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

The Stampede will bring the Amazing Amend-O-Matic Stampmobile and Stampede Pedaller to the Independence Day festivities.

The NH Rebellion Rally in Portsmouth will also feature free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.  Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s, founded the Stamp Stampede in 2012.

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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.

Making Progress in the Campaign Finance Reform Movement

Stamp Stampede Founder Ben Cohen with the Stampmobile at the Green Alliance "Party for the Planet" at Red Hook Brewery in Portsmouth.

Stamp Stampede Founder Ben Cohen with the Stampmobile at the Green Alliance “Party for the Planet” at Red Hook Brewery in Portsmouth.

The Stamp Stampede is on the move in New Hampshire!

The Stamp Stampede recently celebrated two huge milestones:

  • 1,000 stamps sold in the Granite State
  • 125 small businesses hosting Stamp Stampede “stamping stations.”

In upcoming weeks, the Stampede will also introduce the “Stampede Pedaller” – a people-powered version of the Amazing Amend-O-Matic Stampmobile.

The Stamp Stampede is tens of thousands of Americans supporting efforts to overturn Citizens United by legally rubber-stamping anti-corruption messages on US currency. Every stamped dollar bill is seen by about 875 people as it circulates through the local economy – which makes stamping money a highly-effective way for citizens to show their support for the grassroots movement to get money out of politics.

The Stampede plans to recruit 6,500 stampers in New Hampshire and stamp four million dollar bills in the region before next February’s #FITN Presidential primary.

Jonathan Clarke of Manchester volunteers as a Stampmobile driver, as well as stamping currency.  “I know that we have a problem coming together in this country, and I want to be part of the solution,” he said. “I like to support an organization that feels the same way I do. I feel like by joining, I’m helping to push this country back in the right direction.”

Karma Tattoo in Hooksett has one of the more than 125 small-business stamping stations around the state.  “I think the idea of using money to fight money in politics is awesome!” said owner Melissa Nolan. “Looking around, you don’t feel like you have any power to do anything. Stamping money is easy, and it gets people who don’t know much talking and learning about the issue.”

Jim Palmer and Anita Lowry, owners of the Live Free Caffe in Dover, advertised their stamping station on their Facebook page.  “Stop in and stamp your money. Let the politicians know how you feel! The government should serve everyone, not just the big corporations and the 1%ers.”

So far, 69 New Hampshire municipalities have passed local resolutions calling for a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and allow states to regulate campaign finance.  Polls show that more than two-thirds of New Hampshire voters – including 61% of Granite State Republicans – support a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

The Amazing Amend-O-Matic Stampmobile is a Rube Goldberg device that sends money through a tortuous journey up the “Tower of Corrupted Power” and down past “Corpo Man” and “Money Mouth” before stamping it with the Stampede message of the day.  It’s a crowd-pleasing piece of mechanized post-industrial art – which the Stampede brought to New Hampshire to keep all our presidential candidates company. It will be featured at local fairs and festivals throughout the summer.

The Stampede Pedaller is smaller and people-powered, just like the Stampede.  It’s a bicycle that turns into a mobile stamping station, complete with balloons, flag and photo op.  Like the Stampmobile, it attracts attention – but it’s easier to get into places where the #GetMoneyOut message might otherwise not be heard.  The Stampede plans to formally unveil it this weekend during Laconia Bike Week.

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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.

Hillary Clinton Visits New Hampshire

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came back to New Hampshire today “to earn each and every vote” — but it was almost impossible for the average voter to get anywhere close to her.

New Hampshire Stampers were at both of the “public” events the Clinton campaign held today, hoping to talk with the candidate and discuss the issue of #MoneyInPolitics.

We have done this successfully with other presidential candidates, including Gov. Martin O’Malley, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Bernie Sanders — all of whom have endorsed a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.  We will keep trying with those politicians we have not been able to pin down on the subject, including the two dozen or so candidates we were kept away from at the #NHGOP #FITN Summit.

New Hampshire Stampers first tried to meet Secretary Clinton outside this morning’s “small business” event at Smuttynose Brewery in Hampton — but met Secret Service and other security officials, instead.

We were able to get somewhat closer to the campaign’s “grassroots organizing” event this afternoon.  But again, it wasn’t possible for us to ask the Secretary to clarify her position on #MoneyInPolitics and what types of reforms she would support.  People who had not been cleared to attend the event were herded away from the entrance to the store, before Secretary Clinton arrived.  She said “hi” to a few people and then went into the event.

The campaign’s tight control over these events is beginning to draw criticism.

Rather than being able to ask Secretary Clinton to clarify her position on campaign finance reforms, New Hampshire Stampers were relegated to watching a tightly-scripted performance on CSpan.

Cross-posted on the StampStampede.org blog.

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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.

Same question, different problem: WHERE did the money come from?

truth-257159_640It’s not just the questions about the Federal Elections Commission investigation and where the money came from.  It’s actually worse than that.  It’s what happened afterward – because like so much else in government these days, it involves political fundraising.

At the end of last year, Rep. Frank Guinta’s campaign reported less than $19,000 cash-on-hand.

Yet the FEC enforcement agreement signed by Guinta’s lawyer last month obligated the campaign to pay a $15,000 administrative fine and repay $355,000 in loans dating back to 2010. (Hat-tip to the Union Leader for posting the agreement online, where we can all read it.)

Like most Congressmen, Rep. Guinta is a practiced fundraiser.  According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Guinta raised about $4.5 million dollars during his last three campaigns.

And just in the first quarter of this year – presumably while his lawyer was negotiating the FEC settlementGuinta’s campaign raised more than $300,000.  

Koch Industries PAC gave $5,000.  The Chicago Board Options Exchange PAC gave $5,000.  Independent Insurance Agents PAC gave $5,000.  New York Life Insurance PAC gave $5,000.  National Beer Wholesalers PAC gave $5,000.  The Boeing Company PAC gave $1,000.  The Turkish Coalition PAC gave $1,000.

Jeb Bush’s brand-new “Right to Rise” SuperPAC gave $5,200 — before the PAC was even two months old.

The Leadership PAC affiliated with House Speaker John Boehner gave $5,000, and Boehner’s campaign committee gave another $4,000.  The Leadership PAC of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy gave $5,000; his campaign gave another $4,000.  Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s Leadership PAC gave $5,000.  The Leadership PAC of Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise gave $5,000.  The Leadership PAC of Oregon Rep. Greg Walden gave $5,000.  The Leadership PAC of Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling gave $5,000.  Ribble for Congress gave $1,000.  Latta for Congress gave $1,000.  Jeff Miller for Congress gave $1,000.  Andy Harris for Congress gave $1,000.  Rick Allen for Congress gave $1,000.  Friends of Sam Johnson gave $1,000.  Rep. John Kline’s Leadership PAC gave $1,000.  Rep. Steve Stivers’ Leadership PAC gave $1,000.  The Leadership PAC of Rep. John Shimkus gave $1,000.

And the list goes on, for almost 75 pages.

Sort of like “Go Fund Me” – except that the money is coming from special interests and Guinta’s fellow congressmen, who also have an interest in how he votes.

Given that list of donors, would Rep. Guinta consider fighting House Leadership over the latest raid on Medicare?  Or is he going to vote exactly how the Speaker wants him to?

What does Jeb Bush expect, in return for the SuperPAC contribution?

What does Koch Industries expect?  The Chicago options traders?  Boeing?  The Turkish Coalition?

And what can Guinta’s constituents expect, after the campaign solicited almost enough money to pay the cost of the FEC agreement?  

How many of these donors knew that the FEC agreement was coming?  

Solicit more campaign contributions, to meet the conditions of a campaign finance enforcement agreement.  It’s so ironic, it should be funny – except, it’s not.  It’s totally screwed up.

When politicians go begging to big money donors, everybody else loses.

That’s why two-thirds of New Hampshire voters want a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

It’s why hundreds of people have been walking across the state with the New Hampshire Rebellion, drawing attention to the need for campaign finance reform.

It’s why tens of thousands of people across the country are legally stamping US currency with messages like “Not to Be Used for Bribing Politicians.” Every stamped dollar bill is seen by about 875 people.  Get a stamp at StampStampede.org.  Stamp four bills each day for a year, and you’ll help convince a million people that it is possible to take our government back – if enough of us work together to do that.

It’s why small businesses are hosting Stamp Stampede stamping stations – more than 100 of them across New Hampshire – so their customers can stamp money and learn more about money in politics.

It’s why grandmothers and middle school students and people from every political persuasion are working together to reclaim our government from Big Money campaign donors.

Because when you read about a FEC enforcement action, you shouldn’t have to wonder whose money will be used to pay the fine, and what they’re going to expect in return.

And you really shouldn’t have to worry whether all the fundraising that happened, just before the agreement was signed, is going to do more damage to our democracy than the original violation.

 

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