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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.”

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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

NH Rebellion Applauds President Obama’s Support for Steps to Fight Big Money in State of the Union Address

Cross-partisan movement calls on president and presidential candidates
to commit to concrete actions that will “fix our politics”

January 2015 NH Rebellion Rally at the State House

January 2015 NH Rebellion Rally at the State House

NH Rebellion Executive Director Dan Weeks today applauded President Barack Obama’s view that “the most important thing” we must do as a county is “fix our politics.”

“In his State of the Union speech last night, President Obama gave voice to what those of us at the grassroots level already know: ‘democracy breaks down when the average person feels that their voice doesn’t matter; that the system is rigged in favor of the rich or the powerful or some special interest.’  Our country is at that tipping point right now,” Weeks said.  “Poll after poll has found that Americans of all political stripes agree – overwhelmingly – that money has too much influence over our politics.  Unlimited campaign money is corrupting our government, and voters have reason to be angry about that.”

“It was refreshing to hear President Obama address the problem in such a high-visibility way,” Weeks said. “Too many elected officials shy away from talking about it.  And far too many elected officials have actually voted against measures that would help fix the problem.”

As one example, Weeks cited last week’s vote by the New Hampshire House of Representatives against a bill to study proposed constitutional amendments that would help limit the influence of money in politics.  He also noted the US Senate voted in September 2014 against sending a proposed constitutional amendment to the states for consideration.

President Obama endorsed a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling last February.

In last night’s State of the Union speech, President Obama also endorsed other parts of the NH Rebellion agenda: ending gerrymandering and making it easier for citizens to vote, saying “over the course of this year, I intend to travel the country to push for reforms.”

Weeks noted that campaign finance reform advocates have studied the influence of political spending on federal contracting, and are calling for measures to increase transparency.

“This is one area where President Obama could, himself, make a big difference,” Weeks said.

“Congress has been moving away from transparency,” Weeks observed, noting that the federal budget passed last month specifically prohibited the Securities and Exchange Commission from issuing a new rule requiring corporations to disclose their political spending.

“But President Obama could take executive action, and issue an Executive Order requiring at least those corporations that contract with the federal government to disclose their political spending,” Weeks said.

A 2014 Sunlight Foundation study found that “on average, for every dollar spent on influencing politics, the nation’s most politically active corporations received $760 from the government.”

“We the people – taxpayers – are the ones who pay for government contracts,” Weeks said. “We deserve to know how much federal contractors are spending, trying to influence the budget and contracting decisions. We deserve to have transparency in that process.”

“We hope President Obama will follow his State of the Union remarks with concrete action,” Weeks added.  “Congress may be moving in the wrong direction on transparency, but President Obama can issue an Executive Order and help us move a little bit more in the right direction.”

Weeks also called on the candidates for president to take clear positions on the issue.

Members of the Rebellion have been attending campaign events, asking each candidate “What specific reforms will you advance to end the corrupting influence of money in politics?”  Candidates’ answers can be found here.

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The New Hampshire Rebellion (#NHRebellion) is a cross-partisan movement of citizens who are Walking the Talk to get big money out of politics — 30,000 miles and counting. We are motivated by one undeniable fact: American government no longer works for the American people because of the corrupting influence of special interest money in elections. Fully 96 percent of citizens agree that money has too much influence in politics, yet 91 percent have little hope that it will change. Our job in 2016 is to restore their hope and harness their energy to make reforming our democratic process possible, starting in New Hampshire.  http://www.nhrebellion.org/

Don’t miss the We the People Convention, February 5, 6 & 7, 2016:  http://www.nhrebellion.org/convention

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