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NH Pushes Legislation To Limit Big Money In Politics

Overwhelming Cross-Partisan Majorities Believe Big Money in NH Elections is A Problem

Majority Support “Civic Dollars” Solution

CONCORD, NH — A survey of New Hampshire voters has found that large majorities in both parties believe big money is a problem in state elections, and support a current legislative proposal to fix it.

In the survey just released by Public Policy Polling, eight in 10 voters — including  79% of Democrats, 74% of Republicans and 85% of Independents — said they believe big money is a problem in Granite State elections.

House Bill 1773 would provide voters with four $25 “civic dollars” to donate to candidates for Governor, Executive Council and state Senate who pledge to limit their maximum donation from private donors to $250. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Renny Cushing, also includes other reforms, including stronger requirements to ensure financial transparency of SuperPACs and candidate campaigns, and tougher enforcement of campaign finance laws.

The House Election Law Committee has scheduled a hearing on the bill for January 16 at  10:50 a.m.

When the Civic Dollars proposal was described to the survey’s respondents, 60% said they would support it, including 64% of Democrats and 67% of independent voters. A majority of Democrats (71%) and Republicans (59%) also said they’d be more likely to support a Civic Dollars candidate who limits individual donations to $250 than a candidate who accepts donations up to $7,000.

“Civic Dollars will give New Hampshire voters a stronger voice,” said Olivia Zink, Executive Director of Open Democracy in Concord. “Our elected officials should work for all of their  constituents, not just for the big contributors who put them in office.”

“My lengthy and varied experience in New Hampshire election campaigns has convinced me of the need for a public election financing system as a voluntary alternative for candidates,” former state Senator Jim Rubens said in prepared testimony. “The present purely-private elections finance system seriously restricts participation by otherwise viable candidates for governor, councilor and state senate and narrows the range of debate and policy proposals during campaigns.  The result is fewer choices for voters among candidates and slower progress in solving public policy challenges.  Additionally, the current purely-private system tilts influence away from voters and toward those with money to spend on campaigns.”  Rubens has also served as chair of the GOP platform committee; chair of the 2000 GOP redistricting committee; and on two election finance panels which proposed public election finance legislation.  As candidate for US Senate, he proposed voter tax rebates as a means to provide public finance mechanism for Congressional elections.

Other key findings from the survey include:

•    A majority of respondents (63%) would be likely to contribute their Civic Dollars to qualified candidates, including 70% of Democrats, 54% of Republicans and 67% of Independents.

•    38% of respondents said they were even more likely to support the Civic Dollars program after learning that it would cost less than 1% of the New Hampshire state budget.

•    A plurality of respondents (34%) — including 37% of Democrats, 33% of Republicans and 34% of Independents — think wealthy campaign donors have the most influence in New Hampshire politics. Only 14% said they believe that N.H. voters have the most influence.

NH Rebellion “Democracy Dinner” With Special Guest Lawrence Lessig

On Thursday, November 30, NH Rebellion will hold a “Democracy Dinner” starting at 5:30 pm at the Lawrence Barn Community Center, 28 Depot Road, Hollis, NH with special guest Lawrence Lessig.

The speaking program will focus on the group’s campaign for a “Civic Dollars” campaign financing system in New Hampshire.

“Open Democracy believes in an equal voice for all,” said Executive Director Olivia Zink. “Through our NH Rebellion campaign, we are working to stop big money in politics, end partisan gerrymandering, protect the right to vote, and more by engaging thousands of Granite Staters in nonpartisan civic involvement.”

In 2018, the group will be supporting “Civic Dollars” legislation with bipartisan support in Concord. A Civic Dollars system would help balance the influence of out-of-state dark money in New Hampshire’s elections. It would also end the so-called “money primary” that keeps qualified candidates from running for office, empower every citizen to fund the candidate(s) of their choice, and encourage voter participation. Maine, Arizona and Connecticut already have this type of system at the state level; and some cities, including Albuquerque, NM, have also passed this kind of election reform.

When enacted, the measure would allow political candidates to opt-in to a “Civic Dollars” system that will limit campaign contributions to $250 per person.  It would also ban out-of-state donors; require quick disclosure of contributions; create a voluntary program for citizen-funded campaign financing through four $25 “civic dollars” issued to registered voters that could be donated to qualified candidates of the voter’s choice; and establish an agency to enforce campaign finance laws.

“We all want our children and the next generation to have a better life and more opportunities than we did. But too many hard-working Granite Staters are just barely scraping by because wealthy donors and special interests have too much power and make the rules.” Zink said. “If we want our children and the next generation to inherit a free and fair New Hampshire, that will take coming together to make our democracy work for all of us.”

NH Rebellion members have walked a total of more than 40,000 miles, continuing the legacy of New Hampshire’s legendary campaign finance reform activist “Granny D.”  The network of more than 33,000 local activists have organized town meetings, circulated petitions, supported legislation and “Asked The Question” hundreds of times to get candidates on the record about their position on campaign reform.

Scholar-activist Lawrence Lessig draws inspiration from the “rebellion clause” of the New Hampshire Constitution, which empowers citizens “to reform the old or establish a new government” when laws serve a privileged few rather than “the common benefit, protection, and security of the whole community.

NH Rebellion is part of Open Democracy, the Concord-based nonpartisan reform organization founded by Granny D. To learn more,  please visit: www.nhrebellion.org.

Celebration of Doris Granny D Haddock’s Birth 107 Years Ago

Dublin, NH: Open Democracy/New Hampshire Rebellion and PACE: Promoting Active Civic Engagement announce that on January 24, 2017 they will hold a celebration of Doris Granny D Haddock’s birthday 107 years ago. Granny D gained fame and admiration by walking across the United States in her 90th year in support of  campaign finance reform. Subsequently she travelled the country to help countless citizens to register to vote. For her activism she received many awards in New Hampshire and elsewhere.

“In the present turbulent times it helps to take a deep breath and remind ourselves of an intrepid citizen like Doris Haddock, who was willing to use her ‘power of one’ in the fight for the health of our democracy”, said Regina Bringolf, co-chair of Open Democracy.

The celebration on January 24 will be held at 12 noon at the Dublin Community Center, 1123 Main Street in Dublin, NH.  The public is cordially invited. There will be a potluck luncheon (please bring a small dish to share) and remembrances of Granny D’s walks and others, organized by the NH Rebellion, that her friends and supporters have undertaken in her memory. RSVP requested to Doreen@opendemocracy.me, or call 603-715-8197.

Nuns on the Bus Stop in Concord for Rally to “Mend the Gaps”

2016-07-22 Nuns on the Bus Sr Simone Campbell

Sr. Simone Campbell addresses the crowd, while some of the Nuns on the Bus take shelter from the heat under umbrellas.

About 125 Granite Staters braved today’s heat to meet Sister Simone Campbell and the Nuns on the Bus at a State House rally to “Mend the Gaps” between us that weaken society, including gaps in income, healthcare, housing and access to democracy.

Campbell and nearly 20 Catholic sisters from around the country are visiting 13 states and both major party conventions on a tour that began July 11.  The tour’s goal is “to bring a politics of inclusion to divided places, change the conversation to mending the vast economic and social divides in our country, and counter political incivility with our message of inclusion.  NETWORK’s 44 year-old faith-filled political message is an alternative to the anger, fear, and polarization of this election cycle.  We believe in faithful citizenship, which compels us to travel the country to listen to the lived experiences of people in their communities and hold elected officials accountable to the promises they have made to legislate for the common good.”

The sisters are caucusing with local advocates in Manchester tonight, and will hold a rally in Boston tomorrow starting at 10:00 am on the front lawn of Boston College High School, 150 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125.  The full tour schedule is available at www.nunsonthebus.org.

At today’s rally, the sisters distributed brochures comparing candidates’ positions on “Mending the Gaps.”  Download the brochure comparing Kelly Ayotte with Maggie Hassan here and the brochure comparing Hillary Clinton with Donald Trump here.

Granite Staters shared their stories about the growing gaps in our economy which are making the American dream unattainable for too many families.

  • Jazmine Langley and Olivia Zink of Open Democracy signed the Bus before it left Concord, on the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

    Jazmine Langley, a Democracy Fellow with Open Democracy/NH, spoke about the challenges facing her as a biracial woman. “I have seen oppression up close. I have witnessed the gaps woven into the fabric of our country that are very much racially and socioeconomically based. From drug addiction to poverty. From police brutality to mass imprisonment. From strict voter ID laws to felon disenfranchisement. Our elected representatives and ourselves need to be held accountable for mending this gap. Whether that is by trying to spark legal reform in getting big money out politics, registering more voters, or fighting voter suppression laws, doing non-profit work dedicated to some aspect of this issue, or just educating yourselves, families, friends, and children about the issue at hand – it all makes a difference. This is our democracy, so this is our fight!”  You can watch Jazmine’s speech here.

  • Amy Shaw, a mother of two living in Rochester spoke about the challenge of finding affordable childcare. “Even with both my husband and I working, we couldn’t afford to send our kids to daycare. I had to quit my job because my monthly income wasn’t going to cover my childcare costs.” Watch Amy’s remarks here.
  • Jen Cole, of Pittsfield, said “Low wages make it challenging to pay the bills week to week but nearly impossible when life throws you a curveball. My husband was diagnosed with cancer four years ago and could not work for several months. We had to survive off of my income and rely on family and friends to help us through what was already a difficult time. If someone is working full time they should be able to make ends meet and not have to fear they’ll lose everything if they get sick.”
  • Sister Eileen Brady, of Nashua, is a Social Worker and Advocate at the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter. As a Sister of Mercy, she has been a staunch advocate for peace and justice for decades.  “The Sisters of Mercy have been trying to ‘Mend the Gaps’ since 1858,” Sister Eileen said.  She shared stories of people she has met through the Nashua Soup Kitchen, “My friends who have no place to live tonight.”  You can watch her remarks here.

“Pope Francis challenges all people to come together to work for the common good,” said Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, which launched the first Nuns on the Bus tour during the 2012 presidential campaign. “On our journey as Nuns on the Bus we will talk to those Pope Francis voters and, hopefully, inspire them to make mending the gaps the defining issue of the 2016 election.”

2016-07-22 Nuns on the Bus crowd2

Part of today’s crowd on the State House lawn.

“Every New Hampshire family deserves a fair shot at the American dream but rising costs, stagnant wages and unfair workplace policies are putting that dream out of reach for too many working people,” said Amanda Sears, director of the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, a co-sponsor of the Concord rally.  “The visit from the Nuns on the Bus today highlights the need for family friendly policy solutions that lift workers and make our communities stronger.”

Today’s program was emceed by Gail Kenney of the United Church of Christ Economic Justice Mission Group.  Jack Bopp and Arnie Alpert led everyone in a rousing rendition of “We’re All Riding with the Nuns on The Bus.”  Opening prayers were offered by Rev. Gary M. Schulte, the Conference Minister of the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ, and Woullard Lett, president of the Manchester, NH branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Today’s rally was cosponsored by organizations including AFSC’s NH Program, NH Voices of Faith, Granite State Organizing Project, United Church of Christ Economic Justice Ministry, NH Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, NH Sisters of Mercy, and Stamp Stampede.




I Was Arrested Fighting To Take Back Our Democracy

Democracy spring arrestConcord man was arrested at the U.S. Capitol in Democracy Awakening rally

By Joe Magruder 


Joe Magruder at Democracy Spring, Democracy Awakening Rally at the U.S. Capitol

  At age 68, I was arrested this week for he first time in my life. My misdemeanor offense, and that of my more than 400 fellow arrestees, was blocking the the front of the U.S. Capitol. We did it because big money is blocking us, and all ordinary Americans, from being heard _ or at least heeded _ by Congress. Don’t believe it? Look up the rigorous academic study  (Gilens and Page) in 2014 that found the influence of ordinary Americans on policy decisions made by Congress to be “near zero.”

   Polls show that most Americans understand that billionaires and corporations have far too much political clout, and that their power is growing. But too few of us are raising hell about it or talking about it at all, so Congress all but ignores the issue, and few news organizations are holding Congress’s feet to the fire. The main reason is the erroneous belief – which I shared until a few years ago – that there is little we can do about it.   

In fact, restoring equal citizenship for all with small-dollar citizen-funded elections, repealing or blocking voter suppression laws, and overturning the poorly reasoned and disastrous Citizens United ruling would be easy if all of us who support such reforms would demand that Congress do its job and enact them.  

 So join us, and do it now! Sit-ins at the Capitol will continue for a week as part of Democracy Spring/Democracy Awakening, which are non-partisan and non-violent. If you can’t come to Washington, please call or write or email your members of Congress and enlist your friends, family and elected officials at every level to support these common-sense, moderate and essential reforms. Speak up and act, not once but every chance you get, over and over, until we get our democracy back. We owe it to our children and grandchildren and to the countless Americans who have fought and died at home and abroad for a government that truly is of, by and for the people. 

Joe Magruder is a retired reporter and editor and a Vietnam veteran. He has worked against big-money politics since 2013 as a member the New Hampshire Rebellion. He lives in Concord, N.H.  

Members Of The NH Rebellion Walk From Philadelphia to Washington, DC To End #MoneyInPolitics

NH RebellionPHILADELPHIA – In 1999, New Hampshire’s Doris “Granny D” Haddock began a walk from California to to Washington, DC at age 89. And she made it. Haddock spread the word among ordinary Americans on how Washington’s politicians had been corrupted by a campaign finance system which benefits campaign donors, not voters. Two years later, with U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold on one arm, and Sen. John McCain on the other, Granny D walked up the Capitol steps. 

This Saturday, members of the New Hampshire nonprofit NH Rebellion, along more than 150 other walkers, begin another audacious march, this time from Philadelphia to Washington, DC as part of a national protest of big money politics called Democracy Spring.

“It’s my time to do my part,” said Zoe Picard, of Webster. “I believe in democracy. I really believe that all voices should be heard. And in honor of Granny D, I’m challenging like-minded individuals to rise up and force our politicians to reform our system,” she said. Picard is joining the walk in Baltimore for the last 40 miles

The Democracy Spring march will take 9 days and arrives in Washington on April 11, when nonviolent sit-ins around the U.S. Capitol building are planned. Joe Magruder, retired Concord news editor, said he is willing to get arrested for the cause.

“Making us all equal citizens when it comes to choosing our leaders is the moral issue of our time, and this is a way to make that happen,” Magruder said. Magruder, a Vietnam veteran, added that he has walked in other NH Rebellion walks in New Hampshire, but felt compelled to go to Washington to send a strong message directly to Congress.

Following the Democracy Spring actions, a large rally is planned for April 17 on the mall in Washington, and tens of thousands are expected from all over the country. Over 140 groups are mobilizing their members to attend Democracy Awakening, with buses streaming in from up and down the eastern seaboard. Groups supporting the rally, and actions the following day, include democracy and voting rights groups, the NAACP, the AFL-CIO, church organizations, senior groups, and environmental activists.

Asked why he was walking all 140 miles from Philadelphia, Lyme, NH’s Rick Bourdon responded, “I think that the people of this country need to do more than complain. Now it’s time to take action. I’m walking and protesting, but you can write a letter, call up your representatives or get active in your community. But we can’t afford to do nothing,” he said. “Our democracy has to be saved.”

More information about Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening is available on the NH Rebellion website, NHRebellion.org in the “Take Action” section, or by going directly to the event sites, DemocracySpring.org and DemocracyAwakening.org.

NH Towns Demand Action on Campaign Finance Reform

NH RebellionResolutions passed 15 town meeting with 2-1 margins or higher

CONCORD — “Fight big money politics” was the strong message sent  to state and federal representatives from another 15 New Hampshire towns this town meeting season.  To date, 77 towns have passed campaign finance resolutions in the last three years, and more towns already planning efforts for 2017.

“Our NH legislature and U.S.Congress seem to be ignoring their constituents’ wishes,” said Brian Beihl, interim director of Concord-based NH Rebellion.  “Multiple surveys now show that 80% of Republicans and 83% of Democrats want to see the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision overturned, yet the NH House defeated the creation of a committee to study what options we had,” Beihl said.

This year’s “We the People” Agenda to Fight Big Money appeared on 16 town warrants or ballots, and in towns where ballots were used rather than voice votes, the resolution typically won by a 2-1 margin or wider. The effort failed in only one town, Grafton, only 19 votes, and  where a less comprehensive resolution failed by 141 votes last year.   Municipalities approving the agenda included Albany, Antrim, Bethlehem, Brookline, Effingham, Epping, Exeter, Goffstown, Hopkinton, Marlborough, Mason, Milford, Salem, Temple, and Wilton.

The “We the People” Agenda  asks the next President and Congress fight big money politics and restore government of, by, and for the people, including banning Super PACs and overturning Citizens United; exposing secret donors and require full transparency; banning bribes from big-money lobbyists and government contractors; establishing small donor, citizen-funded elections; ending gerrymandering and modernizing voter registration; and closing loopholes and enforcing campaign finance laws.  


Included in the resolutions were instructions from the voters to inform each town’s state and federal representatives, and the President of the United States, via a letter from the towns’ selectmen.   

Just this past week, the NH Senate killed SB425, a bill sponsored by Sen. David Pierce (D) of  Lebanon, which would have addressed the partisan gerrymandering that the “We the People” Agenda challenges.  The Senate, however, blocked the bill sending the bill to interim study.

“The voters of New Hampshire should be choosing their legislators; legislators should not be drawing district lines to choose their voters,” said Sen. Pierce. “SB425 would have enacted needed reforms and removed partisan politics from the process of drawing election district lines by creating an independent redistricting commission that would propose, not mandate, where the district lines are to be drawn after the 2020 census. I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the entrenched politicians in the Senate majority chose to defeat this legislation and stick with the partisan process,”  Senator Pierce said.

There have been numerous bills brought forth this term in both the NH House and Senate, including establishing a committee to study alternatives to Citizens United, donation transparency, electronic reporting of political donations, and anti-corruption safeguards.  Almost all the bills thus far have been defeated or tabled.  

Nationally, a June 2015 New York Times poll found 84 percent said money has too much influence on campaigns, with even more saying the campaign funding system needs to be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt.

“The items in this agenda are common sense reforms,” Beihl said.  “We talked with thousands of NH Primary voters this past year, and whether they were Bernie Sanders supporters or Donald Trump supporters, the support for these items was overwhelming.   With the “We the People” Agenda, voters had a means of sending a message — loud & clear — that legislators need to start listening to We the People,”  he said.   

For more information about NH Rebellion’s warrant article initiative in 2017, contact NH Rebellion at NHRebellion.org.

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

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 7.32.32 PM

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 Scores Candidates Of Promise To Reform Campaign Finance

Image courtesy of NH Rebellion

Image courtesy of NH Rebellion

On #FITN Primary Eve, reform groups release new ranking of presidential candidates on “root issue” of campaign reform

Leading presidential candidates made fighting big money a centerpiece of their campaign in response to voter demand

NH Rebellion Executive Director Dan Weeks predicts 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’ responses, as revealed by a new Candidates Scorecard just released by the #FightBigMoney coalition of state and national reform groups. The groups include NH Rebellion’s parent organization, Open Democracy, founded by the legendary “Granny D.”

Gov Jim Gillmore Image courtesy of NH Rebellion

Gov Jim Gillmore
Image courtesy of NH Rebellion

The #FightBigMoney Scorecard ranks candidates on their official campaign finance reform positions, after hundreds of town hall encounters and sit-down meetings with NH Rebellion activists, and gives leading grades of A- and B+ to Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sec. Hillary Clinton, respectively. Separate tracking of candidate statements on NH Rebellion’s QuestionR.us platform shows several Republican candidates – notably Donald Trump, Gov. John Kasich, and Gov. Jim Gilmore – are also supporting major reforms, although the absence of official position papers brings their #FightBigMoney score to D- or worse. 

All five campaigns attended or sent surrogates to NH Rebellion’s We the People Convention in Veterans Park this past weekend.

“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 poll of Iowa caucus-goers showed that campaign finance was one of the top issues people used to decide which presidential candidate to support.  It was the single most important issue for one-quarter of Democratic caucus voters and among the top three issues for 64% of them.

“In 2014, New Hampshire voters were stunned by the impact of out-of-state special interest money being thrown at our elections.  All kinds of records were broken.  Total spending by campaigns and outside groups added up to more than $106 million – just here in New Hampshire – and it was one of the nastiest election seasons we have ever seen,” Weeks said.

“Going into this primary, we were expecting to see a similar level of spending,” he said. “But it looks like it’s actually going to be even worse.”

According to a recent Bloomberg analysis of political spending on broadcast advertising, by this point in 2012, $2 million had been spent in New Hampshire on broadcast advertising.  This election, it’s over $100 million – a fifty-fold increase over the last presidential primary, with a lot of that money coming from ‘outside spending’ groups that don’t have to disclose their donors. 

“The money coming at New Hampshire feels like a fire hose.  They’ve spent more just on broadcast advertising than they spent on everything, during the 2014 elections,” Weeks said.  “All the phone calls, the mail, the advertisements, it’s just overwhelming – and it’s all because of the money that’s being poured into New Hampshire by special interests trying to influence our elections.  Granite State voters have every reason to be angry.  Our elections have been hijacked by special interest donors.”

“This is one issue that just about everybody agrees on, regardless of party affiliation,” he said.  “Poll after poll shows that voters agree – in overwhelming numbers – that we need to fix our campaign finance system.  The political establishment and some of the media haven’t focused on it yet, but this issue is driving many voters’ decisions.”  

Sen. Cory Booker and actor Sam Waterson Image courtesy of NH Rebellion

Sen. Cory Booker and actor Sam Waterston
Image courtesy of NH Rebellion

NH Rebellion just finished its We the People Convention in Manchester, which brought together hundreds of activists, experts and some well-known voices to talk about the subject.  “Best-selling author Marianne Williamson calls this ‘the greatest moral issue of our generation.’  Actor Sam Waterston says campaign finance is ‘central to the way democracy works.’  For three days, speaker after speaker – from both political parties – talked about this issue and this election as a turning point in American history,” Weeks said.  “We need to fix the problem, and get our country back to having a government ‘of the People’ rather than ‘of the political donors.’” 

During the primary season, NH Rebellion members have attended hundreds of events asking each presidential candidate “What specific reforms will you advance to end the corrupting influence of money in politics?”  Candidates’ replies are available at www.QuestionR.us.   

The group also sent each campaign a formal questionnaire, asking for support of six solutions to restore democracy detailed in the group’s We the People Pledge and members have met with several of the presidential candidates and campaigns.   

“This is an issue that’s important to almost everybody, but too many voters don’t know where the candidates actually stand on the different solutions,” Weeks said.  “When they walk into the voting booth tomorrow, we want voters to be able to make the best choice they can, based on real information about the candidates’ support for various types of reforms.”

Image courtesy of NH Rebellion

Image courtesy of NH Rebellion

The “We the People Pledge” describes six proposed campaign finance reforms, and is available at http://www.nhrebellion.org/pledge 

High resolution photos and video are available on request.

The NH Rebellion is best-known for its cold-weather “Walks for Democracy.” To date, more than 2,000 activists have walked a total of 30,000 miles to bring attention to the corrupting influence of large campaign contributions.  The movement was inspired by the efforts of the legendary New Hampshire reformer Doris “Granny D” Haddock, who walked across America beginning in 1999 in support of campaign finance reform.

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