• Advertisement

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

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.

 

Money, Money, Money!


Two years ago, the Supreme Court decided that corporations could spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections.

And that’s exactly what corporations are doing.

The advertising industry estimates that almost $10 billion will be spent on political advertising this year – 40% more than was spent in 2008.

Much of that money is being spent by SuperPACS, in what one observer calls “a conscious outsourcing by Republicans of the single biggest undertaking and expense of any presidential campaign.”

“American Crossroads, Restore Our Future, Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity: Four Republican organizations that have so dominated their party’s presidential advertising that their collective efforts surpass those of their own nominee.  These groups kept the race tight for four months and, for the most part, continue to boost Romney today. Americans for Prosperity did its heavy lifting for Romney back in August and early September; the other three are still on the air in a big way.”

Read “How Super-Group Advertising Kept Romney in the Race” in Advertising Age here.

In these final days of the campaign season, SuperPAC money is also being used to hire paid “field workers” to go door-to-door to get out the vote.

“Conservative groups, most notably Americans for Prosperity, are spending millions of dollars to ensure that as many supporters as possible cast a ballot.  Americans for Prosperity, founded by the industrialist Koch brothers, says it now has more than 100 paid field workers nationwide and about 5,000 volunteers to go door to door. The group plans to spend $130 million this year on all activities. That makes it one of the biggest conservative interest groups involved in the election, boosting the combined get-out-the-vote effort of Mitt Romney’s campaign and the Republican National Committee.”

Read “Activists Pour Cash Into Voter Turnout” in the Wall Street Journal here.

Most of us don’t have unlimited money to spend on political campaigns.  The only way for us to counteract corporate money is by using our voices and our feet. 

Help get out the vote!  Call the AFL-CIO at 603-623-7302 for more information about GOTV phone banks and canvasses.

  • Subscribe to the NH Labor News via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 12,559 other subscribers

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement