Rule #1 / “Pay-to-Play”

What do the American people say about money-in-politics and business-as-usual?

Approx 85% of Americans, acc to NYT poll, say political campaign funding needs
“Fundamental Changes” or must be “Completely Rebuilt”



Money-in-Politics: Reform Proposals Across the Political Spectrum

Campaign Finance Reform (Ballotpedia / Wikipedia)


Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)

During the Trump administration, CREW took over 800 legal actions


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2016 US Presidential Campaigns

Democratic Party


Republican Party


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The Government By the People Act (H.R. 20)

(As of 2016) Backed by 160 House co-sponsors, an unprecedented coalition of over 50 national organizations and petition signatures from nearly half a million citizens across the country, the Government By the People Act (advocating ‘matching funds’) would help “return to a government of, by and for the people”.

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Public Interest Campaigns

OpenSecrets (Center for Responsive Politics)

End Citizens United

Follow the Money

Sunlight Foundation



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A Presidential Campaign Targeting Money and Influence Buying: a Money & Politics Memory from 1992

PoliticoPay editor: Many years ago, in 1992 to be precise, shortly before the Democratic convention that nominated Bill Clinton for president and at the Democratic Platform hearings, a number of private meetings were held between the Gov. Brown campaign that finished second in the primaries and the Clinton’s campaign. Jerry Brown and Bill Clinton sent their reps to meet and meet they did. The meeting did not go well.

The “insurgent campaign” of Gov. Jerry Brown had focused at its center on the undue influence of money-in-politics. Jerry personally spoke of “an unholy barter” and in a previous position had led fund-raising for the California Democratic Party. He knew the money game as an insider and now as an insurgent who began his 1992 presidential bid on the steps of Constitution Hall in Philadelphia pledging to run a “We the People” campaign with an express goal to “Take Back America” from the big-money interests and re-engage in policy debate on the merits of ideas. The Brown campaign limited donations and used an 800# to raise contributions, which turned out to be remarkably successful.

Twenty five years later the Sanders 2016 campaign also focused on money-in-politics and campaign finance reform. Again, the Sanders campaign like the Brown campaign focused on pushing back the influence money buys. Both campaigns pointed out the need for election reform as necessary for substantive political change. Both campaigns finished second to a Clinton campaign and the Clinton expertise in fundraising on multiple fronts put it at the center of the Democratic Party establishment.

What this commentator finds memorable is the following line that almost verbatim was told to him by the head of the Democratic National Committee in one of the negotiating meetings arranged between the Clinton campaign and Brown campaign — “We cannot unilaterally disarm.” Memories of Ron Brown and Clinton representatives continue on although Ron is gone and faces have changed here and there.

Time passes but the demands of the money game continue and each election cycle the amount of money spent increases, now projected in the 2016 presidential election to be well over $5 billion.

And the line rolls out during every election cycle. Just like in 1992, “we cannot unilaterally disarm” is the refrain. They say they need the money to win the game. It’s deja vu, as Yogi Berra might say, all over again.


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The Case for Campaign-Finance Reform

NY Times / OpEd / 2016


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Constitutional Amendment National Campaign

Political organizing with a multi-state and Congressional campaign that takes years, even decades, and has long odds and impacts activism for other more near-term activism (note: decades of organizing and ultimate failure of the Equal Rights Amendment)

Move to Amend

  • Formed in September 2009, Move to Amend is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy that is genuinely accountable to the people, not corporate interests.
  • MTA calls for an amendment to the US Constitution to state that inalienable rights belong to human beings only, and that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated in political campaigns.

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Represent Us Local Organizing Campaigns

Represent Us

American Anti-Corruption Act

  • Building a non-partisan movement to pass tough anti-corruption laws in cities and states across America, and end legalized corruption that has come to define modern politics.

The American Anti-Corruption Act is model legislation that sets a standard for city, state and federal laws that prevent money from corrupting American government. It reshapes the rules of American politics and restores the people as the most important stakeholders in our political  system. An Anti-Corruption Act has three primary outcomes:

  • Stop political bribery so special interests can’t use job offers and donations to influence politicians.
  • End secret money so people know who’s buying political power.
  • Give voters a stronger voice by changing how elections are funded.

Represent.Us is organizing local campaigns to pass Anti-Corruption Acts in cities, states, and federally. Each Act is uniquely tailored to meet the needs of locales across the country.