Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Give Democracy Back to the People

Take Action: Call on Senators to Give Democracy Back to the People

Next week - on Monday, September 8 - the United States Senate will vote on a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and return the power of political voice to the people. As of right now, 50 out of 100 senators are on board. With just one more, the balance will at last tilt away from Citizens United, back toward democracy.

At this historic moment, there are still some Senators who can be convinced to vote in favor of their constituents, and not the special interests. But they need to hear from you.

Call on Monday, September 8th, call (866) 937-7983 to reach the Capitol Switchboard and express support for the Democracy for All Amendment. This amendment will ensure that all Americans, regardless of their wealth, can have their voices heard in our elections and our government. The amendment will give the power back to Congress to regulate special interest spending in elections.

Take action today so that the amendment gains majority support and our movement to defend democracy builds even more momentum.

Talking points for your call:

  • As a person of faith, I believe that democracy belongs in the hands of the people because we are each a special creation of God.
  • I therefore urge you to support S.J.Res. 19, a constitutional amendment to establish that Congress and the states have the power to regulate and limit election spending.
  • Each person has the right to raise his or her voice in public discourse, but our system today is broken and dominated by big money special interests, whose spending drowns out people’s voices and floods the media with ideological propaganda.
  •  The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, now bolstered by the recent McCutcheon decision, has unleashed a flood of spending on our elections that threatens the very foundation of our democracy.
  • We know that corruption can take many forms, not just the quid pro quo of bribery.
  • Our country faces great and serious challenges – from putting people back to work to averting catastrophic climate change to building a culture for peace and shalom around the world. But we will fall short unless we repair our democracy.
  • Please support S.J.Res. 19.

More Information:

To learn more about our partner, the Franciscan Action Network's Money in Politics campaign click here:

For a theological analysis of the undue influence of money in politics, see Lo$ing Faith in our Democracy, published by Auburn Seminary.

This amendment, S.J.Res. 19, would overturn Citizens United v. FEC , as well as McCutcheon v. FEC, the decision issued earlier this year eliminating the cap on the total amount an individual can contribution to candidates, political parties and political committees. The amendment also would overturn the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo ruling, which established the doctrine colloquially known as “money equals speech.”

The Supreme Court held in McCutcheon that the only legitimate rationale for limiting campaign spending is to prevent quid pro quo corruption – essentially, the crime of bribery. But the American people understand quite well that corruption can take many forms and the problem with big money dominating our elections is far more profound than the narrowly defined crime of bribery. These activist judicial changes to the meaning of our Constitution tilt the entire government to favor big money donors. They deny regular people an equal say in determining the future of our country.

We do not lightly call for amending our great Constitution. But we know that there can be no greater constitutional purpose than ensuring the functioning of our democracy. We urge you in the strongest terms to support S.J.Res.19, so that it quickly becomes the 28th amendment to our Constitution.

PC(USA) General Assembly Witness:

The 218th General Assembly (2008) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) said,

“Large sums of money, and the time needed to raise it, dominate our electoral and legislative processes. Money buys access to legislators as well as to the details in legislation. If they reject special interest money, candidates fear that their opponents will outspend them—and spending counts: incumbents almost always raise more money than challengers, and the candidate who spends the most money almost always wins. (For House seats, the number is more than 90 percent.) Because the Supreme Court has ruled [that] campaign contributions are a protected form of “speech,” the most important reform to enhance the voice of citizens and reduce the role of powerful special interests and big money in elections is public financing. Under such systems, candidates or parties receive public funds to replace or augment private money. Public funding can curb the appearance of the influence of big money over lawmakers, encourage candidates with limited resources to run for office, and allow politicians to spend less time raising money and more time serving their constituents. [emphasis added]