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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.) today reintroduced a bipartisan constitutional amendment to get big money out of politics and restore democratic power to the American people.

The Democracy for All Amendment (H.J.Res. 1) affirms the right of states and the federal government to pass laws that regulate spending in elections, reversing the concentration of political influence held by the wealthiest Americans and large corporations capable of spending billions of dollars in our elections. This legislation comes on the 11th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s disastrous ruling in the Citizens United case, which gave corporations and America’s wealthiest individuals the ability to corrupt our elections and undermine our democracy.

Cosponsors include Reps. Nanette Barragan (D-Calif.), Joy Beatty (D-Ohio.), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), Val Demings (D-Fla.), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), Chris Pappas (D-N.H.), Dean Phillips (D-Minne), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine.) and Norma Torres (D-Calif.)

In the 116th Congress, the Democracy for All Amendment had 221 bipartisan cosponsors.

Rep. Deutch: “The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United put an unacceptable price of admission on American democracy. We cannot allow the wealthiest individuals and corporations to flood our elections with cash through complex webs of Super PACs and dark money groups that put special interests above the will of the American people. Americans overwhelmingly support stronger gun laws to keep our communities safe, action on climate change to preserve our planet, and a fair economy that doesn’t leave the most vulnerable behind or deny people basic needs like health care and a living wage. Unfortunately, big money in our politics gets in the way time and time again. Limitless campaign spending makes it harder for Washington to solve problems and opens the door to corruption. To ensure that our elections produce a democracy for all, we must overturn Citizens United and get big money out of our elections.”

Rep. Katko: “Today, on the anniversary of the Citizens United ruling, I’m pleased to once again join my colleagues in introducing the Democracy for All Amendment, which would make essential reforms to our nation’s campaign finance system. The Supreme Court’s disastrous ruling in Citizens United made clear that a constitutional amendment would be required to address the outsized role of money in politics. In Congress, I’ve been a champion of these commonsense reforms and will keep working to restore democratic power to the American people.”

Rep. McGovern: “We cannot continue to stand by as the American people suffer because wealthy special interests and corporations are able to spend unlimited money each and every election cycle. We must do better for the front-line workers who need PPE and a lifeline to keep their families safe. We need to combat climate change, prevent gun violence, and lower health care costs. Too often, big money and special interests stand in the way, and overturning Citizens United is the best way to restore power to the ballot box and get big money out of politics once and for all.”

Rep. Raskin: “The Citizens United decision was a major error and a departure from the founding truth of our democracy, that political power must flow from the people. We have seen the damage it has caused in the hundreds of millions of dollars of dark money pouring unaccountably into our political system from corporations without the consent or even knowledge of their shareholders. We must reclaim our democracy for the people and this amendment puts us on the path.”

Rep. Sarbanes, Chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force: “The Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United ruling has eroded our democracy and allowed an unprecedented flood of secret, special-interest money to pour into our political system. But House Democrats are fighting back and working tirelessly to clean up the corrupt status quo in Washington by advancing efforts like the Democracy For All Amendment and H.R. 1, the For the People Act – a transformational package of anti-corruption and clean election reforms. I want to commend Congressman Deutch, a key leader on our Democracy Reform Task Force, for once again spearheading this important effort to push back against the Citizen United decision and restore trust, transparency and integrity to Washington.”

Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen: “This unites the American people: They are furious about a rigged political system that responds to the whims of Big Money rather than the needs and desires of regular people. The American people know that Citizens United embodies, perpetuates and locks in that rigged system. That’s why by overwhelming numbers they favor a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and related decisions that create an overclass of the wealthy few and consign the rest of us to political serfdom. Every Member of Congress should co-sponsor the Democracy is for All Amendment, and the day is not far off when two-thirds majority in both houses will. Public Citizen thanks Reps. Deutch, McGovern, Raskin and Katko for leading the way to what will be the 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Ben Jealous, president of People for the American Way: “Money in politics impacts every major issue facing our nation. Supreme Court cases like Citizens United have allowed unlimited outside political spending, and without an amendment to the Constitution we will be left fighting an uphill battle against powerful special interests with bottomless bank accounts. Whether it’s confronting economic inequality or fighting for access to health care and education, big money is able to buy outsized influence in our democracy. On behalf of our 1.5 million members, we wholeheartedly support the reintroduction of the Democracy For All amendment. Americans from all walks of life are ready for bold reforms to build a democracy that truly represents the will of the people.”

Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause: “Americans expect and deserve that our democracy works for everyone, regardless of the size of our wallets. For far too long, megadonors, wealthy special interests, and corporate lobbyists have had a megaphone to drown out the voices of everyday Americans. We greatly appreciate Representative Deutch for championing the Democracy for All Amendment to help get big money out of politics and ensure that all Americans can have a greater voice in our democracy.”

Jeff Clement, president and CEO, American Promise: “We commend the cross-partisan leadership supporting the Democracy For All Amendment. A constitutional amendment like this will end the dominance of big money in our elections, usher in new voting and anti-corruption reforms, and place power back in the hands of the American people. Americans from across the political spectrum are tired of big money elections drowning out our voices. As America is still reeling from the toxic disinformation driven by the $14 billion price tag of the 2020 election cycle, we look forward to bringing all Americans together to pass and ratify this constitutional amendment to restore faith in our democracy and the voice of all Americans.”

Tiffany Muller, president, End Citizens United / Let America Vote Action Fund: “The Citizens United decision has polluted our democracy by allowing big money to silence the voices of everyday people–including $2.9 billion in outside spending in the 2020 election alone. Americans are tired of a political system that too often works for the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of everyone else. We unequivocally support the Democracy for All amendment and applaud Reps. Deutch, McGovern, and Raskin for their commitment to unrigging the system and ending the dominance of special interest money in politics.”

Jana Morgan, director of the Declaration for American Democracy: “We commend our congressional leaders for the introduction of Democracy for All Amendment, making it clear that our government should be representative of all Americans, and not just of corporate and elite interests. Creating an equitable democracy starts with curbing unfettered spending and eliminating the influence of big money in politics. This amendment will bring us closer to achieving our foundational ideal, that America is truly governed for and by the people.”

John Bonifaz, co-founder and president of Free Speech For People: “Now more than ever, we must stand up to protect our republic. Across the political spectrum, Americans want a constitutional amendment which will reclaim our democracy. The Democracy For All Amendment would allow for overall campaign spending limits and would end the big money dominance of our elections. We applaud the re-introduction of this amendment, and we urge Congress to pass it and send it to the states for ratification.”

Support Democracy. This might be the dumbest country on earth...

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Club for Growth is bad for Alabama

If you want to know what Hell will be like, take a long hard look at the final weeks of a political campaign. Breathe in the stench of desperation and resultant lies. It explodes when the out-of-state PACs start flooding our hometowns with nasty ads to accomplish the agendas of the millionaires who fund them.

The Swamp, usually content to stay in DC, seeps into our districts.

That's what Club for Growth is currently doing to the two southernmost congressional districts in Alabama. They are pouring more than $2 million into the Republican congressional runoffs in AL-01 and AL-02.

Don't miss this: the amount this conservative PAC is spending to defeat two pro-business, pro-life conservatives in South Alabama is more than twice what they're spending against all Democratic candidates nationwide. In the 2018 midterms, they spent more against Republicans than against Democrats.

Who are these people, and why are they suddenly so passionate about what goes on in South Alabama?

Club for Growth is funded by a cadre of zillionaires from places like Chicago, Philadelphia, Portland, and beyond. By a country mile, their most prominent donor is a guy named **** Uihlein, who makes shipping and office products you've probably seen under the brand name U-Line. Mr. Office Products has dumped more than $16 million in the Club for Growth kitty in the last year.

Read: Not from Alabama. Not concerned about Alabama's particular needs. Not in any way accountable to the people of Alabama.

Why is a "conservative" group radically committed to defeating two decidedly conservative candidates in favor of others who--based on declared policy positions--are virtually identical to their opponents? Why doesn't CFG trust Alabama Republicans to pick their primary winners, and dedicate their resources to making sure conservative candidates prevail in November over Democrats in swing districts?

It’s because Chicago and Philadelphia business people have an agenda that serves the interest of their businesses. They loathe Trump’s tariff plan. They think the Farm Bill is a government handout that Congress should slash. They think projects like widening the shipping channel in Mobile Bay--maximizing the capacity of the port and securing tens of thousands of Alabama jobs--is a waste. They also want to get rid of federally-backed flood insurance.

You see, hurricanes aren't a problem in Chicago.

And to accomplish their goals, they need a certain number of sitting Congressmen fully on board.

How do out-of-state fat cats line up Alabama Congressmen to do their bidding? They search the world over and find candidates who need the money. They check them out and decide who will play ball, and then they show up with sacks of cash and a low regard for the truth. They firebomb the district with propaganda in the final days of the campaign, hoping to sway undecided voters.

If they are successful, when the smoke clears, the guy they super-funded knows that he owes his political life to them. Hard to say "no" to the folks who put you over the wall. And that's how an out of state group gains tremendous sway over Alabama's congressional representation.

No man can serve two masters.

When these races in the two southernmost districts of Alabama were in the hands of the people who knew the candidates best, they were pretty clear. Jeff Coleman (AL-02) and Jerry Carl (AL-01) have the endorsements of the Alabama Farmers Federation, the Business Council of Alabama, countless mayors, chambers of commerce, and on and on. And to be clear, Alabama business and industry leaders aren’t doing either of these guys a favor with their endorsements. Each organization has a mandate from its members to use its political influence to benefit their own. Alabama’s own.

Both Coleman and Carl are either largely self-funded or funded by donors within the state. Donors who have a vested interest in seeing Alabama prosper. But the Club for Growth guys decided they knew better, and that they would spend any amount of money to defeat them. I promise you this: a Chicago billionaire doesn’t give a whit if Mobile loses jobs because their port can’t handle them, or if Wiregrass peanut farmers get kicked in the teeth by gutting of the Farm Bill. He never has to look these people in the eye.

So CFG hires some folks to photoshop Jerry Carl to look like a cartoonish “Swamp Creature” and spends more than a million dollars drowning his district in that imagery. (A PAC calling a homegrown businessman a “swamp creature” is rich.) They photoshop a picture of Jeff Coleman onto a donkey flanked by Nancy Pelosi and spend a fortune telling you on repeat that they are birds of a feather. (Real life: Jeff Coleman is so conservative, Nancy Pelosi would cross the street to avoid speaking to him.) It’s all so ridiculous that it would be funny...if it didn’t sometimes work.

But it does. And even if you generally agree with Club for Growth’s free-market philosophy, you should never approve of their methods. Like many PACs, they lie and destroy what little civility a race has left in the final days. As a Christian, I will never accept that. I will not reward it. What’s more, they spend far more money running negative ads against the opponents of their chosen candidates than on positive ads extolling the virtues of said candidates. Again, not exactly a study in integrity.

The only thing that can neutralize the landslide of toxic messaging and attempted power grab of a group like Club for Growth is a populace that decides to reject them. To reject deceptive, gutter politics coming from them or any other.

We should be indignant when folks come to Alabama to "explain" our own people to us. We've been here a long time, Club for Growth, and we haven't been asleep. We know these guys. We understand how they live their lives, how they run their businesses, and what they stand for.

It is insulting that you attempt to tell us what ruby red, deeply conservative Alabama needs. It is revolting that you drive the political discourse so far into the ground that it can smell brimstone. You want a project that desperately needs some conservative attention? I've got one for you; it's in your backyard.

It’s called Chicago. You should go get on it. Because we’ve got this.

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