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LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 The League of Women Voters The League’s mission is to protect and strengthen.

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Presentation on theme: "LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 The League of Women Voters The League’s mission is to protect and strengthen."— Presentation transcript:

1 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 The League of Women Voters The League’s mission is to protect and strengthen democracy by urging citizens to be informed voters. The League is non-partisan and doesn’t advocate for or against any politician, candidate for office or political party. The League does develop positions on issues that relate to our core mission, such as transparency in government, voter rights and civic engagement. We work for fair elections by providing objective information to the public.

2 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF MASSACHUSETTS Money in Politics Campaign Finance Reform Task Force

3 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 TOLES © 2012 The Washington Post. Reprinted with permission of UNIVERSAL UCLICK. All rights reserved.

4 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Rebalancing Democracy Responses to Political Influence & Corruption  Response to corruption in the Gilded Age –Tillman Act (1907) –Federal Corrupt Practices Act (1910)  Response to growing unionism after WWII –Taft-Hartley Act (1947)  Response to campaign abuses and Watergate –Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA: 1971)  Response to unrestricted donations/paid advertising –Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (2002: McCain- Feingold)

5 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Courtesy of Larry Lessig, Republic Lost Video, Creative Commons

6 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Supreme Court Decisions Overturning Campaign Finance Reforms 1976:1976: Buckley v Valeo overturned –Limits on candidates’ contributions to own campaigns overturned –Limits on expenditures overturned 1978: 1st National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti1978: 1st National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti –Ban on spending to influence ballot referendums overturned 2008: Davis v FEC2008: Davis v FEC –Public financing to “level playing field” overturned

7 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Citizens United v Federal Election Commission 2010

8 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 WUERKER © 2010 Matt Wuerker. Reprinted with permission of UNIVERSAL UCLICK. All rights reserved.

9 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Chart courtesy of OpenSecrets.org: Creative Commons

10 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August % of population 57% = 47 People

11 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Courtesy of Larry Lessig, Republic Lost Video, Creative Commons

12 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Modified slide based on Open Secrets: Creative Commons

13 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Based on graphic from OpenSecrets.org and The Center for Responsive Politics

14 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Courtesy of Washington Post and The Center for Responsive Politics: Creative Commons

15 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014

16 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 McCutcheon v Federal Election Commission April 2, 2014 Money = speech Voids aggregate limits on contributions

17 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 “... contrary to what decades of political science research might lead you to believe, ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States. And economic elites and interest groups, especially those representing business, have a substantial degree of influence. Government policy-making over the last few decades reflects the preferences of those groups – of economic elites and or organized interests.” Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens

18 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Courtesy of the Washington Spectator, Public Concern Foundation

19 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Resetting the Balance of Influence  LEGISLATIVE CHANGE  REGULATORY CHANGE  CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE

20 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014

21 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 What Government Can Do Legislative Action  Repair and restore The Voting Rights Act  Modernize elections  Pass federal and state corporate charter law standards

22 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Pass The American Anti-Corruption Act  Establish viable public campaign funding system  Require donor disclosure of all contributions and expenditures  Prohibit members of Congress from fundraising from interests they most directly regulate  Eliminate pay to play opportunities  Require longer waiting periods between public service and work as lobbyist

23 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 The Empowering Citizens Act HR 270: Representatives Price & Van Hollen  End individual candidate Super PACs  Repair presidential public financing system  Create similar financing system for congressional races  Strengthen rules prohibiting coordination between outside spending groups and candidates

24 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Government By the People Act HR 20: Rep. John Sarbanes  Provides $25 My Voice Tax Credit to empower everyday Americans to participate in campaigns  Establishes Freedom From Influence Matching Fund to match small grassroots donations  Provides candidates with additional resources to maintain level playing field through end of campaign

25 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 What Government Can Do Regulatory Action  Expand and enforce FCC disclosure requirements  Redefine 501(c)(4) rules  Replace FEC with an independent, non- partisan agency with enforcement teeth  Regulate corporate political campaigning through the SEC

26 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014

27 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Graphic courtesy of Larry Lessig. Creative Commons

28 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Follow the Money! Sunlight Foundation.com MapLight.org

29 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Connect! Rootstrikers.org LWV.org CommonCause.org BrennanCenter.org Democracy21.org

30 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Act! To the Editor: “Secret donations undermine democracy. In the interest of fair and open elections, the League of Women Voters has long called for transparent accounting of all campaign money regardless of the source... ”

31 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Vote! Local Elections State Elections Federal Elections Encourage friends, families and neighbors to be informed and active voters, too!

32 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 Rebalancing the System Other generations have faced democracy moments and acted to bring about necessary change. Let’s Work Together to Make Democracy Work

33 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ® Democracy in the Balance: Version 1, August 2014 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF MASSACHUSETTS Money in Politics Campaign Finance Reform Task Force


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