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Who in Congress Will Lead the Fight Against Corruption? LET'S FIND OUT!

Overturn-Citizens-United-sm.jpgPlease join our network of volunteers researching and contacting our U.S. Senators and our Representatives in the US:

If they don't have their plan to fix Citizens United posted on their web pages, we are asking them to get that taken care of, and keeping track of whether they do. This way, we'll know which members of Congress we'll need to replace in 2014. We'll call it "Adelson's List."

While there have been protests and other activities from the public in the aftermath of Citizens United — the Supreme Court's decree for unlimited, anonymous spending to influence our elections — most members of Congress have been silent. We the People will need to change that if we are going to make any real progress in protecting our right to self-governance.

That's why we are beginning a campaign to do just that. We are contacting our representatives in Washington and asking them, “Will you be a leader in the fight against the corruption of our Congress, or will you stand in the way?"

To get started, click here!

We need to know if their silence (so far) is that of comfortable incumbents who have simply accepted the Citizens United decree and learned to make it work in their favor. Are they intimidated by oil barons and casino moguls who may target them with million dollar smear campaigns if they dare criticize their methods?

Or are they silent because they think the People don't know enough about money in politics to hold them accountable, let alone care?

When you get an answer from your representatives, share it with us by posting a comment below.

So, let's get this campaign started!  Ask your representatives to "Be A Leader!"  Start here!

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Showing 22 reactions


commented 2013-08-06 10:10:16 -0400 · Flag
Correction: In my comment immediately below, the first sentence in the second paragraph should read, “Of course, a lot of us think this arrangement is a prescription for corruption since these corporations can threaten and bully “OUR” representatives with their unlimited spending.”
commented 2013-03-24 15:35:59 -0400 · Flag
Regarding Congressman Sensenbrenner (below) – I will at least give him credit for not ignoring the question. He doesn’t think that Citizens United needs to be fixed. He agrees that corporations are people (“…..guarantee that people will not be silenced”) and that they should be free to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence the outcomes of elections.

Of course, a lot of us think this arrangement is a prescription for corruption since these corporations can not threaten and bully “OUR” representatives with their unlimited spending. But, at least he is directly addressing his constituent’s question.

Compare his response with the responses we are getting from almost all the other representatives who have responded:
1. They respond by ignoring the question.
2. They talk about other issues in their correspondence with us.
3. They conclude by saying, "If there is anything else I can do for you, please let me know. (As if they had done anything at all!)

Actually, in a way, they DO answer our question because, remember the question is: Will you please be a leader and post your plans (to fix Citizens United) on your web site?

We can look at their web site to see their answer to our question. Their answer, like Sensenbrenner’s, is “NO”. At least Sensenbrenner has the courage to say it!
commented 2013-03-24 15:17:41 -0400 · Flag
Here is the response that I recieved from James Sensenbrenner of WI. Words can not express my feelings toward this response, although I did not realize that it would be so cut and dry.

March 21, 2013

Thank you for contacting me about your opposition to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. I appreciate the opportunity to learn your views.

Some individuals have expressed their desire to amend the Constitution and overturn the Supreme Court’s holding in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. In this decision, the Supreme Court struck down the provision of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law that prohibits union and corporate paid issue ads in the closing days of an election because it violates freedom of speech. Additionally, it was ruled unconstitutional to prohibit corporations from using money from their general treasuries to pay for their own campaign ads.

I applaud the Citizens United decision because it upholds the principles of free speech. Contrary to what President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have stated, the Supreme Court left standing current restrictions on campaign contributions from foreign entities, as well as corporate contributions given directly to a candidate’s campaign. This ruling does, however, guarantee that people will not be silenced on the issues in the days leading up to an election.

Although we disagree on this issue, please know I respect your views. Thanks again for contacting me.

Sincerely,

F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, JR.
Member of Congress

FJS:jp
commented 2013-02-10 13:21:44 -0500 · Flag
Thanks for your comments, Linda, and you’re of course welcome to use any or all of my words if you think them useful!
commented 2013-02-09 16:53:54 -0500 · Flag
Wow Michael, that is worded in a manner that is respectful, yet admonishing. I am going to tweak it just a tad and send it to my Senator’s. (Feinstein and Boxer) Not to be a copycat but I really like it. I will change some wording to make it my own. Thanks from a former Wilton/Nashua resident.
commented 2013-02-08 10:13:20 -0500 · Flag
And here’s the response I just sent to her… Should be interesting to see what I get back…

Dear Representative Shea-Porter:

I appreciate your response to my inquiry regarding any actions you may embark upon regarding the Citizens United v FEC decision—one I know we both abhor. Your letter, however, shows less in the way of leadership than I had hoped. While there are many, many incredibly important issues facing us, the potential disenfranchisement of millions due to the unlimited use of dark money by special interests has to be near the very top of that list. I, personally, long for the days when I first began voting and was able to truly trust that my vote was just as important as any other. Sadly, that no longer seems to be the case, and I see little impetus from either the House or the Senate to correct that problem.

I hope I will soon see more leadership on this issue from you, as well as from Representative Kuster and the entire NH delegation.

Thank you,

Michael Charney
Bedford NH
commented 2013-02-08 10:07:59 -0500 · Flag
Here is the response I received from Carol Shea-Porter (D) NH-1. Frankly, it seems weak, referencing a bill introduced in the 111th, and then basically leaving me with an “Oh well… the 113th isn’t gonna do anything about it anyway….” feeling. I then get the stock “check my record,” response. Frankly, I doubt she saw my original email at all; th is has a staff-written tone to it….

M.

Dear Michael,

Thank you for contacting my office with your concerns about the Citizens United decision and the need for campaign finance reform.

I agree that our current campaign finance system is flawed. That is why I do not accept campaign contributions from corporate PACs or federal lobbyists. I was proud to be a cosponsor of H.R. 1826, the Fair Elections Now Act, when it was introduced by Rep. John Larson in the 111 th Congress. The Act would create a voluntary public financing system for congressional elections and emphasize small donor contributions by providing a four to one federal match of contributions below $100 from residents of a candidate’s state. The Fair Elections Now Act has not yet been introduced in the 113 th Congress. I will keep your thoughts in mind should the House consider this or any other campaign finance reform legislation.

To learn about current legislation or about my voting record, I invite you to visit the Library of Congress legislative information website ( www.thomas.gov ). There, you can find the full text of a bill or a summary, who introduced it and when, who is cosponsoring it, and where it is in the legislative process. I also invite you to visit my website ( http://shea-porter.house.gov ) for more information about bills that I have introduced or cosponsored, and for issue updates, position statements, or to sign up for my email newsletter. You can also connect with me by visiting my official Facebook page ( www.facebook.com/RepSheaPorter ) and Twitter feed ( http://twitter.com/RepSheaPorter ).

Thank you again for contacting my office. It is a privilege to serve you in Washington.

Sincerely,
Carol Shea-Porter
Member of Congress
commented 2013-02-06 18:13:17 -0500 · Flag
Senator Brown has a link on his site on this. I haven’t heard from the others yet. http://www.brown.senate.gov/newsroom/in-the-news/article/brown-calls-for-full-disclosure-in-campaign-finance-laws
commented 2013-02-01 08:26:50 -0500 · Flag
Frank, et. al.
I, too, received a response – presumably the same one – from Senator Casey’s office. It’s attached in full at http://didyoucheckfirst.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/ask-your-house-rep-senators-to-be-a-leader-on-overturning-citizens-united/

I will say this for the Senator. He co-sponsored S.2219, the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending (DISCLOSE) Act, and voted for S.3369, a version of the DISCLOSE Act that got only 52 votes which, as we all painfully know, isn’t 60.

Ah, to be back in a time when ‘majority’ meant more than one-half, and the threat of a filibuster wasn’t the same thing as an actual filibuster.
commented 2013-01-31 10:19:19 -0500 · Flag
I just heard back from my Senator Robert Casey (PA). I won’t reprint his response here but here is my note back to him:

“Dear Senator Casey,

In my earlier letter to you I asked if you will post your plans to fix Citizens United on your web site. You did not address this question in your response to me. I have looked at your web site and found nothing at all about Citizens United. So, I have to conclude that your answer to my question is “NO”.

I, and many other Pennsylvanians, sincerely wish that you would be a leader in our effort to create a government worthy of the trust of the citizens and true to our democratic heritage."

I think I am seeing a pattern here: we write, they answer but they don’t directly address our question, they don’t post their plan to fix Citizens United, so they are really answering “NO”.

Large portions of the citizens (across parties and no party) are opposed to Citizens United. Why won’t incumbent politicians stand with the citizens? Why is it so difficult for them to talk about this problem?

Anybody?
commented 2013-01-29 20:07:02 -0500 · Flag
Hi Linda and Greg,

Senator Feinstein and Congressman Murphy (PA-18) responded with some nice words but if we want their direct answer to our direct question, (Will you post your plans to fix Citizens United on your web site?.) we have to look at their web sites for their answer. Their answer is “NO”.

In Senator Feinstein’s case, her web site has statements about dozens of issues but when it comes to the Citizens United decision, which says in her letter is “catastrophic, and has opened the door to corporate spending that can drown out the voices of individual voters.”, she says nothing on her web site.

We aren’t going to get CU fixed until our politicians are willing to start talking about it. Feinstein and Murphy are going to need to hear from more Californians and Pennsylvanians asking these representatives to stand up, speak up, and “Be A Leader!”
commented 2013-01-28 20:10:43 -0500 · Flag
Sorry it is so long. I didn’t feel like it should be abridged.
commented 2013-01-28 20:09:22 -0500 · Flag
This is Sen. Feinstein’s response :
Thank you for contacting me to express your support for the “Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act,” also known as the “DISCLOSE Act.” I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.

You may be pleased to know that I am a cosponsor of the “DISCLOSE Act” (S.3369), which was introduced by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). This legislation would require any organization that spends $10,000 or more on a campaign-related disbursement to file a disclosure report with the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours of the expenditure, and to file a new report for each additional $10,000 or more that is spent. This would apply to any corporation, labor organization, section 501© or 527 organization, or Super PAC. In addition, all groups must certify that they are not coordinating with candidates or political parties.

On July 16th and 17th, 2012, I voted in favor of debating S. 3369 on the Senate floor, but the measure failed twice by a vote of 51 – 44 and 53 – 45, respectively (60 votes were needed for the motion to prevail). I am very disappointed by this outcome.

Like you, I believe the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is catastrophic, and has opened the door to corporate spending that can drown out the voices of individual voters. As you may know, the Court held that the ban on corporations, unions, and certain nonprofits using their general treasury funds to air broadcast, cable, or television ads advocating for or against a candidate violates these entities’ First Amendment rights.

Our campaign finance laws are critical to ensuring that our elections are held in a fair and ethical manner and the “DISCLOSE Act” is an important step toward restoring transparency and accountability to our electoral system. For your review, I have included a copy of my statement on the “DISCLOSE Act.” Please know that I will keep your thoughts in mind as I continue to work toward passage of this legislation.

Again, thank you for writing. If you have any additional questions or comments, please contact my office in Washington, D.C. at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein

Statement on the DISCLOSE Act of 2012

Mr. President, I rise today to express my strong support for the DISCLOSE Act of 2012.

This bill is a first step toward restoring some transparency and accountability to our electoral system, an action sorely needed in the wake of the Supreme Court’s misguided Citizens United decision.

If the DISCLOSE Act is passed by Congress and signed into law it would put in place the following two new campaign disclosure measures:

· It requires third-party groups to disclose their top funding sources—those over $10,000—to the Federal Election Commission.

· And it requires these independent groups to certify that their activities are not coordinated with candidates or political parties.

Why are these new disclosure requirements necessary?

The DISCLOSE Act is necessary because Citizens United, a narrow 5-4 decision by the Roberts Court, struck down critical parts of the “Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.”

Let me be clear: Citizens United upended nearly a century of congressional law and overturned two Supreme Court rulings. It is the reason “Super PAC” is now a household phrase, and the decision troubled me greatly.

The Court held that the 1st Amendment affords corporations and interest groups the right to spend freely —millions, even billions of dollars—on election ads to support or defeat a particular candidate.

The practical effect of the decision didn’t take long to appear. We have already seen how unlimited and opaque special interest money can decide a presidential primary, and we continue to see the impact during the current general election.

The Citizens United decision has opened the door to unlimited, undisclosed corporate and special-interest spending in federal elections.

In other words, an individual or a corporation can give tens of millions of dollars to an independent campaign effort to slander, impugn or oppose a candidate or an issue or to support the same anonymously.

And under current law there is no requirement to disclose to the voters or any government agency the names of the individuals who contributed to these campaign efforts.

This is total unlimited and anonymous spending.

Let me repeat: unlimited spending.

It is impossible to exaggerate how far-reaching this decision is: it weakens the very essence of our democracy and the integrity of our system of elections.

What does this mean in the real world?

· This means an oil company like ExxonMobil, which earned $41 billion in profits last year, can spend unlimited money to defeat candidates who oppose offshore drilling.

· It means Academi (the company formerly known as Blackwater) and other defense contractors can spend unlimited sums to elect of candidates who view their defense positions favorably.

· And large banks will be free to use their corporate treasury to attack candidates in favor of financial regulation and consumer protection.

During testimony in 2010, Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21 said it well:

· “It would not take many examples of elections where multimillion corporate expenditures defeat a member of Congress before all members quickly learn the lesson, vote against the corporate interest at stake in a piece of legislation and you run the risk of being hit with a multimillion-dollar corporate ad campaign to defeat you.”

Since Citizens United, we have seen explosive growth in outside corporate and special-interest expenditures:

· The fall 2010 midterm elections ushered in the independent third-party groups, which spent a record $300 million during that election cycle.

· This amount is quadruple the $69 million spent by outside groups in 2006. Nearly three-quarters of political advertising in 2010 came from sources prohibited from spending money in 2006.

· By the summer of 2008, about $70 million had been spent by third-party groups during the presidential race.

· According to the Center for Responsive Politics, outside groups are currently on pace to at least triple that 2008 total. An astonishing $167 million has already spent as of July 11, 2012.

· Almost $140 million of this comes from super PACs established in the wake of the Citizens United decision.

· As of July 11th, there are 667 registered super PACs that have already raised more than $244 million.

More money is being spent than ever before, and it is clear that these unlimited sums could be a major factor in the 2012 elections.

Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported that many independent ads for the general-election campaign originate from nonprofit interest groups that do not disclose their donors.

The analysis found that politically active nonprofit groups with undisclosed donors have spent more than $24 million in the 2012 cycle on political ads.

The public deserves to know who these donors are.

The value of transparency was demonstrated vividly in 2010, when Texas-based oil companies funded a ballot measure to repeal California’s landmark climate change law, the “California Climate Change Solutions Act.”

Although the campaign for this measure spent more than $10 million, they were unable to conceal that their funding came from out-of-state sources, led by multi-million dollar contributions from Texas-based oil companies.

This transparency allowed California voters to know the real source of advertisements during the campaign and make a more informed decision. That proposition failed, and, I believe it failed because voters knew who was paying for the ads.

Transparency works. It makes a difference.

With public confidence in government at a record low, now is the time for more transparency, not less. We must restore confidence in our government.

The Supreme Court’s made its decision in Citizens United, so there isn’t much that Congress can do. But the DISCLOSE Act is an attempt to make clear the effects of Citizens United and ensure that our election process remains transparent.

The public deserves to know who is funding the Super PACs and other groups that are airing political ads. When voters know who paid for an ad, they make more educated decisions.

The DISCLOSE Act is a step toward making that reality. I thank the chair, and I yield the floor.
commented 2013-01-28 19:46:39 -0500 · Flag
I received a reply from Congressman Tim Murphy today. It’s not as specific as I was hoping for, but is a little more than I expected from him. I give him credit for saying, “I favor a campaign finance system that levels the playing field and by that I mean applying to SuperPACs the same rules that are required of candidates to all those engaged in financing political elections.”

He said nothing about his plans to communicate his strategy in 2013 for overturning Citizens United.

The full text of his email is at:
http://peacefulpatriot.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/ask-your-house-rep-senators-to-be-a-leader-on-overturning-citizens-united/#comment-120
commented 2013-01-26 11:20:52 -0500 · Flag
Hi Cameron, The most likely way (but not the only way) to fix Citizens United is through Congress passing a constitutional amendment and sending it to the states. This means that Representative Lance (NJ 7) is one of the few people in the entire country who has the power to actually do something. I see that his web site has his position on all sorts of issues listed. Many of issues do not come before his committees. Seems that excuse doesn’t hold up too well.
commented 2013-01-25 18:24:19 -0500 · Flag
Representative Leonard Lance NJ 7® – I called Leonard Lance’s Office two days ago to find out what his position is on the Citizens United Ruling and why there was nothing about the ruling that he put up on his Website. He is the Republican House representative of NJ’s 7th District. His Constituent Services Rep told me that since his committee doesn’t handle Election or Election reform that Rep Lance focuses mostly on issues within his control so as not to inflame his constituents politically on issues he has no control over. She would welcome my visit to his office or to schedule a meeting with him.

Senator Menendez NJ (D) – Called his office and mentioned that on his site that they have Issues http://www.menendez.senate.gov/issues That list all sorts of things that NJ Residents care about but nothing about the Citizens United Ruling. The young lady on the end of the phone understood everything I asked her about, including that I and many other people in the Coffee Party are worried about money in politics and that I was wondering why there was nothing about the Senators position on the matter on his website. She told me she would see about getting the information on the site and abruptly ended the call without taking my info, but I am quite sure that it had more to do with her getting off of work then anything I said (The call ended at exactly at 5pm).

Senator Lautenberg NJ (D) – I called his office and received a Voicemail. I am assuming it was Aloha Friday for his office. as I called at 5:10pm and his office is open till 6pm. I will call again Next week.
commented 2013-01-25 12:29:51 -0500 · Flag
I know there are other people in his CD (18th) who have contacted him about this campaign. Let’s wait a while and see what he does.
commented 2013-01-25 12:19:02 -0500 · Flag
Hi Frank,
Thanks for the update. I’m in the 18th District represented by Republican, Tim Murphy. I’m not a fan, and his site is devoid of any substantive info on any issues. :-(
commented 2013-01-25 12:06:37 -0500 · Flag
Hi Greg,
I guess the clearest response to our letters would be for them to actually put their plan to fix CU on their web sites.
I just checked the web sites for Senator Toomey, Senator Casey, and, my Representative, Mike Doyle (14th Congressional District). They haven’t posted anything yet, but they have only been receiving request from citizens for less than a week. Let’s see what happens. Who represents your CD in the House?
Frank
commented 2013-01-24 13:41:39 -0500 · Flag
I got the same canned response from Senator Toomey as you, Frank. I found it to be very unsatisfying, too, and also wrote back. If it helps anyone, I copied the emails (and some additional research) into a post on my blog at http://didyoucheckfirst.blogspot.com/2013/01/ask-your-house-rep-senators-to-be.html

I invite anyone and everyone to feel free to use whatever they like from it. Here’s the opening paragraph…

Dear Senator Toomey:

Thank you for your response.

With all due respect, your attempt to characterize the Citizens United vs FEC ruling as upholding the rights and protections afforded to actual citizens by the First Amendment is insulting and disingenuous. It’s insulting because you and those who defend the activism of the conservatives on the Court seem to believe that you can dupe all of us into believing your partisan framing of that ruling. I humbly remind you that we are not all “low information voters.”
commented 2013-01-22 11:32:57 -0500 · Flag
I just got a response from U.S. Sen. Toomey (PA). He said that “Congress must be mindful of constitutional principals” that allow corporations and unions to spend on elections. I wrote back to him, “Your response points to the need for a constitutional amendment. Will you post your plan to pass a constitutional amendment on your web site?”. Stay tuned…
followed this page 2013-01-21 14:35:08 -0500

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