The Initiative Will Create a Non-Partisan Citizens Commission to Support The 28th Amendment to The U.S. Constitution to End the Influence of Big Money in U.S. Elections
BOSTON, MA – Today, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey certified the People Govern, Not Money Initiative Petition to establish a non-partisan Citizens Commission to advance the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to address the undue influence of concentrated money on elections and government policy. The constitutional amendment would overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which struck down the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and other campaign finance laws under a theory that corporations, unions, and the wealthy have a free speech right to spend unlimited money to influence elections.
“Nearly everyone agrees that we need the 28th Amendment so that people — not money, not corporations, not unions – govern,” says Deborah Scarff of Burlington, Co-Chair of People Govern Not Money Ballot Initiative, “But now we need people to stand up for what they believe in and do the work to make it happen. This is an all-volunteer run campaign and we’re not going to get this on the ballot unless we all work together. So, if you’re reading this, go to www.PeopleGovernNotMoney.org and sign up to help us collect signatures to put the People Govern, Not Money initiative on the ballot.”
People Govern, Not Money, an all-volunteer signature gathering effort, plans to collect over 90,000 signatures by November 22, 2017 to place this initiative on the 2018 ballot in Massachusetts.
“Placing a question on the Massachusetts ballot is no small task,” says Ben Gubits, Associate Director of American Promise. “We need to recruit over 900 volunteers to gather signatures from 90,000+ Massachusetts voters before the question may proceed.”
“I think we’re all frustrated. We’re frustrated by politicians who only care about raising money and doling out perks to special interests,” says Liz Tighe, a volunteer native of Mansfield and currently residing in Concord, “The People Govern Not Money initiative is about citizens standing up and fighting back.”
Once established, the 15-member Citizens Commission will research, take testimony, provide a report and make recommendations to assist in the drafting, promoting, proposing and ratifying of the 28th Amendment.
In 2012 and again in 2014, the Massachusetts legislature passed cross-partisan resolutions supporting the 28th Amendment and calling on the U.S. Congress to pass the amendment and send it to the states for ratification. More than 200 cities and towns in Massachusetts have likewise passed such resolutions. Versions of the 28th Amendment to overturn Citizens United have more than 40 co-sponsors in the US Senate and 150 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The People Govern, not Money initiative will enable all Massachusetts voters to be heard on the amendment, and creates the non-partisan Citizen Commission to provide accurate information about the influence of money in Massachusetts politics; recommend language of the constitutional amendment; and prepare Massachusetts to ratify the amendment when it is passed by Congress. The Citizen Commission is intended to hold legislators’ “feet to the fire” so that the cross-partisan support among the people is reflected in the Congress and the legislature, and to bring greater attention and visibility to the impact of big money on our democracy and highlight the need for the 28th Amendment.
“Citizens have been sidelined in politics by big money,” says Larry Scarff of Burlington, Co-Chair of People Govern Not Money Ballot Initiative, “The People Govern, Not Money initiative, is not only about winning the 28th Amendment to end the rule of big money, it’s about citizens stepping up and doing the work to restore a government of, by, and for, the people.”
“The history of the U.S. has demonstrated the positive correlation between a strong democracy and healthy business climate,” says Matt Patsky, CEO of Trillium Asset Management in Boston. “Citizens United has led to an erosion in our democracy which I fear will lead to a decline in the U.S.’s leadership role in the global economy.” Patsky, a finance industry veteran, is one of the ten citizens who formally petitioned for the People Govern Not Money initiative.
“This is not a conservative cause or a liberal cause. This is an American cause,” says Jeff Clements of Concord, President of American Promise, “The people of Massachusetts can come together with this ballot initiative to drive forward the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution will secure a government run by people, not big money special interests.”
“I hope everyone in Massachusetts can back this cross-partisan effort,” said Helen Brady, a Republican and former legislative candidate in Concord. “Everyone knows the overreaching power of super PACs, and the powerful entities who fund them, such as labor unions and large corporations. This out of control. The “Pay to Play” game is, in fact, drowning out the voices of ordinary Americans and putting our country on the road to ruin. This initiative and the 28th Amendment are necessary steps to return power back to “We the People” as the Constitution intended.”
“This ballot initiative demonstrates the power of the people of Massachusetts to bring big reform even in the face of entrenched monied interests,” says Cheryl Crawford, the Executive Director of MassVote, which works to register, educate and mobilize voters, with a focus on historically underrepresented communities in Massachusetts.
19 states and over 800 cities and towns have passed 28th Amendment resolutions with cross-partisan support. In Montana and Colorado, voters have approved 28th Amendment ballot initiatives by 75-25%. In November, Washington State became the 18th State to call for the 28th Amendment, with a voter initiative passing by wide margins in every region and every Congressional district of the state.
Currently, volunteer led signature gathering efforts are underway in Wyoming and Missouri in order to place initiatives calling for the 28th Amendment on the ballot in 2018.
People Govern, Not Money is an all-volunteer led signature gathering effort working to advance the 28th Amendment to affirm that We the People – not big money, not unions, not corporations – govern the United States. The group includes Massachusetts citizens of various political affiliations, demographic backgrounds from towns across the state, volunteering their time to make the 28th Amendment a reality. Learn more and volunteer at www.PeopleGovernNotMoney.org
American Promise, a national non-partisan, non-profit organization is supporting citizen led initiatives in 50 states with one goal: winning the 28th Amendment to get big money out of politics. American Promise inspires, empowers, and organizes Americans from across the political spectrum to build support for the 28th Amendment community by community, state by state, to drive the Amendment out of Congress and to the States for ratification.To learn more about American Promise and to help this cause, visit www.AmericanPromise.net