In a recent episode of the Mrs. Green’s World Podcast, American Promise President Jeff Clements joined Gina Murphy-Darling to discuss big money’s outsized political influence, corruption and the solution: the 28th Amendment.
In the conversation, Jeff breaks down the history of big money in American politics. Partly as a result of campaign finance violations that occurred in conjunction with Watergate, the United States set strict campaign finance laws in the 1970s. However, that began to shift through a series of decisions by the Supreme Court, including Buckley v. Valeo in 1976. The definitions of corporate rights were most dramatically shifted by the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in 2010, which ruled that spending money in elections was protected as a form of free speech.
“That’s a radical reinterpretation of the idea of free speech,” Jeff says. “What it really does is empower the powerful and diminish just about everybody else.”
The 28th Amendment is instrumental for getting big money out of politics and keeping it out. It will protect future campaign finance limits and disclosure laws from being overturned by the courts. And in order to get it passed, Republicans, Democrats and independents must work together.
“American Promise was launched in order to create that place where we can come together to do big, fundamental and permanent reform,” Jeff says. “And the only way to do that is at the Constitutional level. The Supreme Court broke our Constitution by deciding that money is just free speech, and our equal rights as citizens don’t count, so we need a Constitutional amendment to fix it.”
Passing the 28th Amendment will level the playing field and restore political power for all people, regardless of wealth. But it will only happen if people across the country reject disillusionment and commit to action. In every generation of American history, people have come together to pass amendments that have empowered citizens, including expanding voting rights regardless of race or gender, setting the voting age to 18, and implementing the direct election of Senators.
“All of those big, big things didn’t happen because politicians woke up one day and said, ‘Oh, we’d be a better country if we did those things,’” Jeff says. “So it became clear, well if we really want to do something about it, it’s up to us.”
To hear the rest of the conversation, listen here: http://bit.ly/2OGFGCV
And learn how you can help advance the 28th Amendment here: http://bit.ly/APAction