Wa senator speaks up for campaign finance reform

Photo from http://www.senatedemocrats.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/marko-liias-225x300.jpg
Photo from http://www.senatedemocrats.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/marko-liias-225×300.jpg

Senator Marko Liias of Washington’s 21st district hosted a public forum in which he spoke out against money in politics and pushed for the reversal of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United case.

Hosted by the league of women voters of Snohomish county, the forum focused around Senator Liias and his concerns over campaign financing and how we might fix it. Here is a short audio summary of the forums conversation with the Senator.

Illinois becomes third state to call for constitutional convention to overturn Citizens United

Do we want to wait who knows how long for the supreme court or congress to do something about Citizens United? If a total of two-thirds of  U.S. state legislatures can agree to a constitutional convention, 34 of 50, then it will be so. Thing is, of the 27 amendments to the constitution enacted thus far in our countries history, none were completed through an article 5 constitutional amendment. Instead, Congress through a two-thirds of state legislature vote proposed the amendments.

Well Illinois just became the third state, behind Vermont and California, to call for the convention. The Rock River Times’ Brandon Reid wrote a more in depth look at this latest step towards a convention.

brookings.edu article on Twitter being used to get around campaign finance laws

improvingtechnologypolicyAfter the Citizens United Supreme Court decision corporation’s independent expenditures have been unlimited.

This great article out of brookings.edu brings up two great general points at the end which give great contest to the recent news about campaign finance and social media.

It’s based on the story about both political parties being caught using Twitter to circumvent contribution limits put in place by Citizens United.

Wolf-pac.com Washington State Representative Looks Ahead

Wolf-pac.com is a nation wide grass roots movement to reverse the supreme courts 2010 citizens united decision and get money out of politics, restoring our representative democracy.

The founders of wolf-pac realize that our federal government cannot be waited on to do something. Plenty of groups are working on that level, wolf-pac on the other hand is working towards proposing an amendment to the constitution through our state representatives as opposed to the federal government.

Through an article 5 national convention wolf-pac can force the amendment to the constitution through a 2/3 majority of states signing on in the pledge to put our political system through a much needed change. All they want is a chance at a real conversation. One the federal level, you’re still getting a conversation with conflicting interests that don’t fall in the common citizens favor!

I recently sat down with the leader of the wolf-pac’s Washington state division, Jeff Eidsness who was appointed to the position in 2013

RCU: How did you first get interested in wolf-pac and movement?

Eidsness: “I’ve been watching the Young Turks for years now, and have followed Wolf PAC ever since it formed during the initial Occupy movement. I started by giving them $10 or $20 per month, because I didn’t feel like I knew how to participate effectively…”

RCU: how can people start participating effectively?

Eidsness: “… first, people can get involved in the fight for free and fair elections (by calling) their state legislators (http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/). Ask for an appointment to speak (or better yet meet) with their elected officials about ending the corrupting influence for wealthy special interests.”

“You don’t have to be an expert to tell your representatives that you are tired of the undue influence of industry lobbyists. That being said, it never hurts to be informed! If you are interested in learning more about the issue in general, Lawrence Lessig’s book, Republic, Lost How Money Corrupts Congress–and a Plan to Stop It is a thorough, if not meticulous rundown of the situation for the layman/non-lawyers among us (people like me!). I also like http://represent.us for good examples of how to communicate with the general public about campaign finance.”

“Once you’ve gotten a lay-of-the-land and evaluate the potential solutions, look around (google: ‘campaign finance reform organizations’?) and find a group with a plan that makes sense to you and then volunteer and/or contribute.”

“As one of many groups of people dealing with different facets of this issue, Wolf PAC is working towards having 34 state legislatures call for a convention of the states to discuss and hopefully propose an amendment(s) that would restore the founder’s idea of democracy, where the government was subject to the will of the people, and the people alone. If people are interested in volunteering, or simply learning more about the ‘in case of emergency’ clause given to us in Article V of the U.S. Constitution, you can visit http://wolf-pac.com or email me at jeff@wolf-pac.com.”

First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti

In 1978 The supreme court came to a 5-4 decision in a case which reinterpreted the 1st amendment and changed the Television industry.

It allowed corporate money to be spent in television contracts and advertising instead of only investors. With this allowance went investors’ ability to control content.

The decision allowed those with the deepest pockets to hold sway over broadcast decisions much like money has taken over our political atmosphere today.

Look at the state of cable news today. We cannot allow this to happen to our political system any more than it already has!

Fortunately, our democracy was designed the checks and balances for a safe guard against these types of threats to the republic!

John W. Ennis on his newly released Documentary: “Pay 2 Play”

Pay 2 Play is a documentary film by John W. Ennis about the influence of money in politics and how to take back the influential power that money has stolen away from the average American citizen.

via Fandango.com
via Fandango.com

Slated for release in September 2014, Pay 2 Play has been screening in different cities across the nation.

I’ve been lucky enough to have seen one of the first test screenings of the film, which took place in Seattle during the 28th amendment National Roadshow in May of this year.

When I asked if there were any concerns going forward with the release of the film, Ennis had nothing but positive experiences to report.

“The only concerns I have seen from people after the screening are actually people concerned that we won’t do enough to get the film out there, that this is too important, that it should be seen in high schools.”

“Seattle…was still one of the first screenings… (It’s) a powerful reaction to elicit from folks who just saw a film they didn’t know anything about beforehand…”

Ennis’ film is one of a myriad of ways to join the ever increasing battle for political finance reform, but he still sees the influence of the film growing as the countdown to an official release dwindles.

“I know like any film that people care about, it takes time to spread as they share it with others. As it is, I am surprised and inspired by how many have already organized across the country around this issue of reforming campaign finance, so I am grateful to get to offer fuel to their fight.”

You can be inspired or, depending how hard you take it, you might be infuriated. Either way, Pay 2 Play is sure to make waves in an ever rising tide of discontent towards money in politics!