The Supreme Court's misguided 5-4 Citizens United v. FEC ruling authorized corporations to spend limitless amounts of money influencing elections. In the majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Court claimed "The appearance of influence or access will not cause the electorate to lose faith in this democracy."
They were wrong. With Congress ending last year with a public approval rating of 14%, the electorate isn't just losing faith in this democracy -- it's totally gone. Every year since the Citizens United ruling, special interest groups and corporations have been one-upping their own electoral spending from the previous year with TV ads and media buys. All this spending recently slammed us with a nearly $4 billion midterm last November.
But the Citizens United ruling also detonated a massive movement built on people power to get big money out of politics. 89% of Americans agree that there is too much corporate money in politics and we're doing something about it.
Over 140 organizations and millions of activists have banded together to counteract the Supreme Court's nefarious slash-and-burn of campaign finance restrictions, implemented to safeguard our democratic process from becoming a plutocracy where the wealthy few call all the shots.
In the last five years, 16 states and over 600 cities and towns passed measures calling on Congress to support an amendment to overturn Citizens United. And in September 2014, the U.S. Senate voted for an amendment proposal to reverse Citizens United - only 12 votes shy of the requisite three-fourths majority.
The anti-corruption group, Represent.us - allying with both liberal and conservative groups - worked hard to successfully pass the Anti-Corruption Act in Tallahassee, Florida. This year they are taking the model bill to more cities and states.
Over 30,000 people are legally rubber-stamping messages like "Not to be used for bribing politicians" and "Stamp money out of politics" onto their currency with the grassroots campaign, Stamp Stampede. They are turning money into media by creating millions of mini-billboards and creating a mass visual demonstration of support. I call it a petition on steroids. It's a simple action that anybody, anywhere can do anytime.
As this month marks the fifth anniversary of the Citizens United ruling, hundreds of folks are walking for days in the freezing New Hampshire winter to protest corruption in politics with the New Hampshire Rebellion group. Over 50 events all around the country are being held to educate the public on the toxic outcomes of the Citizens United case.
We the People have made sweeping gains in the last 5 years to take back a government of, for and by the people. And we're just getting started. As our politicians increasingly rely on big money, we are relying on the growing force of people-power to keep democracy alive.