clean elections

Mainers sent the nation a message on Tuesday, strongly approving a money in politics ballot initiative that puts control of elections back in the voters' hands and reduces the power of big money.
Until a few years ago, teachers, waitresses and firefighters could run for office in Maine -- and win.
A republic which remains unchecked by the people it was intended to represent is in no form a republic. Because of the people of Maine, in November, America will witness a decision handed down not by the government or special interests, but by the people.
The legislation includes tighter contribution limits and beefed-up enforcement of New York's campaign finance laws. But its centerpiece is a "fair elections" program that would boost the clout of small-dollar campaign donors by supplementing their modest contributions with public matching funds.
To explain why Congress has failed to address the climate change crisis we need look no further than to the biases caused by the way we fund our politics.
Given its success, Maine should stand out as a paragon for the country to follow. Instead, Mainers are fighting to save their clean elections law.
What happened in Albany last week has major implications for national anti-corruption efforts that are central to making progress on the issues that you care about most, yet keep losing. Health care, climate change, education, financial oversight, military spending... the list goes on.
"It's not that the system is broken," says the conservative populist Governor Buddy Roemer, "it's that it's bought." The question that logically follows is what we, the American people, can do about it. How can we remove the corroding influence of money in politics?
The state of New York has become an embarrassing example of what can happen when money is allowed to rule politics. But New York and its governor, Andrew Cuomo, now have an opportunity to shed the state's pay-to-play image.
The Hawaii drive for public financing of campaigns is another illustration of how Americans are pushing back against the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporations have the same rights as people.
I believe in an American Dream predicated on a system where everyone plays by the same rules, where the game isn't rigged to benefit the elite at the expense of the rest of us, and where a convenience store clerk can run for state office -- and win.
The New York City model provides a six-to-one match for small-dollar donations up to $175 each. That means that a $20 donation
It's crazy that the Constitution has to be amended to clarify what for the majority of Americans is a clear and true statement: corporations are not people. But that's where we find ourselves today.
Money may talk, but it shouldn't buy our democracy and here in Maine, we have proven that there's a better way.
Simply overturning Citizens United won't provide us with a campaign system that provides fair results. We were doing poorly before Citizens United, too. We need a far more aggressive change than just overturning that one ruling.
Reversing the baleful impact of the Citizens United ruling and instituting effective election reform will not be accomplish quickly, but the longer we wait, the more entrenched these corrupting influences will become. We must act now.
After two years of growing public opposition and mounting evidence of the damage of uncontrolled money in politics, the Court should reconsider its decision in Citizens United.
Hundreds of candidates across the country have already run and won depending only small donations combined with public funds.
Money makes politicians beholden to outside interests, distracts them from their jobs, and shuts good people out.