Keep Money Out of Politics

November 16, 2012

Bloomberg News was the first to report on our long awaited campaign to end the auctioning of our elections: “A new coalition, including former Federal Election Commission Chairman Trevor Potter, Republican lobbyist-turned-convicted felon Jack Abramoff, Theodore Roosevelt IV, and representatives of both Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party have launched a campaign to push Congress to overhaul campaign finance laws. The twist? The group,, first plans to get 1 million signatures endorsing the proposals, and then plans to wage campaigns against incumbents in 2014 who don’t sign onto the legislation.”

After more than a year of planning, Represent.Us: the campaign to pass the American Anti-Corruption Act, is off and running. Take a look at the campaign website, watch the two-minute video, and check out the details of the Act.  (Links to other press coverage can be found at the bottom of this post.)

The campaign is grounded in long-missing strategic assumptions about what’s needed to end a generation of inability to move substantive campaign reform: 1) We will never win this issue with progressives alone—we must enlist the many conservatives and independents who strongly support reform; 2) a winning proposal must be extremely bold and comprehensive; and 3) politicians won’t get money out of politics unless we force them to.

In the words of one reporter yesterday: “A proposal to drastically overhaul campaign finance, lobbying, and disclosure laws was announced …(and) is similar to, but more far-reaching than, other recent reform proposals based mainly on greater public financing of election campaigns, coupled with increased disclosure of the sources of private campaign money.”

The Act would completely transform American politics and policymaking.

We’re working with 30 medium and large membership organizations who are asking their members to become citizen co-sponsors. We’re heavily focused on social media. (Check out this example of a major advocacy group promoting our campaign on Facebook at the bottom of this email.) We’re working with PR experts from Los Angeles and New York to make the Represent.Us an “it” campaign: featured at Fashion Week, rock concerts, and conferences of issue groups fighting K Street. We’re making this campaign fun and pop-culture oriented.

For me, personally, this is an incredibly exciting moment. I have been thinking about how to mount a winnable money in politics strategy for a long, long time. I believe that Represent.Us is the closest thing to that strategy our nation has ever seen. And so does our truly unusual and impressive board of advisors.

Now it’s about hiring great talent off the 2012 campaigns, raising money, and building the unprecedented movement that’s needed to win.

Be in touch. Let me know if you have thoughts about the campaign and how we’re presenting it. Shoot me any questions you might have.

My best,


P.S. I want to quickly dispel a myth that is brewing in some circles: that, given the GOP’s super-sized superPAC failures on Election Day, money in politics is not as big a problem as once thought. The New York Times reported last week, “In virtually every respect, the growth of unlimited fundraising and the move of outside groups to the mainstream of politics have magnified the already outsize role of money in political campaigns.”

Obviously, there are millions of altruistic political donors, but at the root of nearly every broken campaign promise, every devil’s bargain on crucial policy, and every politician’s decision that ultimately hurts the planet and/or his or her constituents, lurks the undue influence of money in politics. It is central to virtually every issue.


Bloomberg: Lawmakers Against Campaign Finance Reform May Have New Foe

The Hill: Abramoff and Occupy Wall Street Join Forces…

Mother Jones: New Group Unveils its Plan to Get Money Out of Politics 

Roll Call: Bipartisan Group Pitches Overhaul of…

Huffington Post: Campaign Finance Reformers Get Back to Work…

Politico Influence 

Daily Kos: Represent.Us Campaign Launched…