Congress moves to halt the SCOTUS coup (2 items)

New York — Today, Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mike Castle (R-DE), Walter Jones (R-NC) and Robert Brady (D-PA) introduced legislation in response to the recent Supreme Court ruling, Citizens United v FEC.
“We applaud Senators Schumer, Feingold, Wyden, Bayh and Representatives Van Hollen, Castle, Jones and Brady on their efforts to begin repairing the damage after this radical Supreme Court ruling,” said Susan M. Liss, director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “We hope that Congress passes strong disclosure legislation. Another vital step for our democracy is for Congress to quickly move forward on small donor public financing, the Durbin-Larson bill.”
“A key piece of Schumer Van Hollen’s bill is disclosure — which is the least that we can ask of corporations in the new post-Citizens United era,” said Brennan Center attorney Ciara Torres-Spelliscy. “Another important piece of legislation now moving through Congress is the Shareholder Protection Act, which would give shareholders a chance to see how their money is being spent in a political context they may or may not support.”
“Citizens United was a watershed. And it comes after a year where it is clear that the systems of our government are broken,” said Michael Waldman, executive director of the Brennan Center. “To counter the looming flood of special interest political spending, we need a broad effort to strengthen our democracy. This legislation is a first step of many in the right direction.”
For more information or to set up an interview with Brennan Center experts, please contact Jeanine Plant-Chirlin at 212-998-6289 or at
Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law | 161 Avenue of the Americas, 12th Floor | New York, NY 10013 | 212.998.6730 phone | 212.995.4550 fax |

Save the 2010 elections! Donate now.
Make an urgent contribution.
Dear U.S. PIRG supporter,

“The Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests … to spend without limit in our elections.” – President Obama’s response to Citizens United in his January State of the Union address.

Today, Congress took the first major step to close those floodgates opened by the decision, but to have any impact on the 2010 elections, it must pass the House by Memorial Day. So now the fight begins.

As we saw again this week, the stakes could not be higher: It has been revealed that the balance of Wall Street political contributions has recently swung to those who have been stalling debate on financial reform in the U.S. Senate. [1] There is already too much money in politics, and with the Court’s recent decision, it could go from bad to worse.

Can you make an urgent contribution of $25 to help us pass the bill by May 31?

The Schumer-Van Hollen bill is good stuff: It includes bans on campaign spending from federal contractors, foreign-owned corporations or those that receive taxpayer-funded bailouts. And it requires disclosure of all campaign spending, so voters can judge the credibility of political ads run by Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil.

If we don’t pass this bill, we can expect a flood of corporate money in the upcoming elections. In a 5-4 divided decision the Supreme Court gave corporations the rights of a person, and then used that notion to allow unlimited corporate contributions to the political committees that buy most of the ads that inundate us at election time.

That’s nonsense!

And it’s dangerous. With your help, we’ll be able to fight back.

We know we can win because most Americans agree with you and me, and staunchly disagree with this ruling. In a Washington Post-ABC poll, 8 in 10 respondents said they oppose the high court’s decision, and nearly as many back congressional action to curb the ruling. [2]

Your donations will give our advocates and organizers the resources they need to:

* Meet with Congressional leaders in D.C. and back in their districts to make sure they are hearing their constituents’ support.

* Set up phone banks in a dozen cities to flood key legislators with phone calls from constituents.

* Push to strengthen the bill by including Rep. Mike Capuano’s (Mass.) Shareholder Protection Act, [3] which will give investors a say in how their money is spent in politics.

The bills must then pass the Senate by July 4, and that’s not very much time.

Personally, I am motivated by this issue because the very integrity of our democracy is at stake, and I hope you join me in fighting the Supreme Court’s bad decision. Click below to give an urgent $25 gift to pass these bills through the House by Memorial Day.

If enough of us kick in a small contribution of $25 or more, we can prevent corporations from writing million-dollar campaign checks to corrupt our democracy.

Thanks for all your help.

Andre Delattre
U.S. PIRG Executive Director

[1] Wall Street Rules Help GOP Fill Campaign Coffers, Washington Wire, Apr. 27, 2010.

[2] Poll: Large majority opposes Supreme Court’s decision on campaign financing, Washington Post, Feb. 17, 2010.

[3] Washington, D.C.: New Legislation Would Protect Shareholders Rights, U.S. PIRG, Mar. 11, 2010.

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