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March to End Political Corruption

6-mile NH Rebellion March to End Big Money in Politics.

Dublin --- Supporters of clean election reform will participate in a Granny D Memorial Walk from Dublin to Peterborough on Saturday, August 13th. Walkers will depart at 9:15 am from Cobb Meadow Road, near Granny D’s home, for a 6 mile walk ending in Depot Square Park in Peterborough. At the conclusion, food and entertainment will be provided. The public will be invited to share poems, stories and memories of Granny D.
 
Born in Laconia on January 24, 1910, Granny D began her political activism in 1960 when she and her husband, James Haddock, successfully campaigned against planned hydrogen bomb nuclear testing in Alaska, saving an Inuit fishing village at Point Hope. Granny D and her husband retired to Dublin, New Hampshire, in 1972 and there Granny D served on the Planning Board and was active in the community. 
 
At noon, a program will take place at Depot Square (12 Depot Square, Peterborough NH 03458)

Program will include:

    •    Music by Tattoo (Fred Simmons & Leslie Vogel), Granny D's "personal band" 

    •    Granny D Memories- Chuck Weed, Pat Westwater-Jong, Marsha Morrow, Dan Weeks 

    •    Keynote Speaker- Virginia Rasmussen, Move to Amends’ National Leadership Team

Granny D achieved national fame when, at the age of 90, she walked over 3,200 miles across the United States to advocate for campaign finance reform. After initial efforts with Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold to regulate campaign finances, Granny D forged ahead, until her death in March 2010, helping to spearhead a nationwide movement that continues to the current day with numerous groups working to overturn Citizens United and get big money out of politics.
 
“We are proud to continue the fight for clean elections,” said Olivia Zink, executive director of Open Democracy, the Concord, NH based election reform group that was started by Granny D  more than 10 years ago and that leads the bipartisan NH Rebellion project. “Government must work for We The People,” she said.
 
The event is free and open to the general public. For more info:  661-8621 or go to nhrebellion.org 

NH Rebellion is part of Open Democracy, the Concord-based nonpartisan reform organization founded by legendary NH hero Granny D. To learn more about the NH Rebellion, please visit: www.nhrebellion.org. To register for the walk please visit nhrebellion.org. To see details about the planned events,  follow us on Twitter @nhrebellion and on Facebook at: facebook.com/nhrebellion.

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Thank you to all of our July 9th NH Rebellion Walkers!

On Saturday, July 9th, we took to the streets once again to end the corruption of big money in politics and demand the accountability that we need in our legislature.

100 rebels walked the 5 mile trek from Portsmouth to New Castle where we had sandwiches and our Rally to #EndBigMoney in Fort Constitution. There we enjoyed a reading of the Declaration of Independence. Unfortunately, we were unable to have Betti Tamposi, the former assistant secretary of state under President George H.W. Bush, join us this year so David Borden, state representative from New Castle, filled in her for by reading an op-ed that she co-drafted with Dan Weeks. In it she noted her continued support for this movement by stating, “When citizen-funded elections are paired with other bipartisan reforms like full transparency, independent redistricting, closing the revolving door and stopping super PACs, Congress will finally be able shift the balance of power away from special interests and back to the American people.”

We also enjoyed some remarks from our keynote speaker and NH Rebellion founder Lawrence Lessig. He said, “We can’t wait 20 or 30 years to solve the issues facing America. Climate change is not going to wait, and we cannot wait to solve the issue of inequality in America.” Other speakers included John Rauh, founder of Americans for Campaign Reform, and our Democracy Fellow Jazmine Langley who added a very unique perspective to the program by outlining how the issue of big money in politics stifles her demographic: young people, women, and people of color. 

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"I came to New Hampshire looking for hope..."

Scanning through the hours and hours of newly-released video from our We the People Convention on Primary Weekend, I was reminded of this line:

"I came to New Hampshire looking for hope … and I got it!"

That was the actor Sam Waterston bidding farewell to the NH Rebels at the Convention. He had driven five hours through a wicked snowstorm to be with us, and he didn't waste any time speaking with Rebels, the media, and even leading our first march. 

waterston.pngBut Sam didn't come looking for publicity – he came in search of hope. And thanks to all of you, NH Rebellion has brought hope that democracy is possible to a lot more people than Sam. 

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Franciscan Action Network Statement of Support

As people of faith, we recognize the responsibility of government to seek justice for all people and to build the common good. Justice cannot be achieved unless the rules governing the democratic process are just and fair for all. Central to that process is a citizen’s vote—not limited by the powers of money, social class, and unequal access to public media. 

Money has always played a role in electoral politics, but what kind of role it plays should be subject to regulations that reflect ethical and democratic values. Most important, it is necessary to have policy safeguards in place which ensure that more than just the wealthiest interest groups have a voice in the public sphere.

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NH House Votes to Pass, then Kill, Bipartisan Bill to Fight Big Money in Politics

Bill to Overturn Citizens United Blocked, Despite Thousands of Citizen Calls to Legislators 

New Hampshire reformers won a major bipartisan victory today when the NH House voted 156-152 to pass SB 136, a bill calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited spending in elections.  The vote, which followed a unanimous NH Senate approval of the bill last March, would have made New Hampshire the 17th state – and the first with Republican majorities – to officially take a stand against Citizens United.

That vote, however, was quickly reversed through a highly irregular process in a reconsideration vote.

Open Democracy Executive Director Dan Weeks said his organization is investigating the circumstances and urged reporters and concerned citizens to do the same.  The Legislature’s website does not include the original roll call vote to pass the bill; so at this point, citizens are not able to see which Representatives switched their votes on the measure.

The House consideration of the bill was marred by an apparent failure of legislators’ voting machines.  At one point, it was reported that the voting machines showed 24 members as present when they were not in the room; and Representatives were forced to vote verbally, one by one. 

“New Hampshire citizens are frankly disgusted with the amount of special interest money flooding our elections, and SB 136 was an important first step in addressing that problem,” Weeks said.  “We need to protect the First Amendment rights of ordinary Americans to speak and be heard.  As things stand now, citizens are being shouted down by big spenders with an agenda of their own.”

According to the Open Democracy Index, released by Open Democracy in July 2015, $106 million was spent in New Hampshire during the 2014 elections by candidates, parties, and third-party groups – the highest level of election spending in state history.  That political spending equaled more than $200 per vote cast.

More than half of the total spending came from so-called “independent” groups, with the majority of their funding coming from out-of-state and/or undisclosed sources, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.  New Hampshire’s 2014 U.S. Senate contest also ranked as the most negative race in the country with over 90 percent of all television ads characterized as attacks.

To date, 69 New Hampshire municipalities have passed resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.  Concern about political spending crosses party lines, with 96% of New Hampshire residents believing that money has too much influence over politics.

Members of the Open Democracy Advisory Board John Broderick and Brad Cook, the former NH Chief Justice and Republican Chairman of the Election Law Commission, respectively, had urged the House to pass SB 136.  "Although we may not agree on some issues, we both believe there is nothing more destructive of good politics and good policy than secret special interest money in elections,” Broderick and Cook wrote. “Left unchecked, it will consume our electoral process and silence the voice of the people."

As evidence of their frustration with the “big money" status quo, thousands of Granite Staters have walked 30,000 miles collectively throughout New Hampshire as part of Open Democracy’s NH Rebellion campaign.  The Rebellion activists and allied groups are also challenging the presidential candidates to support systemic campaign finance reform during the state’s first-in-the-national primary.

Leaders of New Hampshire’s Faith Community are holding a panel discussion on the issue on Wednesday, January 20th at 6:00 pm at Manchester City Hall.  Speakers include Sr. Simone Campbell of NETWORK/Nuns on the Bus and Karenna Gore for the Center for Earth Ethics.

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We made history in Concord – momentarily

When SB 136 came to New Hampshire House for a vote last Thursday, we made history thanks to you! For all of 20 minutes, NH became the first state under Republican control to call for a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United. Then, House leadership bent the rules and took our win away. 


Check out what the statewide media had to say and read the article below to get the full scoop:

  • "Defeat snatched [from] the jaws of victory and Open Democracy wants answers" Nashua Telegraph and NH1
  • "First, the Republican-controlled House narrowly passed [SB 136]. Then representatives reversed course and killed the bill." – Concord Monitor
  • "Victory snatched away after key House technology failed… Strong-arming by leadership [killed] the bill." – Union Leader
  • "NH House votes to pass, then kill, bipartisan bill to fight big money in politics." – NHLN
  • "Lawmakers, stop embarrassing New Hampshire." – Concord Monitor

If there's one thing the Republican leadership cannot take away, it is our strength and our resolve to #FightBigMoney to the end. Help us continue that fight by calling out House leadership in a letter to the editor of your local paper, and tell Speaker Jasper how frustrated you are at (603) 271-3661.

And speaking of making history, be sure to reserve your seat today for our NH Rebellion We the People Tent Convention with presidential candidates on February 5-7 in Manchester!
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As NED Pipeline Fight Heats Up, Report Finds Kinder Morgan Spent Millions of Dollars on Lobbying and Political Donations Since 2014

Texas-based energy giant Kinder Morgan has spent over $2.5 million in lobbying and campaign donations since 2014, even as it is seeking approval for a controversial new natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to New Hampshire and Massachusetts, according to a new analysis of lobbying and campaign finance records by the nonpartisan organization Open Democracy. 

The analysis finds that Kinder Morgan Inc. and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP began lobbying in New Hampshire and Massachusetts concurrent with the introduction of its Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline proposal in each state. The company spent $53,500 to lobby New Hampshire state government officials in 2014 and an estimated $70,780 in 2015, more than any single public interest, non-profit, or labor organization. 

Fig. 1: Kinder Morgan Lobbying Expenditures in NH and MA since 2011 (2015 data incomplete)  
 KM_1.png

The company also spent $148,500 to lobby Massachusetts officials in 2014 and $301,334 in 2015, prior to year-end disclosures. No lobbying expenditures were reported in New Hampshire prior to 2014 when the proposed pipeline route was changed to include seventeen southern NH towns. Kinder Morgan reported $20,000 and $60,000 in Massachusetts state lobbying in 2012 and 2013, respectively. 

Analysis of federal lobbying expenditures finds several Kinder Morgancompanies including Kinder Morgan, Inc., Kinder Morgan Co2, KinderMorgan Energy Partners LP, and Kinder Morgan Bulk Terminals have engaged in extensive lobbying activities over the last twelve years.Kinder Morgan reported spending $170,000 to-date in 2015, including $110,000 specifically targeted at the NED pipeline proposal which is pending before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The five-member commission of presidential appointees is expected to approve or reject the proposal next year.

In addition to its reported federal and state lobbying activities in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and other states, Kinder Morganexecutives have made significant campaign contributions in recent years, according to the Open Democracy analysis. At least ten KinderMorgan employees made state and federal campaign contributions totaling more than $3 million in 2014-16. Company Chairman RichardKinder and his wife Nancy accounted for the bulk of the contributions, giving $2 million to the Right to Rise Super PAC supporting presidential candidate Jeb Bush. 

Texas Senator Ted Cruz received $11,400 in campaign contributions from Kinder Morgan employees to his 2012 Senate campaign and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received a $1,000 contribution in 2015. Former House Speaker John Boehner received $90,200 in campaign contributions. 

Fig. 2: Kinder Morgan Contributions to 2016 Presidential Candidates 

Candidate

Amount

Year

Jeb Bush

$2,205,829

2015

Hillary Clinton

$1,000

2015

Ted Cruz*

$11,400

2012

TOTAL

$2,218,229

 

At the state level, NH Governor Maggie Hassan and MA Governor Charlie Baker received $2,000 and $1,000 in campaign contributions, respectively, from Richard and Nancy Kinder in 2014. 

All told, the analysis found $397,950 in federal and $557,000 in state campaign contributions from Kinder Morgan executives in 2014, and at least $2,211,269 in contributions to 2016 federal campaigns to-date. Analysis of campaign contributions over time finds a total of estimated $5.3 million since 2000, 87 percent of which was given to Republicans (2014-16 partisan contributions breakdown is estimated).

Fig. 3: Kinder Morgan Contributions to State and Federal Candidates and Super PACs, 2000-2015

Year

Total Amount

Republican

Democrat

2000

$329,388

97%

3%

2002

$315,996

99%

1%

2004

$375,562

96%

1%

2006

$126,061

82%

18%

2008

$152,555

63%

36%

2010

$433,849

61%

38%

2012

$389,110

97%

1%

2014

$982,689

92%

3%

2016

$2,211,269

99%

1%

TOTAL

$5,316,479

87%

11%

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Big Money Dominates Top 2016 Mayoral Races in NH

As the presidential primary season heats up in New Hampshire, the amount and influence of money in national politics is becoming a major election topic for candidates and the public. Nearly six years after the Supreme Court handed down its controversial Citizens United v. FEC ruling, allowing unlimited spending by corporations and unions on behalf of candidates, the rate of increase of money in local, state, and national elections has continued to far outstrip inflation. Although New Hampshire’s off-year municipal elections have historically seen low spending and low turnout, the trend in campaign funding in the upcoming November 3rd mayoral elections in the state's two largest cities of Manchester and Nashua is not dissimilar to that of national elections.

I. Mayoral Campaign Funding Levels

For the first time ever, all four candidates for mayor in the 2015 Manchester and Nashua general elections have raised six-figure sums to finance their election elections totaling $847,023. Incumbent Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas reported an unprecedented $252,810 at the end of June and an additional $57,050 on September 24th, ten days after the primary election, for a combined $309,860. That sum is twice the $152,000 Gatsas raised through the second quarter in 2013 and three times the $99,000 (including $25,000 in self-funding) he reported in 2011. Gatsas reported 324 individual donations for an average donation size of $956, the largest of any mayoral candidate in either city. Gatsas received the most votes in the September 14th primary.

Figure 1: Amount Raised by 2015 Mayoral Candidates in Manchester and Nashua  

Mayor1.png

Mayor1B.png 

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Open Democracy Statement on Senate Bill 136

Bipartisan Leaders Call on NH House to End Endless Spending in Elections
House committee voted Tuesday to refer to interim study SB 136

Concord, NH - A group of New Hampshire leaders from both political parties is calling on state lawmakers to put an end to endless spending by billionaires and special interest groups in elections, a practice it believes is undermining American democracy. 

The NH House Legislative Administration Committee voted 7-3 on Tuesday to refer to interim study SB 136, the bipartisan bill affirming the need to overturn Citizens United and examining the effects of unlimited spending on New Hampshire elections. The vote effectively blocks SB 136 from further action until 2017 unless the full House rejects the committee's recommendation and passes the bill when it comes to a vote in January.

While proponents had hoped to receive full support from the committee, the "Interim Study" vote from representatives previously hostile to the measure demonstrates the growing public demand to get money out of politics and leaves the door open to future action. The latest October 2015 Bloomberg poll found that 78 percent of Americans and 80 percent of Republicans want to overturn Citizens United, while only 17 percent support for the ruling. In March, the State Senate approved the measure by unanimous consent.

"Citizens United has been an all-out disaster for democracy," said Betty Tamposi, former Assistant Secretary of State under President Bush and an Open Democracy Advisor. "We teach our kids that the size of your wallet shouldn't determine your standing as a citizen, but thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court and an intransigent Congress, the opposite is true today. We call on the full House to undue the committee recommendation and instruct Congress to overturn Citizens United by passing SB 136 in January."

"There is nothing more destructive of good politics and good policy than secret special interest money in elections," added John Broderick, the former Chief Justice of the NH Supreme Court and an Open Democracy Advisor. "Left unchecked, it will consume our electoral process and silence the voice of the people."

Tamposi, Broderick, and ten other New Hampshire leaders from across the political spectrum are part of Open Democracy, the nonpartisan nonprofit founded by legendary reformer Doris "Granny D" Haddock in 2009. Open Democracy and allied groups have campaigned actively to translate public anger over money-in-politics corruption into positive action for reform, with a special focus on the 2016 presidential primary currently under way. As a result of their efforts, 69 New Hampshire towns have passed warrant articles at town meeting calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and some 12,000 Granite Staters have echoed the call through petitions.  

In January 2014 and 2015, hundreds of concerned citizens marched over 200 miles in frigid temperatures across the state to protest big money corruption as part of Open Democracy's NH Rebellion campaign. The Rebellion has led more than a dozen walks and logged 30,000 miles throughout New Hampshire since 2014, with an eye to making money in politics reform the leading issue in the upcoming presidential election. Over 500 citizens rebels have volunteered to question the presidential candidates about reform; the resulting candidate statements and videos are publicly available at www.Questionr.us

"Recommending interim study is a tacit acknowlegdment of the hundreds of thousands of New Hampshire citizens who want reform, but it is not enough" said Dan Weeks, executive director of Open Democracy and leader of the NH Rebellion. "Our representatives should not hide behind legislative delay tactics – they should take action now to stop the corrupting influence of big money in politics. We hope to see the New Hampshire House reject the committee's recommendation in January, and listen instead to the voices of their constituents."

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Message to Supporters re: State House Action for Campaign Finance Reform

Wars aren't won overnight and our fight against Big Money politics is no exception. But I'm excited to report that ground is being gained every week here in New Hampshire, as the presidential candidates and state lawmakers respond to our demands for real reform.

First, an urgent requesttomorrow, the NH House Admin Committee will hold a long-awaited vote on SB 136, the bipartisan bill to call on Congress to overturn Citizens United by passing a Constitutional Amendment. Can you spare a few minutes right now to call three Republican state representatives and politely urge that they vote "Ought to Pass" on SB 136?

Rep. Russell Ober - (603) 883-9654
Rep. Brad Bailey - (603) 638-2118
Chairman Rep. Richard Hinch - (603) 261-6317

We also invite you to join us tomorrow, October 13th at 9:30am outside the Legislative Office Building, 33 N State St in Concord to hold signs and greet the committee members as they arrive for the big vote. If the NH House follows the State Senate's lead, which passed SB 136 unanimously in March, we will become the 17th state to call for a Constitutional Amendment and the first with Republican majorities.

Momentum is on our side. Earlier today, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Lindsay Graham spoke to the NH Rebellion and other activists in Manchester and declared that overturning Citizens United"would be a priority for me", as reported by CNN. Ten days ago, Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Martin O'Malley released his ambitious “Restoring Our American Democracy” agenda, incorporating our suggestions for full disclosure, citizen-funded elections, overhauling the FEC, and overturning Citizens United

Last month, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released an ambitious reform agenda of her own embracing our ideas – the first time in my lifetime that a presidential frontrunner has made ending big money corruption a leading cause of the campaign. And that's not to mention the steady drumbeat against big money corruption and crony capitalism from candidates like Bernie SandersLawrence LessigCarly Fiorina, and Donald Trump. For all the latest statements and to find an upcoming event where you can Ask the Question directly of a presidential candidate, check out Questionr.us

Together, we are gaining ground in the fight for representative government where every voice is head. Thanks for all you do.

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From The Blog

6-mile NH Rebellion March to End Big Money in Politics. Dublin --- Supporters of clean election reform will participate in a Granny D Memorial Walk from Dublin to Peterborough on Saturday, August 13th. Walkers will depart at 9:15 am from Cobb Meadow Road, near Granny D’s home, for a 6 mile walk ending in... Read more

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