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Major National Organizations in the Movement to End Big-Money Politics

 

FIELD GUIDE to ORGANIZATIONS

A good place to start is the Field Guide to the Money-out-of-Politics Movement by the Small Planet Institute that provides an excellent summary of the 36 major national organizations working to end by big-money politics. It arranges organizations by the strategies they use to fight big money politics: Advocacy & Education, Data Tools, Citizen Activation, Direct Legal Action, Funding, and Political Action Committee (PAC).  Also has an excellent Glossary.

WEBSITES of SPECIFIC ORGANIZATIONS

National Institute on Money in State Politics
Better known as FollowTheMoney.org, the National Institute on Money in State Politics is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization tracking the influence of campaign money on state-level elections and public policy in all 50 states. Its comprehensive and verifiable campaign-finance database and relevant issue analyses are available for free on FollowTheMoney.org. This excellent database provides transparency and promotes investigation of state-level campaign contributions by journalists, academic researchers, public-interest groups, government agencies, policymakers, students and the public at large.

Sunlight Foundation
A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that uses the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency, and provides new tools and resources for media and citizens, alike. We are committed to improving access to government information by making it available online.

Brennan Center for Justice
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law is a non-partisan public policy and law institute that focuses on the fundamental issues of democracy and justice. Our work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from racial justice in criminal law to Constitutional protection in the fight against terrorism. A singular institution – part think tank, part public interest law firm, part advocacy group – the Brennan Center combines scholarship, legislative and legal advocacy, and communications to win meaningful, measurable change in the public sector.

Common Cause Money in Politics Project
The problem with money in politics is not so much the amount that is spent on campaigns as it is who pays for them, what they get in return, and how that affects public policy and spending priorities. Big money has long dominated our elections, and the problem only got worse in 2010 after the Citizens United ruling, in which the Supreme Court turned its back on more than 100 years of law to pave the way for billionaires to spend unlimited amounts of money on direct campaigns to elect or defeat federal candidates, adding to the enormous influence they already have within the political process. Common Cause is working diligently to expose the role of special interests, and promote reforms that put democracy back in the hands of “we the people.”


Free Speech For People
Free Speech For People works to challenge the misuse of corporate power and restore republican democracy to the people. We catalyze and advance the movement to amend the U.S. Constitution to overturn Citizens United, Buckley v. Valeo, and the fabrication of corporate constitutional rights. We engage in legal advocacy to confront the misuse of the U.S. Constitution to claim corporate exemptions from our laws, which damage our communities and undermine freedom and self-government.  We renew and reform corporate charter laws and other tools to make corporations responsible and accountable to the public.

Public Citizen – Government Reform, Money in Politics Project
here is a fundamental flaw with elections in this country: big money. Politicians need big bucks to run their campaigns and they get most of it from wealthy donors and special interests. Those contributors expect paybacks in the form of special access, favorable legislation, earmarks, government contracts, or plum government jobs. Because of this corrupting influence of money, many Americans have lost faith in politics and feel neglected by our democracy. Ordinary citizens who want to serve in government don’t have access to money and are locked out of the system, unable to afford running for office.

Center for Responsive Politics
The Center for Responsive Politics is the nation’s premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. Nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, the organization aims to create a more educated voter, an involved citizenry and a more transparent and responsive government. We pursue our mission largely through our website, OpenSecrets.org, which is the most comprehensive resource for federal campaign contributions, lobbying data and analysis available anywhere. And for other organizations and news media, the Center’s exclusive data powers their online features tracking money in politics — counting cash to make change.

Democracy 21
Democracy 21 is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to making democracy work for all Americans. Democracy 21, and its education arm, Democracy 21 Education Fund, work to eliminate the undue influence of big money in American politics and to ensure the integrity and fairness of government decisions and elections. The organization promotes campaign finance reform and other political reforms to accomplish these goals. Founded by Fred Wertheimer in 1997, Democracy 21′s efforts have been recognized by The Wall Street Journal which observed that Wertheimer is “perhaps the capital’s longest-toiling advocate of reducing the role of money in politics.”

Campaign Finance Institute (CFI)
Informing national and state policy debates through objective research. CFI has successfully established its reputation as the nation’s preeminent think tank for campaign finance policy. That’s why the media listens. And why both parties use CFI data when crafting legislation. While other individual scholars and think tanks have campaign finance expertise, none have the critical mass of specialists to maintain the ongoing organizational expertise needed to provide continuity of objective analyses and data. 

Public Campaign
Public Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving America’s campaign finance laws. We help enact, defend, and promote Fair Elections-style public financing in states around the country like Arizona, Connecticut, and Maine, and advocate for similar legislation for all federal elections. Public Campaign Action Fund also campaigns to hold elected officials and politicians accountable for opposing reform and for the special favors they do for their political contributors. Since its founding in 1997, Public Campaign Action Fund has brought activists to the fight for comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s campaign finance laws and to make opposing reform a political liability for elected officials. The group has more than 70,000 online members and works with state organizations in approximately three dozen states.

United Republic
United Republic envisions a nation where the will and concerns of the people aren’t drowned out by the financial influence of the few. Where politicians devote more time to their constituents than to their fundraising. Where political decisions are made on principle, without the distorting effect of lobbyists. Where individual citizens have access to clear information about their leaders and are empowered to end the imbalance of power in Washington and our state capitals. We believe this vision is achievable and central to the success of the republic.

 

 


Online Resources


New Hampshire

 

National


Citizen Funded Elections in the States and Cities

 


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