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Oct-26-2011 04:15printcomments

As OWS Grows, Renewed Effort to Expose Corporate Takeover of Elections Launched

We The People Releases Groundbreaking Investigative Stories with Katrina vanden Heuvel, Jim Hightower and Jay Harris.

Occupy Wall Street

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - As the Occupy Wall Street movement grows into an international pushback against a runaway corporate takeover, the We the People Campaign has partnered with high-profile advocacy organizations and media outlets across the country to call attention to the dramatically increased role of corporate money in elections.

The effort is led by Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation; Jim Hightower, the Texas populist and former Texas Agriculture Commissioner; and former Mother Jones publisher Jay Harris.

A series of groundbreaking stories impacting the 2012 electoral cycle is being published by The Media Consortium - a network of the country’s leading independent news outlets - looking at the influence corporations have had on elections since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision last year. Stories are available at on Twitter at #CampaignCash or at the website

Today, has a new report by Mike Ludwig that explores:

  • How the Republican Governors Association funnels money from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) companies into state elections, including the effort to elect Gov. Kasich in Ohio.
  • On-the-ground coverage of the SB 5 battle in Ohio, where unions and thousands of volunteers are facing off against GOP front groups that refuse to disclose their campaign finances and corporate backers.
  • New information on a new national PAC raising unlimited funds and strictly targeting public unions, has ties to Gov. Kasich in Ohio and national GOP groups.

Included in the effort are such advocacy organizations as Public Citizen, People for the American Way, Common Cause, Free Speech for People, Move to Amend, and The Center for Media and Democracy and media outlets as The Nation, Alternet, In These Times, and The Progressive.

Jay Harris, co-founder of We The People said today, “One year out from the 2012 presidential election, we're already seeing game-changing amounts of corporate money flow through 'Super Pacs' and into elections. The flood is drowning out the voices of citizens, intimidating candidates, and promoting corporate agendas over the interests of people.

“We the People is working with leading independent media outlets, policy groups and community leaders to overturn Citizens United. Our journalism partners are helping people understand the issues, and our action partners are offering steps they can take to solve the problem.”

The We the People online pledge asks Americans to work together "to free today's politics from the corrupting power of what Thomas Jefferson called 'the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations.'" People who “take the pledge” will become part of a national grassroots network established to promote democracy-building reforms from more rigorous disclosure laws to a Constitutional Amendment that would permit limits on “corporate speech.”

Jim Hightower said, "The protesters at Occupy Wall Street and the other "Occupies" around the country are simply the most public face of a frustrated and angry body politic. The overwhelming majority of Americans despise the anti-democratic domination of our elections -- and, through them, of our government, economy, media and environment -- by a relatively few self-aggrandizing corporate behemoths. It's going to take millions of strong shoulders to shove corporate money out of our politics, but grassroots Americans, working together, can get it done."

What is We The People?
Corporate Money Out. People In.

The central principle of American democracy -- a government of and by the people that works for the people -- is facing its biggest threat: a hostile takeover by corporations and industries.

A 2010 Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. FEC, ruled that freedom of speech provisions of the Constitution apply to corporations that wish to spend money directly from their treasuries to influence elections -- it's a ruling that, in practice, frequently makes even well-intended politicians directly beholden to corporate interests or under their threat. Corporate-backed legislation in many states is making it much harder for qualified citizens to vote. Meanwhile, the biggest news media are controlled by giant companies, and consistent, reliable information about corporate influence in the public realm is hard to find through mainstream channels. With corporations’ huge coffers, corporate power in our democracy is out of control.

It doesn't have to be this way. If people pull together -- to expose what the big corporations are doing, to elect representatives who aren’t beholden to corporate interests, to overturn Citizens United, and to change the rules that giant industries have bent in their favor -- Americans can take power back.

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COLLI October 28, 2011 2:15 am (Pacific time)

Leading people to believe that either of the two major political parties is clean is not just foolish . . . it is harmful. The huge international banks have won if they have you convinced that backing either party is safe as they fund and control both behind the scenes. If you doubt that, examine the donations, the lobbyists, the pork-barrel projects, and most importantly, the actions of both parties to find the truth. If you were to say to both parties "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone", you could certainly walk helmetless through the streets of Washington.

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