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In today’s world we are ever-more dependent on technology—from our omnipresent phones to how we connect with loved ones, catch a lift, or pay for coffee. While these digital tools offer us many conveniences, they can also make it harder to connect in real life—and give us an alarming sense of disconnect when we are cut off from our digital aids. 

That digital dependency also stretches to our political system, where the tech companies that control our data and devices are ramping up political spending, as noted in this week’s feature article, as they look to curry favor with elected policymakers to influence everything from privacy laws to antitrust legislation. 

Tech corporations drive benefits for our nation—such as innovation, jobs, and economic strength—but giving them unlimited power to use their amassed wealth to influence elections and legislation undermines the system of checks and balances that is at the heart of our democracy. Citizen-led efforts at the local and state level are crucial to the continued success of our movement in 2020 and beyond, and real-world conversations and connections among citizen leaders provide the grassroots energy we need to pass the 28th Amendment. 

By creating a democracy rooted in the power of people and connecting with fellow citizen leaders to advance the cross-partisan solution in the 28th Amendment, together we the people can combine our political voices and speak up in our communities and state capitals for a government that reflects our wishes and well-being, rather than the power of big-dollar donors.

Easy Action Item
Kimberly Clinch
Citizen Empowerment Coordinator,
American Promise
Big Money and Big Tech: How Tech Giants Use Their Wealth to Exert Power Over Our Government 

As tech giants have come under increased scrutiny after a score of controversial moves, Big Tech has ramped up political spending and activated a network of lobbyists to work damage control in Congress. Americans of all political persuasions want assurance that our interests are being protected as we interact with technology companies; meanwhile, the industry uses its amassed wealth to influence regulations related to privacy, competition and more.
Read More
A Patent Example of Big Money Influencing Politics: Why I Joined American Promise 

Years as a patent attorney opened Ron Epstein’s eyes to the world of Capitol Hill lobbying by corporations looking to pursue the newest technologies and increase profits—at the expense of individual innovators and patent-holders. In this article, Ron provides a look at that experience and how it ultimately led him to join the work to advance the 28th Amendment. 
Read More
Rules that foster pay-to-play in the business market are limiting innovation and opportunity in the American economy. Business for American Promise aims to bring business leaders together to help further the 28th Amendment and usher in a new era of trust and prosperity in the American pillars of representative democracy and free-market capitalism.
Learn More About Business for American Promise
Ranked-Choice Voting Win in NYC Shows Strength of Citizen-Led Democracy Reform

In an opinion piece for The Hill, American Promise Managing Director Leah Field says recent democracy reform ballot victories reflect growing demand for change among American citizens. The approval of ranked-choice voting by New York City voters earlier this month comes on the heels of 22 pro-democracy reform measures approved in 2018. “While legislative action on issues is often gridlocked amid Washington partisanship, democracy reform efforts are being led by citizens in grassroots campaigns that yield significant wins,” Leah says. “These issues unite Americans of all political stripes.” 
Read Leah’s Thoughts on Democracy Reform
| What We’re Tracking This Week

From WAMC: On a recent “Midday Magazine” segment, American Promise President Jeff Clements spoke about the work of the Massachusetts Citizen Commission, charged with developing state policy around campaign finance reform and corruption. Massachusetts voters approved the commission in a 2018 ballot measure, and its appointed members are now scheduling forums to gather citizen input on money in politics. Hear more.

From The Fulcrum: A new national survey shows that 54% of voters rate “corruption in the political system” as the most serious problem facing the country—the one issue out of seven that a majority of them agree upon. Three of five voters agreed that money spent by special interests affects their lives, according to the survey taken in September of voters likely to participate in the 2020 election. A second poll found that 83% of voters support changing the rules to require public disclosure of so-called “dark money” contributions. The poll, released last week by the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, was done by two firms: one Democratic and the other Republican. Read more.

From KOMO: Newly elected members of the Seattle City Council will be in office for a vote on a proposed bill to halt campaign contributions from foreign companies and limit contributions from U.S. businesses made via Super PACs. The bill emerged after Amazon spent nearly $1.5 million on this year’s election out of more than $4 million total for the race. Amazon contributed to a the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE), a PAC built by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce. Two of the seven council candidates that CASE endorsed won seats. Read more.

From the Center for Responsive Politics: As social media platforms grapple with how best to regulate political advertising, digital ads are becoming more popular for presidential candidates and major political groups. Since tracking began last year, presidential candidates have spent $105 million on digital ads including more than $67 million on Facebook and $32 million on Google. Campaigns are increasingly using digital ads to build lists of potential donors and attract small-dollar contributions. The Center for Responsive Politics now includes Google ad spending amounts on each presidential candidate’s profile page. Read more

From Capital & Main: A property tax initiative on the 2020 California ballot is drawing dollars from the Irvine Company, one of the state’s largest commercial property businesses. California’s Schools and Communities First initiative would eliminate the benefits big landholders have received from Proposition 13, a property tax-slashing measure approved by the state’s voters in 1978. Irvine owns 65,000 apartments in 125 mostly coastal locations, as well as 125 commercial buildings and 40 shopping centers, and has saved millions of dollars thanks to Proposition 13. Read more.

| Upcoming American Promise Events

December 4, Denver, CO: Recent studies show that low confidence in our political and economic systems, and the outsize influence of moneyed interests in shaping public policy, are contributing to low trust in businesses. At this gathering, Colorado business leaders can learn more about corporate civic responsibility and what it means for their firms. Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Congressman Ken Buck have been invited as featured guests. Event sponsors are Business for American Promise, Business for America, and Ranked Choice Voting – Colorado. 4 p.m.-6 p.m., WorkAbility at the Sudler, 1576 Sherman St. Learn more and RSVP.

December 4, Denver CO: Tired of big donors and special interests calling the shots? Concerned that “pay-to-play” politics is pushing businesses to compete based on government favors, rather than the value they create in the marketplace? Join us to help limit big money and restore government’s accountability to the people it serves through a cross-partisan movement to address the root causes of political dysfunction. Speakers will include American Promise President and Co-Founder Jeff Clements and Business for American Promise Program Leader Elizabeth Doty. 6:15 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Falling Rock Tap House, Private Lower Level, 1919 Blake St. Learn more and RSVP

December 11, Tucson, AZ: Join American Promise Association organizers and citizen leaders in the Tucson area for a free workshop that will give you the tools you need to advocate for the 28th Amendment so our government serves people, not lobbyists and campaign donors. This second workshop will provide information for citizen leaders to use as they make sure our elected officials know people – not corporations, not unions, not Super PACs – govern the citizens of these United States. 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Learn more.

American Promise empowers Americans to act together to win the 28th Amendment so people, not money, govern in America.
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