| Get the Picture


When they met in 1787 to create a document that would guide and shape the newly formed United States, those at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia knew it would serve as a structure for our democracy and its citizens. But they also realized the Constitution would need to reflect the will of the growing and changing nation far into the future, and so incorporated the amendment process into the document.

From the Bill of Rights to the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery to the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote (which celebrates its 99th anniversary this month) to the 24th Amendment to eliminate the poll tax, the Constitution that serves as our nation’s legal structure has been modified to reflect the wants of we the people

Now, we the people are seeing the harmful effects of inequality in politics due to the outsized influence of big-money donors, who drive policy decisions in their favor and dominate our elected officials’ time and attention. As we highlight in this week’s newsletter, America has a history of independence—fiscal and otherwise—now under threat from corporations, unions, special interest groups and wealthy individuals using money to undermine democracy.

We learn from history, and sometimes we do repeat it—for the better. Following in the footsteps of others who fought for change through amendments, the American people again must come together to use our ultimate power and strengthen democracy by passing the 28th Amendment.

Easy Action Item
Jeff Clements
President, American Promise
Taxation Without Representation: How Big Money in Politics Erodes Our Nation’s Fundamental Principles 

While federal tax policy has evolved and expanded considerably since the Constitution was established, the concept of “taxation without representation” remains central to America’s democratic founding. Throughout U.S. history, that cry has emerged in other contexts, most recently from citizens who see their interests outweighed by big-money donors who use their heavy influence to steer our country’s political agenda and tax policy.
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NCLC Speaker Says Big Money Is ‘the Issue Behind All Other Issues’ 

Ellen Moorhouse is the Grassroots Communication Manager at RepresentUs, a cross-partisan organization working to advance anti-corruption reforms, including those aimed at getting big money out of politics. Moorhouse, who will be a speaker at the National Citizen Leadership Conference, recently shared her thoughts on the fight against big money with American Promise.
Read More
We’re just seven weeks away from the NCLC! Make plans now to see amazing speakers, connect with other citizen leaders, and gain inspiration to advance the 28th Amendment at the National Citizen Leadership Conference. Learn from our featured speakers during the two-day conference and then use those tips when we head to Capitol Hill for Citizen Lobby Day.

Register now for the NCLC October 19-21 in the Washington, D.C., metro and be sure to reserve your room at Hilton Crystal City at the NCLC group rate. Booking at Hilton Crystal City helps us keep admission prices low. Our block will sell out, so reserve your room today!
Register Now and Book Your Hotel Room
APA Member Shares How Big Money Affects Us All 

Henry Loughlin is a member of the Portland, Maine, American Promise Association. In a letter to the editor published in the Portland Press Herald, Loughlin breaks down the aftermath of Citizens United and highlights the cross-partisan, nationwide support for a constitutional amendment to get big money out of politics. APA members across the country continue writing letters to the editor to lift up the movement for a 28th Amendment. 
Read More
American Promise Welcomes Four New Board Members 

As momentum builds and the need for the 28th Amendment increasingly becomes part of our nation’s collective consciousness, American Promise is expanding its leadership with the addition of four new board members. 

MassVOTE Executive Director Cheryl Crawford, above left, will join the American Promise Education Fund board and former Republican State Senator Jim Rubens of New Hampshire, above right, will join the American Promise board.

Joining the boards of both American Promise, our citizen action organization, and American Promise Education Fund, our education organization, are philanthropic advisor Buff Kavelman, below left, and actress Debra Winger, below right.
Learn More about the American Promise Board Members
| What We’re Tracking This Week

From the Fulcrum: For the fourth consecutive meeting, the Federal Election Commission postponed a decision on a proposal that would require transparency for political ads. The FEC, which enforces campaign finance law, has been trying to tackle the question of whether and how to disclose the funding of online ads since 2011. Last year, the FEC considered but never voted on a similar measure. It received 314,000 public comments — most of them supportive. Read more.

From the Center for Responsive Politics: One of four remaining members of the Federal Election Commission announced his resignation this week, which means the FEC will have three vacancies and be unable to enforce campaign finance law. The FEC needs four commissioners to reach a quorum, and specific actions require four affirmative votes. Matthew Peterson’s departure leaves just three commissioners on board, so the FEC will not be able to conduct meetings or take enforcement action against those suspected of violating election law. Read more.

From the Center for Responsive Politics: House Majority Forward, a newly formed “dark money” group affiliated with the Democrats’ Super PAC for congressional races, plans to spend most of its $10.4 million budget on ads for Democrats in 2020 U.S. House races. Unlike the Super PAC, House Majority Forward does not have to publicly disclose its donors nor many details of its activities and finances. The group has spent around $500,000 on ads backing Dan McCready ahead of the Sept. 10 special election in North Carolina’s 9th District. Read more

From the Washington Free Beacon: The Democratic primary for one of Colorado’s Senate seats is drawing big money. John Walsh, a former federal attorney, has touted his grassroots support in his bid to unseat Republican senator Cory Gardner, but FEC filings show that 70 percent of Walsh’s campaign funds are from big-money donors. In a July video thanking his “grassroots supporters,” Walsh said it was unfortunate that candidates focus on “the most wealthy Americans.” Read more.

Become a member and invest in the cause of our time: together we will ensure that We the People—not big money, not corporations, not unions, not special interests—govern America. 
| Upcoming American Promise Events

September 18, San Francisco, CA: Join American Promise Citizen Empowerment Coordinator Kimberly Clinch for the launch of the Bay Area American Promise Association! The launch event will include an overview of the 28th Amendment and advocacy tools. 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Manny’s. Register now.

American Promise empowers Americans to act together to win the 28th Amendment so people, not money, govern in America. To maximize our impact together, contributions are not tax deductible. 
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