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Together, our impact is greater. We see that in the power of our growing cross-partisan, cross-country movement for the 28th Amendment. And this week we saw it in the impressive wave of support during our successful Giving Tuesday campaign

Thanks to you, our citizen leaders and generous supporters, American Promise will ride a strong wave of momentum into the new year—and continue our collaborative work to propel the issue of big money in politics into the national spotlight. As we highlight in this week’s newsletter, the corruptive effects of big money are making waves in the business world and in the most recent presidential debate—reflecting the fact that a majority of Americans realize their political voices are being drowned out by wealthy election donors buying influence and shaping policy.  

As more Americans come together to join the movement for the 28th Amendment, our call for change grows louder and more powerful. Together, we will claim our democratic right to elect leaders who represent our interests—rather than special interests—and move toward a political system that works for all citizens.

Easy Action Item
Jeff Clements
President, American Promise
When Big Corporations Run Washington, Small Businesses are the Suckers 

While companies with fewer than 100 employees make up more than a third of the private-sector payroll, they often are cast aside by the pay-to-play political system in Washington, D.C., writes Business for American Promise Bay Area Council Member John E. Palmer in an op-ed for the International Business Times. “Picture Washington, D.C., as one big swampy poker table where $5.7 billion was spent on elections in the 2018 cycle,” he says. “Those spenders are getting what they want, but who is the sucker that’s being played?”
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It’s Time for Presidential Candidates to Address Political Corruption 

In an opinion piece published by The Globe Post, American Promise Citizen Empowerment Coordinator Kimberly Clinch notes that democracy reform issues—such as gerrymandering, voting rights, and public campaign financing—gained more attention during the most recent Democratic presidential candidate debate. “But voters want more than platitudes and talking points,” Clinch says of concerns about the influence of money in politics. “It’s time for elected officials to catch up with the American people, clearly state how they plan to address the problem, and then follow through on those solutions.”
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The movement for the 28th Amendment depends on you. Through the national network of local American Promise Associations, citizen leaders are enabled to drive progress toward the 28th Amendment to end the domination of big money in our political system—with deep and ongoing support from American Promise. Check out the five-step process to launch an APA in your area.
Join or Launch an American Promise Association
| What We’re Tracking This Week

From the Dallas Morning News: In a letter to the editor, Ann Drumm of the North Texas American Promise Association calls for action to reduce big money’s influence in politics. “Wealthy special interests have for decades used money as both a threat and a reward to protect tax breaks and subsidies that pad their profits,” Drumm says, and their big-money influence prevents members of Congress from acting on policy to address pressing issues that affect constituents. Read more.

From the Fulcrum: Financial supporters of a ranked-choice voting initiative that New York City voters recently approved included so-called “dark money” groups that are not required to disclose most donors. That has prompted City Councilman Brad Lander to prepare legislation that would expand the current disclosure requirements for donations in local elections to include ballot proposals. The new proposal would expand on a bill Lander created in 2014 in response to the big-money influences seen a year earlier in the first mayoral race following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. Read more.

From the Portland (Maine) Press Herald: In an opinion article, Jim Fossel of Gardiner, Maine, points to the United Kingdom’s campaign spending system as an example for the United States to emulate. In England, he says, regulations on election donations make it “much harder for large donors to peddle influence,” Fossel says. “The U.K. doesn’t worry quite as much about individual donations as it does about overall spending, so it has found a very simple, elegant solution: It has strict limits on how much candidates and parties can spend in a campaign.” Read more.

From Bloomberg.com: For those wanting to delve deeper into the Democratic presidential debates, this online tracker includes key discussion topics, candidate word count, top quotes and a full debate transcript. During the most recent debate, on Nov. 20, the top three topics were foreign policy, social issues and democracy reforms. The candidates also discussed several social issues that received little attention in previous debates, including paid family leave, voter suppression and abortion rights. Read more

From the Center for Responsive Politics: As shoppers ramp up their spending at the holidays, big retailers also are increasing their spending on lobbying to influence federal policy. Some companies are launching influence campaigns to sway Congress, giving campaign cash to dozens of candidates up for re-election in 2020. Lobbyist spending totals so far this year include $12.4 million for Amazon, $4.7 million for Walmart, and $1.1 million for Best Buy. Read more.

From Teen Vogue: Young democracy advocates are taking aim at gerrymandering in North Carolina and Michigan, two states with a history of the practice. At North Carolina State University, students Starr Gibens and Lauren Siegel are using data to counteract the effects of gerrymandering. “By making redistricting tools and electoral data free and accessible to use, I’m encouraging political participation in democracy, not discouraging it,” Siegel says. In Michigan, Katie Fahey is part of a movement for community-driven reform that also incorporates technology. “Young people who know how to use the internet and work with data can see exactly how gerrymandering is happening,” Fahey says. Read more.

| Upcoming American Promise Events

December 5, Denver, CO: American Promise and Common Cause are teaming for this Democracy is Brewing event. American Promise President Jeff Clements will speak to the corrupting influence of big money in our elections, and the proposed 28th Amendment to get it out. Doors open at 5 p.m., with a program starting at 5:30 p.m. followed by a question-and-answer session ending by 6:30 p.m. Grandma’s House Brewery, 1710 S. Broadway. Learn more

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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