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At the start of a new decade and a presidential election year, we at American Promise are gearing up for an eventful 2020, and we’re eager to build on the progress of our movement for the 28th Amendment. 

As more Americans become weary and dissatisfied as they increasingly feel the effects of a corrupt political system in the wake of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling 10 years ago, we are focused on the opportunity to gain more citizen leaders advocating for positive change rather than negative finger-pointing. 

Our citizen leaders are crucial to the success of each of the goals for 2020 outlined in this newsletter’s featured article, from building our grassroots movement to get big money out of politics, to encouraging more elected officials to sign on to the American Promise Candidate Pledge, to deepening support for the 28th Amendment in Congress.

In the new year, fixing our broken political system is the most important task ahead of us. We’re grateful you are joining the work to get big money out of politics and encouraging other citizen leaders and elected officials to do the same.

Easy Action Item
Jeff Clements
President, American Promise
A Look Ahead: Our 2020 Goals for Advancing the 28th Amendment 

With the upcoming presidential election, 2020 will no doubt be a pivotal year for our nation. In the 10 years since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision doubled down on a long trajectory empowering the use of amassed wealth to influence our political system, we’ve seen its disastrous consequences at full tilt. But we at American Promise are excited for what our movement for the 28th Amendment will accomplish in the year ahead.

Read More
The American Promise Candidate Pledge is a volunteer-led effort to get candidates and elected officials at all levels of government to pledge on the record that they will use their office to advance the 28th Amendment. 

Make a difference in three steps:
1) Download and print the pledge.
2) Ask a candidate/incumbent elected official to sign it.
3) Return the signed form to American Promise.
Download the Pledge
2020 Presidential Candidates on Both Sides of the Aisle Want to End Big Money in Politics 

As the 2020 presidential election ramps up, democracy reform has become a top theme. As citizens continue to voice their displeasure with the current pay-to-play system, many candidates are addressing big money in politics in their platforms. Learn more about where the candidates stand on this issue—and who has signed the American Promise Candidate Pledge.
Read More
| What We’re Tracking This Week

From the Center for Responsive Politics: While leadership PACs are designed primarily to provide funding for other candidates running for office, many are instead funneling their cash to closely linked firms and nonprofits. Leadership PACs combined to spend $56.6 million in 2019, but less than 30%— about $16.5 million—went to other federal candidates’ campaigns. The leadership PACs are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on luxury resorts, expensive hotel stays and club events, which is legal under current law. Read more.

From NBC News: As several Democrats bidding for the party’s presidential nomination speak out against big money in politics, so-called “dark money” groups aligned with Democrats outraise Republicans for the second national election in a row. These groups can raise money to influence elections but are not required to disclose donors. Preliminary advertisement tracking reports for the 2020 campaign indicate that Democratic dark money groups already have spent at least $8.3 million, compared to at least $7.8 million by Republican groups. Read more.

From the Brennan Center for Justice: Check out the 19 “highs and lows” surrounding money in politics in 2019 compiled by Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a Stetson University law professor. From record campaign fundraising by 2020 presidential candidates to court rulings on campaign finance laws, Torres-Spelliscy covers the year’s biggest events—and what they might mean for the future. Read more.

From the Washington Post: Since launching his presidential campaign in November, billionaire Mike Bloomberg has committed nearly $250 million to his own advertising and other projects to help the Democratic Party in the 2020 election. Bloomberg’s aides have said he is running not just for the nomination, but to increase Democratic turnout, a project for which he has committed at least $15 million nationwide. Read more

From Slate: This end-of-decade article delves into the sea change in American elections since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling 10 years ago. As the article’s author Richard L. Hasen notes: “We’ve seen an explosion of outside, often-undisclosed money in elections, candidates skirting campaign finance rules by having shadow ‘super PACs,’ and dangerous foreign interference in our elections. And that pivotal opinion contains all the tools the Supreme Court needs to get rid of remaining campaign contribution limits.” Read more.

From ABC News: In the most recent debate among Democrats bidding for the party’s presidential nomination, the seven participating candidates provided a preview of the divides that will continue to emerge before Democratic voters head to the polls. The sixth debate featured the fewest number of candidates, and that allowed for contenders who had been on the wings of the stage to amplify their voices and message to score a much-needed breakout moment. Read more.

| Upcoming American Promise Events

January 22, Brewer, ME: Join the fastest-growing reform movement in American and be a part of launching Stand With Maine. A few years ago, Maine helped launch a national cross-partisan movement for the next amendment to the U.S. Constitution to put power in the hands of the American people, not just the big-money donors. Now we need this big reform more than ever as Maine faces the most expensive, divisive election in our history, with most of the money coming from outside of Maine. Maine’s American Promise Association hosts an evening to learn how money is corrupting our political system and what we can do about it. 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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