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“If there was one decision I would overrule, it would be Citizens United. I think the notion that we have all the democracy that money can buy strays so far from what our democracy is supposed to be.”

— The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a 2014 New Republic interview on Citizens United v. FEC, which ruled that corporations could fund political speech under the First Amendment



As our nation honors the life and legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we at American Promise are especially grateful for her steadfast years of work for equality, the value that drives our work and strengthens our efforts. With equality as the ultimate goal of the 28th Amendment — ensuring a voice for all Americans — Justice Ginsburg’s lifelong work is relevant inspiration to realize our nation’s promise of human liberty, equal citizenship, and effective self-government.

This year the Democratic Citizens Commission of the Academy of Arts and Science issued a challenge to reinvent democracy for the 21st century; one of its key recommendations was to pass the American Promise amendment to end the dominance of big money in politics. We are stepping up to this challenge—our new report, Keep the Promise: America 250, shares how we intend to succeed in bringing Americans together across the political spectrum to pass this amendment and ensure a better future for every American. 

Over the past several years, American Promise and our network and allies have been working on proposed amendment language that will garner the cross-partisan support we need in both houses of Congress. We have based this language on consensus derived through listening sessions with Americans from across the nation, through a variety of programs. We’re still gathering feedback, and we hope you’ll weigh in via our survey

Justice Ginsburg never swayed from her determination to protect constitutional rights for all Americans. We hope to honor her by continuing the work toward a more perfect union and passing the 28th Amendment to the Constitution by July 4, 2026, our nation’s 250th birthday.

Easy Action Item

Leah Field
Managing Director, American Promise
A Cross-Nation, Cross-Partisan Effort: How to Create a Real Representative Democracy 

American Promise depends on the actions and influence of citizens across the country to advance the 28th Amendment by July 4, 2026, our nation’s 250th birthday. A new report, Keep the Promise: America250, highlights three key pieces of information to help Americans take on the challenge of working together to pass and ratify the amendment.

Download Keep the Promise: America250
The Keep the Promise: America250 report and recommended language for the 28th Amendment have drawn on the work of the nonpartisan Massachusetts Citizens Commission established by a 2018 statewide vote to advance the state’s policy on the 28th Amendment.

Final amendment language requires careful vetting and consensus. That’s why American Promise has engaged Americans from across the political spectrum, from every region of the country, and from varying backgrounds and experiences to contribute to the drafting of this proposed amendment:
  • Section 1: We the People have compelling sovereign interests in representative self-government, federalism, the integrity of the electoral process, and the political equality of natural persons.
  • Section 2: Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to forbid Congress or the States, within their respective jurisdictions, from reasonably regulating and limiting contributions and expenditures in campaigns, elections, or ballot measures.  
  • Section 3: Congress and the States shall have the power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation, and may distinguish between natural persons and juridical persons, including by prohibiting juridical persons from raising and spending money in campaigns, elections, or ballot measures.
Let us know what you think of the proposed 28th Amendment language by taking our survey.
Share Your Thoughts in Our Survey on 28th Amendment Language
| Candidate Pledge Signers
Every week more and more candidates sign our candidate pledge. Here, we highlight a few recent pledge signers — from Oregon and Ohio — and celebrate their commitment to serving all Americans equally. Help us lift these candidates by downloading their pledge graphics from the link below and sharing on social media, making sure to tag the candidate and American Promise. 
Here are other recent pledge signers:
  • James Dever, Candidate for the Massachusetts State House of Representatives, 5th Barnstable District
  • Gloria Johnson, Tennessee State Representative, District 13
  • Steve Sandell, Minnesota State Representative, District 53B
  • David Sokola, Delaware State Senator, District 8
  • Harold Pope Jr., Candidate for New Mexico State Senate, District 23
Share Who Has Signed the Candidate Pledge
| Dysfunction on Display
The issue: Billionaires candidates and ultra-wealthy donors are inflating campaign coffers in 2020, elevating the total raised by presidential candidates to $2.9 billion at the end of July. The presidential race 12 years ago was the first time that candidate fundraising eclipsed $1 billion.

The action: As noted in this article, the “U.S. system gives wealthy Americans multiple avenues to bankroll a presidential candidate” and allows for unlimited spending by outside groups like Super PACs. To avoid ever-escalating fundraising amounts, Americans can ask their elected officials to sign the American Promise Candidate pledge and promise to advance the 28th Amendment, which will place reasonable limits on money in politics. 
| Upcoming American Promise Events

September 26: American Promise will be featured during two sessions of the 2020 Wolf-PAC Virtual Warrior Workshop:

  • During “The Power of the Constitution: Why We Need an Amendment,” from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., American Promise President Jeff Clements will explain why now is the time for an amendment to limit the role of money in politics and how democracy reform advocates can advance the campaign. Learn more and buy a ticket for the three-day workshop.
  • During “United Against Corruption,” from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., leaders from American Promise and other democracy reform organizations will discuss their work. Learn more and buy a ticket for the three-day workshop.
October 1: American Promise President Jeff Clements will be among the panelists at the Good Governance Project inaugural kick-off panel presented by the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy at Boston College. Jeff and three other panelists will discuss “Democracy Reform: What Is It? Why Do We Need It?” during the free online event from noon to 1:30 p.m. Learn more and register online
| National Business Network
Shift to New Standards for Corporate Engagement in Politics Aligns with Stance of National Business Network 

Recent reports show businesses account for roughly 87% of total disclosed federal lobbying expenditures and 66% of contributions to 2018 federal election campaigns. But in this recent article, authors Katherine M. Gehl and Michael E. Porter say they are seeing a shift in how businesses are engaging in politics toward new voluntary standards for corporate engagement with politics and government.

Do you know a civically minded, values-driven business leader? Share this newsletter and ask them to sign up to learn more about the National Business Network in its quarterly newsletter.
Sign-up for the Quarterly National Business Network Newsletter
| What We’re Tracking This Week
U.S. Senator Tom Udall Says It’s Time to End Citizens United with a Constitutional Amendment 

In an opinion article published on Constitution Day, U.S. Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico, pictured above, says it’s time to “confront our broken electoral politics” by approving the 28th Amendment. “Our current politics are dominated by the wealthy and powerful — because they write the checks that fund campaigns — at the expense of millions of American voters,” Udall says. “The 28th Amendment would remedy this by making it clear that corporations are not people — and that spending money is not the same as free speech.”

Read More
People across the nation are finding their voice and calling for change in our political system. Are you ready to use yours to amplify the call for the 28th Amendment? Click here to join our contributors network and receive monthly writing prompts around important dates and events.

From Ellen Greene Bush of the Port Clinton, OH, American Promise Chapter: In this opinion piece published just before Constitution Day, Ellen Greene Bush of the Port Clinton OH American Promise Chapter elevates the 28th Amendment as a solution for the pay-to-play nature of U.S. politics: “An amendment to limit the influence of money in politics would ensure every American has a voice in the decisions that affect our lives — during these turbulent times and in the future.” Read more

From Judith Butler of the Delaware American Promise Chapter: Constitution Day serves as a reminder that its ratification was just the beginning of “the American experiment,” says Judith Butler of the Delaware American Promise Chapter: “Isn’t it time that every candidate running for any office pledge to do everything in their power to restore our democracy to the citizens through the amendment process?” Read more

From Peter Garrett of Stand with Maine: In a letter to the editor, Peter Garrett points to a deluge of out-of-state money in the Maine U.S. Senate race as a corruptive force: “With all that money coming from out-of-staters, we can expect that it came with reminders that ‘you owe me’ on some legislation coming before the winning senator when in Congress.” Read more.

From The Fulcrum: Ranked-choice voting will be used for the first time in a presidential election this year in Maine. Under a decision this week from the state Supreme Court, voters in Maine will be allowed to list their candidates in order of preference, and its four electoral votes will only be awarded to those who get a majority’s support. Read more.

From Jarratt Applewhite, Candidate Pledge Signer: Former New Mexico House candidate and American Promise Candidate Pledge Signer Jarratt Applewhite sees more Americans realizing our government needs some revitalization, and he urges them to share their thoughts with elected officials: “Please let your voice be heard. Our political leaders need to understand that their constituents are keenly interested in reducing the amount of money our elections require and the power of big donors.” Read more.

From Nancy Morgan of the Virginia American Promise Chapter: As our nation marked Constitution Day, Nancy Morgan of the Virginia American Promise Chapter encouraged other Americans to join her and others advancing an amendment for a more perfect union: “Let’s work together to get the scourge of big money out of politics and out of our elections, thereby strengthening not only our voices, but also our nation’s democracy.” Read more.

From the Center for Public Integrity: “Barriers to the Ballot Box,” a project by the Center for Public Integrity and Stateline, examines how the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to weaken major protections in the Voting Rights Act has affected voting access for People of Color. Read more.

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