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Annapolis- Marylanders gathered today to voice their support for an amendment to over tune Citizens United, the controversial court decision that led to the rise of super PACs and unlimited independent political spending in our elections. Lawmakers and activists spoke out against the decision and its corrosive effect on democracy.
“Political power in America right now is concentrated in the hands of an elite (and shrinking) few which threatens our democracy and the promise of a government which should be of, by, and for the people,” said Laura Muth, Maryland PIRG Democracy Associate and one of the organizers of the event.
“After seeing the torrent of cash from billionaires and corporations flood our elections, and seen intentional efforts to suppress the vote, we need to remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who reminded us of the “fierce urgency of now,” said Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, Executive Director of Common Cause Maryland, another organizer for the event. “Nobody can know how long it will take, but we have learned in the past three years that it need not take long. Nobody doubts what the voters want. The only question is whether elected representatives will represent those who have elected them. If we insist upon it, they will.”
Marylander legislators from the national and state level, John Sarbanes, Jamie Raskin, Jon Cardin, and Kirill Reznik were present and spoke out about ways to fight the influence of big money and dark money in our elections. These included greater transparency in political spending, public financing, and closing loopholes that allow corporations and the wealthy few to spend more than their fair share.
“The voices of individual Americans are being drowned out by moneyed special interests with millions of dollars to spend and no limits in sight,” said Congressman Sarbanes, author of the Grassroots Democracy Act. “I’m dedicated to pursing reforms that amplify the voice of the grassroots, giving our citizens and the candidates they support the tools they need to push back against the influence of special interests. Without action, Congress’ dependency on big money will continue to corrode the institution’s ability to process the will of the people.”
"The takeover of our elections by big business has exploded into the consciousness of the average American. The public is on the side of reform," said Joe Adams, co-convener of Get Money Out Maryland, another sponsor of the rally.
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