President Obama highlights need for political reform
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Obama spoke today in Springfield, Illinois on the need to reform our democracy so that the voices of every American count, and not just those of a handful of rich families. He hinted at several proposals under consideration to get money out of politics and ensure every American can vote on election day.
Jon Fox, senior democracy campaigner for Friends of the Earth, made the following comment:
Today President Obama acknowledged that our current political system is tilted towards a handful of powerful corporations and mega donors who use their deep pockets to drown out the voice of everyday Americans. Unless we address this fundamental inequality, we will not be able to address the other urgent issues of the day, be it climate change or income inequality.
There is much President Obama can do right now to get money out of politics with his current executive authority. The President should immediately take executive action to require federal contractors to disclose their political donations. As President Obama said in his speech today, ‘our children are watching what we do.’ The next generation of Americans deserves a transparent and fair democracy. To reveal the monetary forces behind our government is critical to that democracy, and it’s time to take the next step.
President Obama is right to identify Citizens United as a barrier to democratic representation, and to encourage Congress to overturn it. Across the nation, states can do more to remove barriers and protect the right of every American to vote. For example, if every state followed California to implement automatic voter registration, research estimates that approximately 27 million new voters would immediately gain access to the ballot. We have to get money out of politics, but also get people back into the voting booth to restore the balance of our politics and meet the needs of the many, not the money.
American are demanding action to address the scourge of secret outside money influencing our government. While talk is nice, President Obama must act by expanding existing rules to shine a powerful spotlight on an infamous form of “legal” corruption that thrives in the shadows of our current political system — political spending by federal contractors through PACs and other indirect political groups.