POLITICS

Cenk Uygur Launches New Effort To Separate Money And Politics

10/20/2011 08:15 pm ET | Updated Dec 20, 2011

NEW YORK -- The movement to separate money and politics is getting another champion. Progressive television and radio host Cenk Uygur has launched a super PAC designed to organize citizens who demand a constitutional amendment to end the current system of campaign finance and leave money out of politics.

Uygur announced the Wolf PAC on Wednesday through an Internet video and an appearance at the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City's Zuccotti Park.

"Every single issue gets decided by who gives the most donations," Uygur told The Huffington Post. "We have, in a sense, lost our democracy. The only determining factor is money. We must pass a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics. It's not even a democracy anymore, it's an oligarchy."

Uygur explained that the impetus behind his effort derived from two factors -- that money in politics is at the root of all the recent policies that have failed the American people, and that President Barack Obama has failed to enact the change he promised in the 2008 election campaign.

"Obama got in and didn't push for any change in the system," Uygur said. "You said you weren't going to play the same old politics in Washington. People thought you would tackle the corruption in the system. ... There is no more electoral strategy to hope for."

The initial plan for the Wolf PAC is to build up a list of dedicated organizers so they can mount a campaign pressuring state houses to vote for holding a constitutional convention.

"We're going to go and occupy the state houses and ask them to call for a constitutional convention so that we can get the constitutional amendment," Uygur said. Uygur spelled out that constitutional amendment in his announcement and in a HuffPost blog post.

The amendment reads:

Corporations are not people. They have none of the constitutional rights of human beings. Corporations are not allowed to give money to any politician, directly or indirectly. No politician can raise over $100 from any person or entity. All elections must be publicly financed.

According to Uygur, the campaign raised thousands of dollars within the first few hours of launching and already has at least 1,300 individuals signed up to do specific volunteer work.

The worldwide Occupy protests have invigorated the push to separate money from politics. Protesters have called for an end to, or a reduction in, corporate involvement in the political process, and have attracted the attention of other prominent opponents of money in politics like Harvard professor Larry Lessig and MSNBC television host Dylan Ratigan.

"People get it," Uygur said. "They've gotten to the point where they say the Democrats and Republicans don't matter that much, what matters is who has the money."

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