In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court is set to rule in the Citizens United vs. FEC case, which could potentially overturn 100 years of campaign finance precedent. The case refers to a documentary, Hillary: The Movie, set to air during the 2008 presidential primary that was highly critical of then-presidential candidate, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The FEC blocked the availability of the film pay-per-view television due to the "electioneering communication" provision of Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) 2002. While this might seem like an obscure campaign finance issue, 1Sky is concerned about the possible implications of the case on issues we care about if the court rules that corporations may donate unlimited funds from their treasuries on independent expenditures.
It is no secret that campaigns continue to become more and more expensive and overrun with contributions from polluters like big oil, coal, and gas. Special interest money has made campaigns less accessible to the average citizen. Now, with the possibility of unlimited corporate independent expenditures looking even more possible, we as citizen organizers are working together to keep the people's voice at the center of politics.
This issue strongly affects our fight against climate change for it is estimated that since 1990, oil and gas interests alone have donated close to $245 million to federal campaigns, according to Center for Responsive Politics. This money helps maintain the status quo and silence the voices of countless Americans ready for their representatives to address environmental issues. Imagine a coal company setting up an independent campaign operation to defeat your member of Congress that voted in favor of the American Clean Energy Security Act (.pdf) that will vastly improve our restrictions on carbon emissions.
So how can we fight back against our money driven system that may be on the path to get even worse? 1Sky has joined more than 30 organizations representing the environment, civil rights, and labor communities in support of the Fair Elections Now Act (HR 1826/S 752), which would enable politicians to run viable campaigns on the donations of citizens instead of deep-pocked special interests. Once elected, members of Congress would be free from the influence of their special interest donors.
We here at 1Sky strongly urge Congress to pass the Fair Elections Now Act in the wake of the Citizens United decision. To learn more or urge your representative to co-sponsor the Fair Elections Now Act visit www.fairelectionsnow.org.
Follow Gillian Caldwell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Gillian1Sky