These days, the little guy is always left with the short end of the stick. Nowhere is that more evident than in Congress. Right now, politicians in Washington are debating a healthcare bill that would kick 22 million Americans off their healthcare – while giving a tax break to the wealthiest Americans. Drafted behind closed doors, the bill was created without any public hearings or input from Senators who may have disagree. But while Americans were shut out of the process, Dark Money groups like those backed by the Koch brothers gleefully touted their influence. Once again highlighting the blurred line between mega-donors and policymakers.
Of course, maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise. For too long, politicians have been in the pockets of special interests and shown more concern for their campaign war chests than the actual people they were elected to serve. With a stunning regularity, it’s the corporate CEOs, the Wall Street executives and the billionaires that have the ear of Congress while families in Appleton, Milwaukee and La Crosse are left behind.
With the ability to spend unlimited - and often undisclosed - money in politics thanks to the infamous Citizens United Supreme Court case, corporations and special interest groups can control their politicians. It’s a rigged system that gives those with the biggest checks the biggest say.
With Big Money running the show, the problem of money-in-politics can feel almost too big to overcome. In the White House, six donors who collectively gave almost $12 million (an average of a ‘mere’ $2 million each) were appointed to top positions. At the Supreme Court, special interests spent more than $10 million in undisclosed money to ensure Neil Gorsuch was confirmed. If you think things in Congress are much better, then you’ll want to avoid researching the web between the votes members of Congress take and the money spent by special interest groups and mega-donors on their behalf.
So how do you stand up to the Big Money system that’s taken over Washington? Well, you start with Senator Tammy Baldwin.
Throughout her life, Senator Baldwin has been a fearless fighter for working families. And I mean fearless. In Congress, she was one of only a handful of members who stood up to Wall Street when they were trying to write their own rules. As Senator, she doubled down in her fight against Big Banks by introducing a bill to eliminate a tax loophole for hedge fund managers – which put a target on her back by the corporate special interests.
In a game of whack-a-mole against the special interest, Senator Baldwin knows we can only truly fix our democracy when everyone has a voice. So, she’s taking on Big Money and the rigged system in Washington.
In the David v. Goliath match-up against Big Money, Senator Baldwin never once wavered in her fight. She’s fighting to overturn Supreme Court cases that opened the doors for the tidal wave of unlimited and undisclosed spending in our elections. She’s helped introduced the We The People reform package to increase transparency, strengthen lobbying laws and rein in the untraceable money polluting our elections.
That’s Senator Baldwin. She has a spine of steel. And her courage to do the right thing - no matter the political costs - is matched only by her compassion. She’s been on the other side and seen firsthand how hard families work just to break even. It’s her lived experience that made her into the leader you see today - fighting for Wisconsin’s families and standing up against the special interests who are trying buy their way to power.
Her tenacious fight on behalf Wisconsin families and her belief that our democracy should not be sold to the highest bidder has earned her the support of our grassroots network. End Citizens United is proud to stand with Senator Tammy Baldwin in the fight against Big Money. We’ll never solve the most pressing issues facing our nation without ending the corrosive influence Big Money has on our democracy. And it’s going to take leaders like Senator Baldwin to get the job done.
Tiffany Muller is the president and executive director of End Citizens United, the largest campaign finance reform organization supported entirely by small-dollar donors.