THE ACTIVIST CARTEL

a written challenge to a duel 

ACTION LETTER #29: August 21st, 2018

--Legal Corruption--

Dear Activist Cartel,

Did you know that an average U.S. Senator must raise
over $14,000 a day, every day for 6 years to run for re-election? That is a lot of money... money that is having a lot of influence over our lawmakers and political process.

WHAT IS LEGAL POLITICAL CORRUPTION? 
Quite simply, it's when the wealthy and elite's money and power determine our elections and laws rather than a political system that represents all Americans equally.

To give you an idea, our current system LEGALLY allows lobbyists to politically bribe and hide big money in secret donor groups. The organization 
Represent.Us outlines how we can fix political bribery, secret money, and broken elections through this policy strategy & platform. Or also review the simplified image below. Corruption is legal in America because we don't have the necessary anti-corruption laws for politicians to break.

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT FEMALE CANDIDATES? 
Women candidates face greater barriers to fundraising — a challenge compounded by our campaign finance system that requires candidates to have massive coffers of cash to mount viable campaigns. 
Reforms such as
1. Publicly funded elections 
2. Ranked Choice Voting... 
not only tackle corruption, but they also create opportunities for women and minorities to run— and win. 
The five states with public funding for legislative elections—Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, and Minnesota—all have levels of female representation in their state legislatures that are higher than the national average.

ACTION ITEMS:

1.) Educate yourself and take action with Represent.Us 
Represent.Us brings together conservatives, progressives, and everyone in between to pass powerful anti-corruption laws that stop political bribery, end secret money, and fix our broken elections. I learned about this incredible organization from Adam McKay, but they're also widely known for Jennifer Lawrence's support who has taken time off from acting to educate high schoolers with Represent.Us. 
QUICK, EDUCATIONAL, & ENTERTAINING VIDEOS from Represent.Us: 
--Watch 
The Problem on how corruption is currently legal in America. 
--Then Watch 
How the American Anti-Corruption Act can Fix the ProblemCorruption is legal in America because we need anti-corruption laws for politicians to break. Read this 1-sheet on what the American Anti-Corruption Act will do.

2.) Know & Support the Anti-Corruption Campaigns in your state: 
--
This interactive map of the U.S. courtesy of Represent.Us is SO HELPFUL. 
--Just click on your state and find the initiatives and ballot measures that need your vote and advocacy.

2.) Support Candidates who are rejecting corporate PAC campaign donations. 
--
Review this list of every single member of the Senate and House and their % Corporate PAC Contributions for the 2018 election cycle. Of the $120 million brought in from corporate PACs, almost 2/3 has gone to Republicans. 
--Current Senators and House Representatives who have pledged (some only recently) to reject corporate PAC campaign donations: 
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) 
Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) 
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) 
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) 
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) 
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) 
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) 
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) 
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) 
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) 
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) 
Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) 
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) 
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) 
Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) 
Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) 
Including challengers, there are 
more than 140 Democrats and 2 Republicans campaigning for Congress who have pledged to reject corporate PAC funding. 
--Here is the
END CITIZENS UNITED list of endorsements for candidates who will fight for campaign finance reform.

3.) Know which politicians are benefiting from corporate and special interest money: 
--Read House Republican Profiles in Corruption,
 which specifies the dollar amounts that has been exchanged between specific politicians and the prescription drug industry, big oil, lobbyists, corporate PACs, Wall Street, and who benefitted most from Trump's Tax Cuts & Jobs Act.

4.) Use (if you can) and Advocate for Public Funding Systems for Candidates! 
--
Click here to learn more about the 27 active programs in states, counties, and cities across the country that provide public funds to political candidates. 14 states and a number of cities, including NYC, LA, and Seattle, also have some form of voluntary public funding. 
--
Public Funding Fosters Diversity in the electoral process. Read and learn more so we can fight for these reforms.

Fighting corruption will fix so many of the issues you care about! 
Inequality, education, government waste, climate, and more.

So start 
tracking on this map what you can do in your state! 
Chelsey