Fighting Big Money in Politics

The richest of the 1 percent have increasingly been able to put their mark on our democracy. Their values and interests differ from those of everyday Americans, and their mega-dollars diminish the votes and power of the rest of us. But we have the power to build a people-powered democracy. People need to get involved and adopt common sense reforms at the local, state, and federal level to ensure that the American people have a say in our government and the policy choices they make.

Concrete steps like the 2015 measure for clean, accountable elections in Maine and democracy vouchers in Seattle promote fair and just standards that eliminate barriers for people from all walks of life to run for office, not just a wealthy few. These reforms make a real impact on the lives of minorities, young people, people with disabilities, and working people. For instance, Connecticut was the first state in the nation to require paid sick leave for most employees. The passage of that law followed closely on the adoption of a law to fund campaigns with small contributions only. Not only are their solutions, there is a growing movement of people committed to solve the problem.

Small changes in cities and states are important first steps in the fight for fair, accountable campaign spending and a government that is truly of, by, and for the people. Breaking down the barrier of money in politics, however, will not be easy. The 25 largest donors collectively contributed $261 million in disclosed contributions and tens of millions more in undisclosed contributions in 2012. They have good reason to oppose laws that will amplify the voices of everyday citizens, because most of those voices - 7 in 10 of all Americans - support campaign finance reform. If we all work together, we can shift the balance of our democracy back to the people and show our leaders that the best way to get elected is with our votes, not their money. 

Testimony of Karen Hobert Flynn to Connecticut General Assembly on Public Financing


On Friday, February 9th, DI Executive Director Wendy Fields and Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn provided testimony on the need to expand and strengthen the Citizens’ Election Program (CEP) in Connecticut. Wendy and Karen expressed the need to strengthen the CEP as an important tool for giving ordinary citizens a voice and creating transparency in our government. Connecticut’s program is a model for the rest of the country. Since it was implemented 10 years ago, the General Assembly... Read More

Testimony to DNC Platform Committee



Testimony of Wendy Fields, Executive Director, Democracy Initiative before the Democratic National Committee Platform Drafting Committee


Members of the Democratic National Committee Platform Drafting Committee, thank you for allowing me to speak on behalf of the Democracy Initiative and our 30 million members of groups like the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Communication Workers, Common Cause, NAACP and the AFL-CIO.

... Read More

The DI Report: Democracy Awakening

DI Report

This weekend, a mass movement of thousands of activists and advocates from more than 300 labor, environment, civil rights, and faith organizations, descended on Capitol Hill for Democracy Awakening in a brilliant display of... Read More

The DI Report: 2015 Year in Review

DI Report

Happy Holidays!

As the final edition of the DI Report for the year, we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the tremendous work of the entire Democracy Initiative network. This has been an exciting year as the DI organized our first mobilization, engaged in a winning campaign in Maine to restore fair elections, and completed our message and research project uniting voting rights and money in politics... Read More

The DI Report: On the Ground in Maine Vol. 2: Organizing for Accountable Elections in the Pine Tree State

DI Report

“We have the opportunity to show the country that getting money out of politics is a moral issue; that ordinary people deserve the opportunity to run for office without having to rely on wealthy donors and special interests.” —Joan Saxe, Sierra Club Maine Chapter

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Joan Saxe (... Read More

The DI Report: ON THE GROUND IN MAINE: Organizing for Accountable Elections in the Pine Tree State

DI Report

 “When we band together for common goals like we have with other Democracy Initiative organizations, America becomes an even better place for middle class Americans.” –Serina DeWolfe, CWA Local 1400

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On November 3rd, citizens across the state of... Read More

The DI Report: Money in Politics Resources

DI Report

This special edition of the DI Report is an overview and resource on money in politics to which you can refer and use in your work. While much of this week is focused on the Journey for Justice and voting rights, we are committed to keeping both issues at the center of our democracy reform efforts.

At our December convening last year, groups indicated that they wanted DI to act as a “Democracy Docent,” providing guidance for groups for which democracy has not been a primary focus.... Read More

The DI Report: Netroots Nation 2015

DI Report

The Democracy Initiative just returned from Netroots Nation in hot and sunny Phoenix, Arizona where we presented a joint panel with Common Cause on felon re-enfranchisement, voting rights, money in politics, and the growing democracy movement. This was an amazing opportunity to showcase the work of the Democracy Initiative and our partners to build a... Read More

The DI Report: The DI's 3rd Annual Convening, 5th Anniversary of Citizens United, And Looking Ahead

DI Report

Welcome to the first DI Report of the new year, it has been a busy and productive time! Since our last edition, the Democracy Initiative brought together 220 leaders of DI organizations and other groups in our largest and most dynamic annual Convening to date last December. Building off of the priorities set at the Convening, we have launched a comprehensive and coordinated planning process to set priorities and plans for 2015 and 2016 and helped organize a national day of action around the... Read More

The DI Report: Election Protection, Democracy For All Amendment, Fair Elections

DI Report

This year and through the election, Democracy Initiative partners and allies came together and intensified efforts to protect our democracy, demonstrating the strength of our unified mission and goals. Many organizations, whose primary mission is elsewhere, were engaged in key efforts across the country. Volunteers stepped up to monitor the polls, we saw the culmination of years of effort with a vote on a Constitutional Amendment on the Senate floor with majority support, and new efforts in... Read More