Money in Politics

Time and again, community organizing groups have found that winning campaigns with an impact on everyday people’s lives frequently means challenging corporate power. All too often, companies attempt to undermine the public interest using their undue influence over our decision-makers. This is the first in a series of posts that will explore some of the leading organizations from around the country that are engaged in unearthing and combating the influence of money in the political process.

For each organization contained within this series, grassroots groups will find a description of the organization’s role in the landscape, an overview of the resources made available, and some examples of how those resources have been put into action by grassroots organizations.

Why look at money in politics?

There is more opportunity now than ever for organizing groups to fight corporate influence in politics. Incidents such as the oil spill in the Gulf, union-busting and the events in Wisconsin, and bank foreclosure practices, have led more and more people to wake up to the fact that there is a battle raging between the rich and everyone else. A Gallup poll released in February, 2011 backs this up. A large majority of people in the U.S. – 67 percent – are dissatisfied with the size and influence of corporations. This number has been climbing steadily since 2007.

Confronting Money in Politics

There are a number of ways that organizations challenge the role of money in politics.

Examples include:

  • Hitting industry lobby days,
  • Distributing fact sheets to shame politicians,
  • Feeding information to journalists,
  • Advertisements that expose corporate attempts to protect their bottom lines at our expense via public policy, and
  • Releasing research reports at public events.

Money in Politics series

  1. Money in Politics (introduction)
  2. Looking Beyond Campaign Contributions
  3. National Institute On Money In State Politics
  4. Center For Responsive Politics
  5. MOOSE: Monied Out-of-State Executives (case study)
  6. Public Campaign
  7. Common Cause
  8. MapLight.org
  9. Sunlight Foundation
  10. Good Jobs First
  11. Disinfecting Banker’s Day on the Hill (case study)
  12. Project Vote Smart
  13. Hitting the Jackpot (case study)
  14. Democracy North Carolina (case study)
  15. Connecticut Citizen Action Group (case study)

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