Legislative v. Constitutional Remedies (Money Out Voters In Conference)
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Legislative v. Constitutional Remedies (Money Out Voters In Conference)

now introduce an amazing panel alert lessig is the roy furman professor
of law at harvard law school the director of the admin js epicenter
ethics at harvard university appreciate for those some contests thank you tank and uh… and i’m very happy b on this panel to
because i think it’s really important that place
these different reform movements in context i don’t accept the framing about
question in the panel which is constitutional verses
legislative i don’t believe in versus here i think we have to learn to walk and
chew gum in tweet at the same time cancio absolutely support the
constitutional reform movements uh… in all their stripes eager to get more
people talking about the need for constitutional reform i certainly
support which ank is talking about with uh… idea as a article five convention but it also think we need to get clear
on what the type of legislative changes that this country needs right now and start pushing for instance if that’s
what i want to talk about that kind of legislative change we need to put this in a little bit of
historical context we of course has been down dealing with
the idea of what was traditionally called publicly funded elections for a long time we for god that four thirty two years
ever since richard nixon until uh… brock obama every single president
was elected with public funding uh… ends benefited republicans and democrats
alike ronald reagan was the biggest
beneficiary running three times a national campaign using public funds and the striking thing people forget
about this is that when they win with public funds they were not fundraising while the word these candidates in the second
time running ronald reagan had zero fundraisers as a candidate for
president in this election cycle brock obama had twice as many
fundraisers as public rallies he had a hundred and one rallies and two hundred
and twenty one fundraisers so it radically change what it means to
be a candidate in obviously i don’t think that many people in this room i
think it changed it for the better non-black we need to recognize that the model of
public funding that was the motto of the presidential
public funding system is flawed in a number of important
respects the one thing brought obama did teach us was the extremely important value in having a system where people
participated in the funding by small dollar contributions dot was extremely
important getting people invigorated getting them behind that candidate and building the movement of a new
candidate so what we’ve seen since that time is a
whole series of proposals for what i call them i talked with him
small dollar funded campaigns bottom-up citizen funded campaigns and right now on the horizon there but
they’re basically four examples out there to think about the first
example is one that was almost passed by the house just uh… at
the in this fall of two thousand ten called the affair elections now at and fair elections now act as a proposal
that basically allowance a candidate to get matching funds for
small contribution will dollar contributions taken him then they get a certain amount of
money as a payment once they qualify uh… at
a certain level and dark insist that proposal is still out there but there’s a number of competing
proposals that i think ur actually more interesting in action and have more fatality behind them one of them has been pushed by uh…
democracy twenty-one and brennan center and this is another matching funds like
proposal but what distinguishes it from the other
two that i’m gonna talk about is that it’s matching funds for larger dollar contributions so if the objective is to is to increase
the number of people who are participating meaning the number of
people making contributions this is benefiting people making larger
contributions not necessarily benefiting uh… and creating lots of incentives
for the smaller contributions and some of calculated that half of the public money in that system would be directed towards large dollar
contributions leading some to wonder should we be subsidizing rich people
giving money to political candidates gone the second proposal that’s out there by
is a proposal just introduced uh… about six weeks ago by congressman john
sarbanes son of paul sarbanes from maryland this is called a grassroots democracy
act and grassroots democracy act is a very
ambitious effort to create a series of incentives to give
members a reason to opt into funding their campaigns with small dollar
contributions away so he has a matching fund component here’s a tax credit component it has a and as a component that uh… creates a any a special kind of
uh… pilot for when i was talking about is vouchers and as we call the people’s fines which
tries to skirt the constitutional concerns around giving money as a function of other
people of regards mark challenged by large dollar contributors but it’s a objected to give people confidence that come into a small dollar funded system
it’s a fantastic bill i strongly urge you to look at it uh… and and spend
you can find it a grassroots uh… democracy dot com the third proposal is one trevor i think
is gonna talk about most you have something uh… i was actually foresight you have
something on your your chair from resent rep represent us and this is what’s referred to as the
american anti-corruption packed i think it frustrates me about the
people who pushed us is that uh… because i’m so concerned about
dependence i really try to get people to think about improper dependency seems to me the appropriate we refer to
this act is the a intact that they haven’t yet adopted this nomenclature for it by this too has a very ambitious uh… affectively any about your like
program it’s tax credits to fund what would function the way about your
program with with with would function as well as an incredible range of other fundamental
changes including affecting incentives that lobbyists have including taking on
the power of super pacts including very fast strong uh… benefits for transparency my favorite is
a requirement that congressman reports how much time they spend it raising campaign dollars young so this
is all i think certainly usually the most ambitious of
the staff of the proposals the time depends on how this rage and here’s the only point i wanna make
us a point it’s gonna make hope that some people angry i apologize
for that but here’s the point we have to worry about insider verses outsider politics here
too with the very beginning of this movement to push the right kind of reform into
the system and we have to make sure that the
insider reformers don’t sell us out don’t sell us out too soon for tiny
little reforms that will not change the system but at
least make it so they get to claim credit is having passed some bill in particular some build a have proposed this is a disaster phase incredibly important that this debate about what the
architecture of change that look like weather to be just matching funds or
whether it should include out jurors who include tax credits be allowed to continue and that you
people outside the beltway participate in that and so right now i can tell you inside
the see there’s a struggle among reformers as people are being told that your ideas
are not approved because they’ve not been approved by the traditional
insiders inside this game so we need to look back to the reformers
have done enormous could work for the past thirty years uh… an obviously democracy twenty one
is at the top of that list but we have to say to them way back a bit we need the whole of this movement to
participate in this reform movement we don’t need to end this debate right
now we’re not gonna get a bill passed in the next two years what we need instead is a movement that
builds the political support them citizen support they’re all required to actually get
something like this past so i think you need to be part of that
debate and i think you need to be very vocal in supporting outsiders in this as much as the
insiders might contribute their personal prime-time news but it is
somebody told me my ideas are not approved haha or really here and two but sources point i knew that uh… opportunist for coming
in on this issue to raise money et-cetera when i saw a chuck schumer’s on the
their name on the list of people really interested in getting money out of
politics pakad really natural modernism president the campaign
legal center not far from watching the cbo song the reform of money in politics thank
god and he’s also a member of caplin drysdale swatching in d_c_ office
released the firm’s political operatives twelve countries best known and most
experienced campaign election or is it a former commissioner and chairman of the federal election commission i’m
go on but again i think you know truck thank you all uh… thank you larry for uh… i i think pointing out the the key
really to this discussion which is uh… i don’t think any of us up here
see obvious as a debate but with winners than losers between a
constitutional option uh… and legislative options uh… or between various legislative options uh… what i’d uh… was talking to
larry about this for her was now you’re immature and a half ago uh… i’d asked him to come to
washington and participate in the discussion about disclosure and i said to him and i
thought that the key step here was requiring
disclosure of the spending of money in politics because traditionally it is
that sort of uh… spotlight that has led to further changes and larry very graciously said alcock i have to tell you i think you’re wrong it’s too small bore you can’t just look at this closure you
have to look at more i think the fact that we’re sitting here
together today says that we both hurt each other of that there are things we can do right now there things that could be
done in the next week’s that things are going to take the years so we need to
see this as a collaborative process uh… and it’s for that reason that i was delighted to
be asked uh… by a group uh… used be called
united republic it’s now called represent us you have the flyer on your chair to work with them my role was to be the lawyer working to draft the
american anti corruption act with with a team of lawyers uh… we sought larry’s advice he’s been
involvement we saw buddy advice of a range of of constitutional scholars they have a website um… x i think they have several websites but
represent uh… us is is um… one of them on the flyer and i think the
other one is the anti-corruption ac dot org uh… if you go to their website you’ll
not only see the four proposal uh… and i’m we do not have time to go through uh… whatever it is about uh… fifteen pages of legalese on the full
proposal public show also see another document uh… but i think shows how seriously
we’ve taken these issues and that is an explanation piece by piece by piece of why we think this is constitutional anthony game to go back to that as we talk about the need for a
constitutional amendment which would change the entire landscape we have to
recognize that that is a long process point of the american anti-corruption
act was to show that it is possible to change the
process in really significant ways that would revolutionize washington now without having to get all those states that’s not to say we
shouldn’t be looking at the amendment and working to the amendment and i
thought they were very good points made this morning about how the outside pressure for an amendment and
for a convention leads congressmen to make changes they
wouldn’t otherwise lead but to say they’re are in fact a lot of
things we can do realistically perhaps more than congress
will ever do but that could be done constitutionally if we had announced pressure on congress and the
will to do it so we set out to draft a very ambitious
act that covered all whole really put in one
place the range of reforms that we think uh… would change washington of the pic
people who have been working on this have uh… support from uh… some tea party folks from some
occupy wall street folks from some convicted felons oh that that would be jacket remarkable who basically says stop me before i kill
our lobby again a less important this check and say look
i know how much with and when we were talking about the drafting he could say
that and go far enough because i can figure out how to get around that sup with all of that background let me
outline of briefly what the provisions are still understand the scope of the
game you can always go and and and take a
look at it in some detail but the first is what we’re calling
conflict of interest because the supreme court is recognized to
congress recognizes that there is a power in the
legislature to prevent conflicts of interest the conflict of interest we have as
professor lessig outlined in some length this morning is between the people who art giving the money lobbying in congress hiring lobbyists to lobby congress all
four specific legislative action or inaction the protection of tax
preferences and loopholes and so forth on the one hand and a member of congress on the other
who is dependent bond that money to run his or her re-election campaign but is sitting there voting on the bills and heat it will you look at it as they shake down by the member or an
attempt to buy results by the lobbyists in the outsiders you end up with the
same place they’re dependent uh… those lobbyists
and that world and the people who hire the lobbyists rather than everyone else so the first provisionally conflict of
interest says members camp raise funds from people who
are lobbying bama because they want something in their
official capacity so you say but you can do them a favor but then you
can’t asked them for money secondly the lobbyists can give only a small
amout to protect their first amendment expression rights to the members five hundred dollars and they can’t solicit money for the
member from everyone else they can bundle money for the member and the people who have hired them can’t
do so either so you’re against separating this conflict of interest in trying to
ensure that the people who were voting in committee on specific bills are not doing so because the lobbyist is
holding a fundraiser for them next week or the other side i point you know i i i have the washington
lawyer had planned to say i went to see a member i wanted to explain why i hoped they’d
support my bill i had good reasons we had a good meeting and the next day i got a call from their
fundraiser saying what i like to be on the host committee for the fundraiser they’re holding next week at that sort of shakedown is prohibited
by this uh… sub moved to close the revolving door i had
not heard leary’s numbers before today about the fifty percent of uh… senators and
forty two percent of members of the house and then go on the lobbyists um… it’s important that that not be the next meal ticket so we extendable opted prohibitions on
uh… doing any lobbying if you’re a former member for five years which we think is a really solid time to ensure that those
people have gone often done something different and perhaps productive after
god i would say in passing l are not back all the data again
remember a time in washington where members of congress wanted to be
members of congress and only when they were defeated did
they say well now what am i going to do i’m going to be i guess i’ll be a
lobbyist ’cause those you know that’s will hire me those of the people
i know now almost every session of congress you
have members of congress walking out their office doors and turning the keys
over and saying i’m going to be a lobbyist cuz i got a better offer that you know it didn’t used to happen
that way and it this monster it dust uh… next from the lobbying conflict of interest
side we’ve moved to campaign finance which uh… larry has highlighted big change here is to say that we wanted alternative method for
everybody in this room to be involved but the numbers that you heard this
morning are pretty startling uh… it’s one-third of one percent of all
americans who give annul funny two hundred dollars to a
candidate party committee uh… war uh… a political committee to even be listed at the f_e_c_ as a donor one-third of one percent so the other
ninety nine and two thirds percents get covered by this proposal part of this whole uh… american any
corruption ac use design to do the cross party work uh… that larry was referring to this
morning uh… we’ve had republicans in this week had
on the conference call announcing this uh… somebody who was the ethics
officer for the george w_ bush white house he is a conservative libertarian
republican his view is i’m republican i don’t like paying taxes i don’t like usual vermin deficits and i think we’re getting it because of
the current system the insiders are buying everything they want and i’m left out he has been one of the people pushing a proposal which he would describe from
a conservative republican side as attacks rebate what he says is everyone pays taxes
whether it’s income tax or our gas tax or a social security tax or
something we’re all actually uh… one way or another paying for this
government and we all want to get five hundred
dollars back year of our money which we can then designate through the u_s_ treasury too one or more candidates party committees
political candidates so we get our money back and we turn
around we fund the voices when we want to font uh… and that provide an enormous pool of money outside of the traditional system uh… and as larry says there are a
number of the proposals that look at matching funds and everything else but what we were looking for here is to
say you’re sort of the gold standard if we can get here this changes the system more than
anything else and i and i think it does beyond that we do have disclosure in
there and full transparency uh… on a range of issues first the
whole lobbying world in washington there plenty of people who leave
congress now the next day they turn up at a lobbying firm they might be a former member they are
prohibited under current law from lobbying for that first year so they’re not all of its they don’t
register their consultant they will run the lobbying campaign they are hired to advise on how to make
this happen but they don’t actually go to the hills
peterson so we do but brought require broader transparency
with uh… people who run lobbying campaigns people
advise on lobbying campaigns people who are paid to help the lobbying campaign having to be disclosed so we know who they are uh… in addition to that of course of
this includes the disclose act ana point uh… on the panel that though was made this morning important thing here is to require disclosure of money that
is spent in elections whether it’s by a c four a c-section
really shouldn’t matter those are more complicated questions
will get to a moment but for the purposes of the american
anti-corruption act let’s say if you’re running ads
featuring members of congress or their opponents uh… in an election season you should
be disclosing where your money comes from whoever you are and you can do that constitutionally under citizens united so this act
includes that as well finally the enforcement side uh… is included in this uh… we do have a federal election commission uh… it is currently well let’s see highly ineffective will
be understating it um… as an explanation there um… eat commission can be improved um… instead of trying to micromanage what this act says
it is we’re going to make one key change right
now which is we’re going to provide a ps
tie-breaking vote because believe it or not the commission at the moment has six commissioners it requires four to do anything and it has three republicans and three
democrats and for the last couple of years
anything important has deadlocked three three which means it can act self it provides as a stop-gap that there be a seventh commissioner to
break ties but then it says we need to redesign this whole system and provides
a mechanism for doing that that’s the american any corruption act i
think blues key principles the lobbying uh… conflict of interest provisions the taxpayer rebate and significant funds available for
candidates of the transparency and correcting the
enforcement side really would change the way washington
works i think they have another couple minutes
and so i’m gonna switch to alright i’m going to be the even more immediate the american any corruption act has not yet been introduced in congress
the plan of its sponsors it is to build a national constituency for it
first get people to talk about these issues
getting million signatures urging congress to enact it and then have members introduced invited from
there so this is not gonna happen tomorrow dispels as well what are our alternatives from a
constitutional amendment to the american any corruption ektu and the answer is there are some things that could be done in the months ahead and i want to
quickly go through them some of them have been discussed uh… on the panels this morning so i’ll
just put him in there context i would start with that federal election commission that
doesn’t work there are currently by vacancies among six commissioners what that means is the law says the
commissioners holdover they stayed there until either they die or their successors are qualified that
means the president has to nominate someone the senate has to confirm them for the
successors to appear president of allah has no nominees
before congress for any of those five vacancies now i’d presume he’s aware of the
existence of the federal election commission about the problem is he’s got
the same partisan divide in congress uh… and the republican leadership has
said to him three of those seats are ours thank you very much you don’t nominate we tell you the names and then you give
them back to us and we can firm up and the democratic leaders say that’s
how it works for us to uh… will confirm with you but we’re
going we’re going to the democrats are the republicans are gonna tell you where
the republicans are then you’re going to nominate them
they’re going to come in as a package and we will blast off well the constitution was in actually
written that way for all those people who believe in strict construction is um it says the president nominates the
senate advises and confirms what i would recommend here is at the white house get off the sick
and figure out who it was to nominate trying to do something on across
partisan basis and to avoid the partisan gridlock we have because you right now i
can hear uh… mitch mcconnell saying those are democratic nominees those are
real democrats and wolf’s clothing et cetera and uh… i’m not knitwear not cut all
confirmable why not have the president pull together a nonpartisan bipartisan across partisan
group of distinguished american’s judges prosecutors state election people and say give me some names i’d feel congress used to give me the
names and i had no choice politically i’m asking you americans to give me some
names and you give me a list of five and i
promise constitutionally i will nominate those
five and i’m gonna turn of the senate and say if you don’t like him and you
can tell the public exactly what’s wrong with them otherwise confirm that would i think the any real step in
cross partisanship here and it would break the deadlock we have
at the f_e_c_ uh… for those of you would like to see
that spelled out in more detail i spent this week uh… struggling to write an op ed for
the washington post which is in tomorrow’s addition and on their website
which goes on to explain what’s going on at the commission and
how this will would really make a difference so i think we’ll start with the federal
election commission beyond that we discussed the i_r_s_ a
bit today um… the i_r_s_ is not deadlocked because it has one
commissioner it is desperately trying to hide from
this discussion and i don’t blame them um… they get complaints all about once
a week from various groups saying that c_-four in this e four violating the law and baby uh… at one stage wrote a letter
back uh… to democracy twenty-one and the letter said we we’ve got all
your complaints and we want to wish sure you were thinking about them we are aware of the issue you might have thought that was not tell
us what to the republicans in congress that was
a bomb they were horrified commit wrote a letter back to the i_r_s_ it said that
what you do you think about this her seriously they said this is an important part is
an issue and you have to stay out of it the i_r_s_ code do uh… a number of things as was laid out
on the panel before such as figuring out what in being really clear about when these
non-profits are really political organizations because if they’re political
organizations under the i_r_s_ rules they’re already required to disclose
their donors are paying a substantial tax uh… and figure out under what circumstances their political
organizations what the major purpose test is uh… and and move from there so that could be done by the i_r_s_ itself
which is the last time i looked part of the administration the president is no
play politics with the i_r_s_ but i think he could say of this is an
important issue and i’m not telling you what to do one
telling you to do something so we have that the securities and exchange commission we’ve heard there are proposals before
it now of they haven’t done anything yet there that would deal with the specific
issue of the transparency political expenditures by corporations i don’t believe that rule-making uh…
currently includes the possibility under as the british do of requiring shareholder or approval of
a budget or was some form of approval of
political spending of of that would be worth looking at uh… there was a reference in the panel
this morning uh… to the possibility of doing this uh… similar action through the states uh… you may have followed the other
uh… connecticut the legislature there actually managed
to pass along uh… that said that corporations either
incorporated in the state of connecticut for doing business in the state of
connecticut which would be most major corporations
in the united states have to get advance shareholder approval
before spending a certain level of money that that was vetoed by the governor obvi democratic governor on the basis of
corporations didn’t like it uh… but if this is a national movement if
that’s the sort of thing they can be pushed across the country uh… you might find governors of both parties uh… less inclined to veto it those are the sorts of things that i
think can be done in the short term uh… i i’d like to end on looking at at citizens united censuses to some extent how we all got in this
room and saying there two things in citizens united have not worked out the way the court
said they would one is the east ended this spending is not holy totally truly the three words that are there independent of candidates and party
committees but what that means is that is not protected by citizens united it doesn’t have a constitutional right
to be unlimited if it is not independent what we can do here constitutionally
without changing the court use insure that there are standards for the
independence of this spending that could be done by the federal
election commission be new lee reconstituted with five new
commissioner federal election commission it they they have the statutory
authority to write those rates it’s a long story but they’ve actually twice wrote bad rags they were sued the courts
agreed that they were bad and and not extensive enough and they were wrote went back and wrote
a third and one which we’re now living under but a good f_e_c_ could fix that the other areas disclosure uh… as you heard this morning citizens united has one bright spot
eight one the court says full disclosure of campaign spending
election spending is constitutional not only that but justice kennedy goes
on to say it’s a great night if you read his opinion he says for all of you who are worried about
citizens united in allowing corporate spending you don’t need to worry because
it’s gonna be disclosed through the magic of something called the internet everyones gonna know where the money’s
coming from corporate shareholders can hold their corporate their row
corporations responsible and everyday voters are going to know who is speaking who is funding the ads
they can make their decisions not only about what they think of the air based
on that but then they can holby officeholders
accountable and see if they’re corrupted by all that
sped we can’t do that if it secret the f_e_c_ could if i get right it regulation that required it because the mccain
feingold walk those of us who worked on it fought
didn’t require full disclosure of spending it says that in the law the f_e_c_ chains that in a regulation so that you now have you seen or miss
loophole and if you don’t designate your contribution for uh… sp this particular advertising then it isn’t required and that could be
fixed by a newly reconstituted f_e_c_ so conclusion yes we need to look at the
long-term constitutional options yes i believe we need to look at the
medium term legislative options like the american any corruption act but we can also do some of these smaller
more things that would actually make a difference and we can push those now uh… i found out some shocking things
in there uh… it turns out president over almost
not strongly chelsea or votes hi did not see that coming not doing much about the f_e_c_ in
campaign finance reform in palmer tracking right now t to that point because what it emphasize this point two points actually look this money that goes into campaigns it does something really interesting to
know the a lot of people talk about it not only gets to the people who get
the money to be elected in the hands presents that buys which we’ve all
talked about but it also has a secondary bias which
isn’t it go flows towards a really strong
republicans that asked for the moon and really weak democrats that all right thank you sir may we have
another so if you’re strong democrat as howard
dean was in two thousand four you are not going to get that money and take you for your order standard
practice as well we can’t make a compromise for example
is that having six people on there bc we’ll just have one then you get the money and don’t forget president obama raised
bed billion dollars and some of that was small money but a
lot of it was a really large money so is it surprising that the guy who
raise a billion dollars is not really that interested in fixing a system that
got him elected president the united states
twice so my point there isn’t that you should
be oppose the president of bomb or democrats is that when they ask you to
clap louder as the solution too hehe how we’re gonna fix the system don’t believe them they are part of the insiders they’re
not part of that outsiders but now or introduce dr trent lang he served on
the board of the california clean money campaign since two thousand of three
he’s been a spokesperson lobbyist and policy expert four of the california
clean money campaign that’s a lobby sign your behind uh…
and analyzing campaign spending in proposing solutions to campaign finance
issues for both california and elsewhere that trend is also got a p_h_d_ from
u_c_l_a_ with multi-disciplinary academic background in computer science
kind of science cognitive psychology is author of
reporting academic publications angry the you preston and he can be the units right thank you very much this is a this is a
fabulous cos i’m so you vac that’s where you know i have tried represent here their derrick wrestle in the real
concern today so i’m so proud to have everybody
cigarette here so many big faces other people that i know that very active in
this problem here in california as you’ve been hearing today there are multiple levels so that we
have to work to address the problems of big money in politics you know it eventually a constitutional amendment throughout
solution good very strong and national solutions like p uh… anti corruption act that may take
of while but you capsule lead me to build of
movement but also we believe that legislatively uh… especially here in states like in
california that we can take some very very important think he steps going
forward and so i don’t talk about that one of
the focus is that we’re doing accompaniment campaign has been working
with california common cause in the lead women voters and other groups here in california for a
long time a public financing of campaigns uh… we’ve had some successes recently the city of los angeles dramatically strengthen its small toner
matching funds system uh… for the city of los angeles of to beat make it more like the new york
city which is a great model that so that a small donors get matched up to four
dark times to one in the general election increasing strengthening the
small small our small donors and i was a long process to get that
going for we hope that will serve as sort of a model for public lands in
california but one of the things that we’ve senior
after citizens united course is the problem of the absolute huge amounts of
money uh… again in super packs that the
overwhelming uh… super packs and generally where money is dominating this system and even dominating these sorts of
legislation that can be considered without people knowing uh… who’s behind it and if people who was behind these super packs and attack ads and and and
even uh… behind this sort of uh… the commercials that attack what the
solution uh… it would make a big huge
difference that’s that’s our belief so jervis shows just app sarika so here you could say this is a screenshot from
one of those super pack ads is the this here tell me if you can figure out who paid
for this based off of this disclosure bareback riders and paid for by restore
our future equipped responsible the content of this message is not
authorized by janet prevented committees and this for a future dot com accessible in a perfect examples of of
what we need this so this this is a sort of disclosure that we
have currently international ads nobody can tell who’s paying for it you look at these sorts of uh… atm uh… yes these are the sorts of names and you see
disclosed nationally molly ivins pocket thank you so national a national super pack at
d_c_ restore a future that was one of our just once american crossroads uh… that scores perot’s group a
hundred five million dollars crossroads grassroots policy studies these are all revealed in the fine print
and television ads uh… priorities u_s_a_ action uh… that the pro-democratic one
americans for prosperity that’s the coat brothers and there are lots more uh… beyond
that and neglecting the most important go to the next slide guest dangerous program all americans roberto roberto i understand
that may be closing up it has wasn’t it extra money has disappeared never to be
found all my gut that’s makes it even more dangerous that’s our problem that we have to have
nationally um… north there is there is a bill that was a bill uh…
and it will be again corbett national disclose everything for
heard about uh… that would address this problem so
you see who’s paying for the attack at
themselves of the national disclose that made the
most progress in two thousand ten and what it would then be sites kind of
cures for illnesses they also that you you q of the non-profits when they spend
on political as ever showed was paying for them it would have action required the uh… the president and c_e_o_ of the
largest blunder of the had to go on screen and say that i uh… we approve of this message
we funded and help approve this message that would make a huge difference
impasse the democratic uh… house represented in two thousand ten it got fifty nine votes to break the
filibuster fifty nine fell one vote short if we have got the
we would know hoop at least who was paying for all
these uh… that super packets nationally with governments like so that’s cut beverly reintroducing that
bill but the chances of a problem going through our nationally in the next
couple of years it may be a very difficult slog because
of opposition have there but in california and he told hapter worry about the
filibuster so we can actually do something here in
california and serve as a model for the rest of the country and that’s what we’re looking at with
the california disclose that uh… we have the the same sorts of problems
here in california three hundred seventy million dollars in
spending dot measures at this year back in california if this works because we have the same sort of
independent expenditures with candidate there may have to deal with we also about measures that have huge implants and respect upon our
state these are the names is the largest
spending once this year stop special interest money now stop corporate
special exempted from campaign finance rules the two thousand pablo auto
insurance discounts at also break down today but nobody knows who was behind them emal unless you go to the secretary say website on
that most of underserved action revealed there and so the press can talk about
them sometime except in cases of this recent arizona
caseworkers eleven million dollars there’s essentially laundered from the
arizona uh… non-profit uh… americans for responsible leadership and took a californication agenda on the last day to review uh… on the
sunday before the election to reveal uh… that two other nonprofits wants us to cope
responded that’s that the problem uh… here’s our disclosure looks in
california this was the creek a screen shot on the
current law uh… uh… disclosure for yes on twenty six a
proposition in november two thousand twelve again you can see paper by
stopping taxes as bob stern would say if you have to kind of freeze-frame this
diva notices at all and then you might be able now sometimes
in california reveals the two largest ponders buried in the fine print california disclose equity would change that completely by changing and so the top three funders
have to be revealed on that at some cells this is what those yes on twenty six path
would have to display can you see how much this would change a
game when it comes to california ballot measures when you have stands at a stop in taxes not bein
friends you see that this proposition was paid
for by chevron american veterans association philip morris it would completely changed the game
when it talks it when it comes to pass the legislation would help in my
campaign is decreased the disclose that is because eventually we’re gonna have to put
public financing of whatever store we have on the ballot in california and all the attack by the same very sort
of people and if we can disclose them there and
the public financing issue better chances to pass when it comes in so this is kind of across the board yes
on twenty five that was a corporate initiative uh… yes on twenty five was one that
was actually supported mostly by labor so uh… it’s it’s
completely non-partisan through the three largest funders one packet that’s what we’re of talking about there
was a bill this year eighty sixteen forty eight the california disclose act
that would have past this uh… some remember julie brown is now
in congress to his office she’s having a father clean money champion we’ve colder uh… cover them on campaign sponsored
at the celtic chamber of commerce and its allies happily heavily heavily lobbied against
this bill period we will be fun but three hundred fifty organizations
and leaders endorsed it it was passed by the assembly got
assembly on august twenty so uh… to put that this measure on the
ballot in november two thousand fourteen uh… uh… it was too late to to get through the senate and passed
we got started in this next year that was partially due to teleport rember commerce and all
the sellers of lobby so carefully against it but we’re gonna come back uh… there is a huge coz i know many of
you yourselves uh… have signed the over eighty four
thousand california signed petitions for this is how we get grassroots activism
for legislation and really put the pressure
on the sock out to be someone that’s how where you get it through next year twelve newspaper interest over three
hundred fifty organizations and leaders endorsed at that not just a legal in
voters in common cause and public citizen but but all sorts of groups across the road
realm and national groups we’re going to this is how you you build and uh…
pushed legislation this week and skippers eighty-four percent california support dispense water dispenser that but the next one this is one of my favorite quotes for
why disclosure is is that i constitutional from justice anton scalia requiring people stand up in public for
their political acts foster’s civic courage without which democracy if we can the disposal act is in some ways it’s
small bore its a first step you need lots of other steps we believe it will start to show the
lights uh… on the situation to help some of the bigger things
because once when people see very clearly in all the ads that they’re
going to wear who is paying for them at the same corporations and
billionaires every single time that will help built a popular pressure we believe not
only so that that things don’t get past when
these whether fooled by those deceptive ads but also build popular pressure for
uh… the additional much larger reforms that we also also needs so less life uh… out to say you know why
is california portent as california goes so goes the nation uh… and part of this is a california’s is of course if you look at
it and sizes economy the eight workers that would be kind of busy
eighth largest country in the world if it were country so so if we can make the serbs reform in
california we got a real chance because we don’t have to worry about the
filibuster we’ve got a very strong activist community really show uh… uh… examples of how
the stuffing mister one quick note on that uh… which the cult says that a free find out
who the farmers are there would be intimidating them here their fathers of millions of dollars on
intimidating anybody if we find out about it that’s a fairly division in and
they know it to in all places a lot of urea from california of my favorite was eighty you you prob those this guys is an anti-corporate funded by the corporations well if you
thought you were going to win in the american people or on your side which is
why would you say it’s a pro corporation prop because they know that they’re not
popular and and that if we know who it is that you know we’re going to vote
against why i want to take that questions from everybody has a nice
weekend here in about fifteen minutes if you get lined up there are there that
would be great will tell you one of the uh… at a time egging expose what time but please
please please let’s keep it quiet uh… yeah this is uh… for trevor you
listed several things we can do now if you recommend that buses individuals contact the federal
election committee contact the white house contact there s a contact the
s_e_c_ advocate for the things you described sure i think citizen contact is really
bible um… on the f_e_c_ the pressure point
is going to be the white house they’ll want to have to realize that this this any makes a big difference and kit
they can do it and that people want them to do it so i think that i’d start with
the f_e_c_ by traversal of questions for you as
well we think about if we think about a a constitutional amendment for
everything we wanted it being hundred-percent solutions imagine got
everything we wanted uh… and we take a look at it and the
corruption actresses set up right now what percentage of the solution resilient corruption act giving us is puzzle with asking is what
are we leaving on the table that the amended process would cover works i think it gives you a very sizable
percentage of the other couple thoughts there one is that a constitutional
amendment uh… also deal with the state issues um… at
the moment it by definition a a piece of legislation
camp overturn the supreme court when it’s interpreting the constitution
so it wouldn’t deal with the ability of corporations to make fully independent
expenditures that would still be there it wouldn’t allow states to restrict
that also i think that’s an important
portents area which were choirs either a change in the views of the court and also the just justices who are on it an amendment that that would be a
printable difference there uh… also week we don’t really know where we are
with the idea that because individuals and corporations under speech under
uh… citizens united have the right to make
an inventor expenditure is that really the same as what we’ve seen which is the
super packed phenomenon where you give your money to a group and they need to side who is who they’re gonna support maybe limit a bull under current law we
try to do that and of the american anti-corruption act if we can’t limit that’s if unlimited
contributions to these outside groups are permitted doesn’t gain only would
reach that would be to remember so e it does a lot of what we want to do with it
definitely goes into everything alright i want to go back and forth here
and then a include some questions from other room as well the somebody wrote here does money have to
equal speech i have heard this aspect address yet can we change that aspect of
the equation somewhere and you is we don’t if we solve this in the ways that are
described so the american anti-corruption act my view the
constitution should be amended to give congress the power to limit expenditures a limit
contributions uh… if those two things were there i don’t think we need to and i do think
it would be harmful to take the additional step of saying money is not
speech and the reason for that is in for
example los angeles city council can pass a rule that says you can only spend fifty dollars to run
for the campaign to be a los angeles city council person i guess there’s a
city council her its okay con so what would that what do you have a lot would
be eight incumbency protection act in somebody’s seems to me first amendment right to say
no i need to be able to spend money to be a bit challenge at least in this way
would be undermined by that change and and i don’t think we need to threaten
that liberty that we all have right now it if we address the problem in the way
that i think we’ve described shouldn’t trust professor of sex i think from
columbia law school rhoda great article about that and i want to check out and uh… and look i i’m a fear of the nuclear
option on corporations not being people of money not being speech is actually a
very complicated and something you have to be careful about jects and spend two questions citizens united took a very narrow case underwrite very right wing cordova uh…
video about uh… hillary and louis opt into and massive decision
okay so in your will enhance today is very
encouraging on the other hand this is the same supreme court is not
likely to change soon you can change back again one of your legislative calculations
with revenge or or where where do you think he was exposed raising q_v_c_
exposed indefinitely with this kind of court the second question i have is alan
grayson just in the last week to ten days put through a uh… propose a bill
that had a lot of restrictions on corporate money legislation side so could you comment on those as well
thank you i’ll start on the move down alban uh… i i think the the upper part of the answer is that uh… it’s my sense that that with this court was taken aback the five justices in the majority were
taken aback by the national reaction to citizens united uh… this is a much bigger case than
they had expected the reaction was was much more negative
than they thought um… i have not read the speech but
justice alito apparently gave a talk two nights ago at the federalist society
where he basically said of this is blown-up in a way we didn’t expect the opponents of this case have done a
very good job he said of uh… regenerating criticism of think is a
result of that what we’re seeing at the moment at least
is that the courts do not want in other major confrontation over
campaign finance sim citizens united they have largely
been talking these cases where they can there’s there’s one in the process now
that argues the corporation should have the same rights as individuals to make
direct contributions to candidates uh… and the lower courts have said basically
that’s above our pay grade uh… we we aren’t we we understand the
logic of it under citizens united but the supreme court has to make that
decision so it’s coming up i wouldn’t be surprised if if they’ve
declined to hear it and left the their previous agreements in place soaks
up way of saying that you’re absolutely
right of course this court contains his mind this court can do things worse than
citizens united but my sense for the moment at least is
that they’re not looking for that fight we have drafted the american any
corruption act based on current precedents based on things that this
court has said to make it we believe constitutional you let me just add emphasize one part
of that that but i think of is the core part to the
american into corruption act dentists are bands is grassroots democracy act is
absolutely untouchable by the supreme court under its
jurisprudence even in the recent cases the court has signaled that it supported
brown constitutional these efforts at that this kind of citizen at work but
they call public funding there’s no reason to not move forward
with legislation because of your fear of the supreme court overturning it mice my way of looking at it if the
overturned public funding that would make my day craig make you happy because
sooner than the revolution would be here that would be the most outrageous at and it’s true all the sort of
legislative solutions that we’re looking at work rafting around if the supreme
court’s recent decisions maymester princes had paid out of the
nine justices said the disclosure is good uh… hopefully they would be okay with
the sort of really you know in your face disclosures of the
people see was playing political ads in the disclose at and same thing with
public financing solutions arizona maine and connecticut had fabulous because clean elections clean
money style systems that were put into place that provided public financing for
campaigns in matching funds when they were outspent by outside groups supreme court uh… uh… uh… cutback that part about they left
public financing place so we have to be careful what co end up doing with our
proposals unchanged asked where the money was
going in the entire nation media and why that money goes i think highly encourage
you to look at it because my impression uh… is that there’s really no works in
particular been deeply in debt for very long time and that they now function on a moral
asked the fact of the u_s_ system where with debt ceilings that are controlled
by the banks and that bank as the control whether they continue to receive
the funding necessary to support their enormously inefficient infrastructure
and without that they’ve been solve an almost instantly uh… that in turn
becomes effective subsidy when it comes around to election time because then the
advertising costs go up dramatically which buffers the year to date balance
sheets and makes it look like they’re less debt than they are uh… it also
becomes effective handout to the banks because often those increase rates for a
way for them to recoup the interest that’s consulate being paid on the loans
they’re constantly ballooning just like with a government my question however
the panel uh… regards sorry it is that i want to get down out
but on the might my question to the panel actually
regards going outside the box i really like to know the grassroots democracy
act as a little disappointed in guinea mention because it involves turning the
paradigm unattended sense uh… in uh… i deleted a uh…
reflexive growing trend uh… or at least a desire trend towards
game of the cation uh… in advertising unification is when you participate in
some stupid survey only one aspect that i for sure no uh… what i’d like to ask is uh… is use whether you guys believe that we could benefit by instead of using uh… the f_e_c_
s_e_c_ things like that as enforcers of penalties if using them as in four series of um… of benefits would not indy encourage people
two-point properly instead of expecting everybody to do the
right thing and enforcing doing wrong why are we not expecting everybody to do
the wrong thing and rewarding doing right because it’s
in the beneficiaries of closed the others department six ok altogether started to munich it’s kinda complicated
question by anyway have an answer i thought i did utter the words
grassroots democracy act many times in a big supporter of the things are good for
this reason it doesn’t hurt you create a different attitudes and so i think you
should look at it and support alright recovery question ’cause it’s
written uh… is one panel nervous about hope
uh… is the panel nervous about all putting
the quicker constitution to an amendment that negative closes will be added the
to or reform amendment a poison pills a separate uh… i can quickly answer that one and
that is uh… look everybody square scared of your convention my god what
will happen we might actually change the system okay that would be awesome uh… and and
beat remember three-quarters of the states have to ratify anything including commandment proposals they
come out of a convention if you don’t have an amendment that is
enormously popular you have no chance about it requires the states ratified there about a minute left i think on
steady back the immediate is obviously and final into sending
information to the masses to bell admit necessary and and people to get behind
this as you say earlier that day t_v_ ad
spending astronomical at nearly a billion dollars this year disenfranchised distance and i think
media away from political had spending but that’s gotta be and major part of the
strategy is getting the media into report on initiatives and not and cd enter the car parking highly
negative bigger issue this is a great question so said never
thought about uh… and one way to do it i guess is
acting chart was saying is we knew the u_k_ proposal you know a lot to do to
you yet for you fertility defense meant they would come
here to david hale seven idea about how to do
that are at one minute left one final
question uh… distant quicktime marina brown
question with occupy democracy pasadena the last eight months they’ve been
actually working on our congressman schiff who said there’s no way
snowball’s chance in hell that he was going to any kind of resolution to have
a constitutional amendment to slippery slope we worked on and we turn on turned
a thousand signatures in did rallies at center he finally came up with its jr
one one one my question is with all these moving
parts a lot of which i’ve learned for the first time to pay we’ve met with our
new congressmen g_a_t_t_ two weeks ago cheese on board with this we’re meeting with them we want to push
them and now i’m not sure how to articulate what articulate this is very
easy week everyone in this room commuter cause their their rapid you just make an
appointment and you get in there and you start uh… asking for results and we’ve done
it so we want to know locate there’s always moving parts how do we get this
going when we ask for baggett when we asked
for well i think i agree with that check on
i think you should be repeating interstate routes and i think it would
be saying to stay crabs let’s begin the composition of what we take to get california passed a propos call from a
constitutional article five to mention i think you know you can do all that but that’s
one thing we could do that if in fact that happen that would be a bombshell and in terms of meeting with your
congresswoman uh… i think you can say uh… we want you to be prepared to co-sponsor
the uh… american any corruption act when it’s introduced in the meantime we’d really like you to
call the white house and say hi i’m a new member of congress and why in the
world haven’t you done something about the
f_e_c_ so we think becca and when we didn’t win
but i think that about one important port about his act you can go to the website right now and
you can be a comical sponsor of the strategy the act is they want want there
will be one million citizen co-sponsors before that will be taken back to
washington since the quintessential example of the outsiders strategy for so
we need a million co-sponsors before were allowed to go into the inside so
you can begin to spread that co-sponsoring of paper petition over there and for my
final notice local winnie when you go talk to your
state people about a convention uh… it’s no longer pretty please it’s
it’s actual action see if they call for convention at the
state level convention happens it is not theoretical it is not maybe is not
awareness it’s were coming for you we need change and we’re gonna get
change and we could do it stayed prices our faqs excellent health uh… today
and thank you for


  • TheRhinehart86

    THESE are the people we should be listening to, not those fucking '3rd Way' libertarian idiots. The Cato Institute, the biggest libertarian think tank in the world, has David Koch the Robber Baron King himself as a board member, the people presenting themselves as the alternative to the Dems and Reps are the same people who corrupted them to begin with!!! This patriotism based '3rd Way' crap is the exact same bullshit that swept Europe in the 20s during the Great Depression. Shit is going down.

  • NY OneLove

    This would change American politics. Many work for congress for the money they get during and afterwards. It would be great if that was no longer the case and those who worked for congress worked for the people instead for their personal profit.

  • Indigenous Poncho

    loool did anyone else notice how fuckin weird and awkward Cenk looks when its not his turn to talk? lool I love the man but he looks booored as fuck, either that or just lost.

  • grmpf

    No. He had notes for that question and even that didn't help him in getting his question to the point. Instead, he talks in creepy monotone for 2 minutes and 10 seconds without explaining at all what he's getting at and then gets aggressive when Cenk eventually interrupts for the second time when he thinks the actual question may have finally been asked.

  • grmpf

    What you said barely intersects with the subject my point was about. How could you possibly get a claim about him not having any good points out of my comment?
    All I said was that the way he presented his points did not make whatever question he was trying to ask anticipatable and therefore his aggression in the end was quite unwarranted, came across as very bizarre, and cannot be explained by "just shows his passion" like the person I replied to was trying to do.

  • AsthmaticTurtle

    Lol at that guy at the end. I think we've all dealt with that kind of person throughout high school/college. At least he was making good points but definitely needed to learn to limit his "questioning"

  • goldktgal

    Thank you so much for putting this conference up in its entirety. I learned a lot and can't wait to see the action as it happens.

  • T3MPL3GU4RD14N

    Couldn't they just pay some popular celebrity to make the donations in their stead to sway the public? How would you be able to discern where the contribution originated?

  • Gundam Serpent

    Christian Conservative Republicans = Political Terrorists
    Look at what they have done they destroying every law and regulations they can that is not in favor of their religion.
    What happen to "Separation of State and Church" seems like they found a loophole.

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