The New York Times just reported that "President Obama Could Unmask Big Political Donors."1 As the report explains, the president has a real opportunity to make progress on the fight to get money out of politics—and it doesn't require anything from Congress.
But to make it happen, we need to show the president how important this issue is to all of us.
The action we need is an executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose their political spending. If they are going to take taxpayer dollars and then pour corporate cash into candidate campaigns and shadowy organizations, we deserve to know.
With a stroke of his pen, President Obama could strike a blow against the destructive impact of Citizens United.
This is so important that we're joining a campaign led by Public Citizen to reach 500,000 signatures by April 2, which will be a national day of action on money and politics. Together, MoveOn, Democracy for America, Daily Kos, CREDO, and other allies can hit this goal. You can help by signing onto Public Citizen's petition, addressed to the president, which says:
How significant could this change be? Significant enough that it's attracting powerful enemies. The chief lobbyist of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—which represents some of the country's biggest corporations—vowed that, in regards to this executive order, "We will fight it through any means necessary."2
If it's scaring them, that's because it's meant to. Requiring disclosure would put corporations on notice. Their contributions to right-wing think tanks and grassroots groups would no longer be hidden from the public. And who knows what we might find out in terms of the pay-to-play politics of government contracts?
But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce isn't going to make this easy, and President Obama is feeling pressure to continue with business as usual. That's why he needs to hear from us. "Business as usual" is unacceptable. Our system is broken. And if the president can take some measures to reduce the power of corporations, increase transparency, and tackle money in politics head-on, then he has a responsibility to do so.
The time is now—and our allies are planning a massive signature delivery to the White House, a signal that Americans are ready for action.
–Jo, Justin K., Josh, Erica, and the rest of the team
1. "President Obama Could Unmask Big Political Donors," The New York Times, March 23, 2015
2. "Dark Money Casts a Sinister Shadow Across the Land," The Huffington Post, March 2, 2015
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