Who created Fix Our America?
Fix Our America was founded by specialists in media, advertising and entertainment; business people, lawyers and civic activists who donate time and money out of the belief that the American election system must be repaired in order to reverse America's decline and fulfill its remarkable upside potential. Among our founders are:
Media business consultant and life coach; founder of the newspaper LA Weekly.
- Jerry Manpearl -- Corporate attorney.
Energy and Environmental policy advisor; founder of Renewables 100 Policy Institute.
Businessman; Commissioner, Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System.
Writer-producer; investor; part-owner of the Saint Louis Rams.
Executive Director, Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law.
- Jamie Wolf -- Writer and philanthropist.
We share the belief that both political parties must be liberated from the influence of campaign contributions in order to devote themselves to the public interest. Fix Our America was founded to rally Americans to demand a constitutional amendment that replaces money-bought politics with publicly-financed elections.
Our Advisory Board:
- Jeffrey Glover - Entertainment Attorney
- Rabbi Michael Lerner - Founder, Tikkun Magazine
- Paul McIssac - Theater Director and Filmmaker
- Stan Salett - Founder of Upward Bound and of Parent Smart
- James S. Turner - DC-based Attorney who represents consumer groups and businesses on regulatory matters
- Phil Wolfson, MD - Psychiatrist and author
- Roger Wolfson - Screenwriter and Producer; former aide to Sen. Joseph Lieberman
What differentiates us?
There are numerous clean election and campaign finance reform groups and money-out-of politics efforts. Here’s how Fix Our America sees our role in the larger movement for reform:
Fix Our America...
- --Focuses on outreach to people of all voting ages, ethnic groups, party affiliation and economic status, especially those who aren’t usually active in political causes.
- --Provides an easy means for people – in person and online – to recruit a friend, relative or colleague to the cooperative cause.
- --Ferociously will use mass multi-media advertising, public relations and social media to brand the issue as America’s most crucial challenge, doing so with niche messages targeted specifically to various population segments.
- --Mobilizes a mass citizen base of folks who will notify their lawmakers once a month that campaign financing corruption is the Number One issue to them.
Fix Our America is a single-issue organization working in cooperation with many other campaign finance reform organizations. Unlike several other groups, we are created as a non-partisan political education organization (a C4) and not as a political PAC (C5).
Fix Our America does not organize local, state or national direct lobbying or action events nor petition drives, leaving these actions to other organizations. Our focus is solely on an advertising campaign to inspire the formation of a massive citizen movement that will result in ads and emails that our lawmakers cannot ignore.
Among the campaign finance reform organizations with which we have agreed to coordinate efforts are Common Cause, United Republic, Move to Amend, Rootstrikers and WolfPac. We are also in discussion with several others. Alongside buying airtime and space ourselves, Fix Our America ads and commercials will be offered to any organization that desires to buy airtime or space and brand the ads with its names and logos.
Our Ad Campaign and Advertising Agency
Working with our advertising agency, Snowball Media, which is donating creative services, we seek initially to “brand” the Constitutional issue with a series of commercials intended to educate Americans about how much time their lawmakers spend raising money and what they do for it; also, how they rise to leadership positions by being the best fundraisers, not the best lawmakers.
Specifically on display in our ads and public relations will be the many core American policies that have been solely determined by those who donate the most money to campaigns – relying on a campaign industry that enriches media owners and consultants while depriving Americans of policies based on public good.
In a second phase, we will seek to target specific election districts with advertising demonstrating the way money has influenced a particular lawmaker who refuses to support the essential money-out-of-politics amendments. Viewers will be asked to notify these specific lawmakers that they want Constitutional change. These ads will be targeted at all lawmakers regardless of political party.
Elements of the ad campaign will be targeted to specific demographic niches and backed by social-media outreach. The campaign will focus on adult Americans of all political orientation, voting ages, economic status and life styles, showing how the issue is relevant to all Americans.
Our Sign-Up Campaign
We know you are busy and perhaps not very interested in politics. So we keep it simple for you to participate as an Amender and gain the great satisfaction from knowing you have helped change our country by assisting with our mass sign-up and advertising campaign.
People in politics are too terrified—and rightly so—to withdraw unilaterally from the campaign finance system. Hence no elected official can afford ever to vote to bring about truly effective campaign funding reform.
It needs to be imposed on them by the will of the people - and in the end, most would welcome having it imposed.
Our efforts are not unlike an intervention for an addict, because the reliance on raising campaign finances night and day is an addiction.
The only powerful way to conduct such an intervention is via a massive advertising and public relations campaign – exposing the extent of the corrupting influence of money on our democracy and on various specific policy issues, while illuminating the incredible waste of time and expense spent raising money.
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Traditional campaign finance reform has stressed the evil of money from “the special interests” and the corporations - an issue raised into public glare by the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision allowing limitless election-oriented spending by big companies. Our emphasis embraces the unhealthiness of the ceaseless search for funds from all sources: corporate, labor, special interest, partisan, and yes, plain old grass roots. Thus we seek to end private funding in politics altogether. We also intend to educate a poorly informed public about the end-use of campaign funds which enrich television stations, ad agencies and political consultants who have little concern for factual content, smart solutions or clear thinking.
Why A Constitutional Amendment?
Our Position on Existing Amendments
In its Citizens United decision of 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled essentially that spending money for campaigns is equivalent to free speech and therefore Congress cannot regulate campaign spending in any fundamental manner. This ruling changed 200 years of precedents and effectively neutered Congress.
Several proposed Amendments already introduced in Congress seek to overturn the Citizens United decision, which now allows for unlimited and mostly untraceable campaign advertising and expenditures by corporations, labor unions and individuals, so long as such expenditures are made “independent of” the candidates. The proposed Amendments range from those that would explicitly overturn the concept of money as free speech to those that stipulate that Congress has specific authority to regulate campaign financing in a manner not barred by any other section of the Constitution. At least one other proposed Amendment would impose full public financing of campaigns and would outlaw all private funding except in collecting signatures to qualify for the ballot – and even this would be limited to $100 per person.
Fix Our America supports ALL these proposed Amendments as well as Congressional legislation that would re-impose rules that require a measure of free airtime on the public air waves for all candidates. We also support holding all elections over a two-day weekend. And Fix Our America strongly backs efforts by campaign reform organizations to consolidate proposed Amendments, so long as the final proposed Amendment bars private election financing and especially if it includes public financing.
Why bar private campaign financing altogether? The inherent corrosion of the system was apparent even before the Citizens United decision. Prime example: Wall St. and the big banks in the '90s "persuading" with their campaign dollars both political parties to remove the restrictions imposed on them in the 1930s in response to their financial recklessness, which had brought on the Great Depression. The entire country has reeled from the Great Recession that ensued once these institutions were again de-regulated and allowed to gamble with trillions, with the real risk backed by the U.S. government.
This is reason enough to amend the problem away. There is no other realistic way that the financial community can be brought back to play by sane rules, so that taxpayers aren't on line for its recklessness, as we still are now - and for trillions of dollars. Neither political party is going to change the fundamental rules dramatically (the Obama administration has made only tweaks) as long as both are so dependent on campaign contributions from this source.