Combating Special Interest Money With Citizen Money

January 29, 20180

On January 27, 2018, Bloomberg Politics ran a story stating that Charles and David Koch planned to spend $400 Million in the 2018 Midterm Election Cycle. Of course, this would be only the known funds not ushered through 501(c)4 organizations to influence elections. These 501(c)4 organizations that lose their donor information as they pass funds on to other 501(c)4 organizations and Super PACs.

The Koch brothers have a history of influencing elections in the interest of increasing their bank accounts, as well as the bank accounts of their fellow donors. It was their network that was instrumental in establishing The Heritage Foundation and Americans For Prosperity. At the state level, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), also funded by the Koch brothers, specifically works to influence legislation on the state level. When Citizen’s United was decided by the US Supreme Court in 2010, Charles and David Koch, through their ability to influence elections through limitless campaign contributions from dark money, have exponentially increased their wealth.

On January 20, 2018 at the Women’s March 2.0 Tri-Cities, Deborah McClaskey challenged the 2,500 people in attendance at Founders Park in Johnson City, TN to, “combat special interest money with citizen money.”

“Yes, talking about money and politics does not always bring a smile, but you have heard from outstanding candidates today!! Candidates who can bring our views to the decision table. We have to combat special interest money with citizen money. And that takes people like us.”

At the Women’s March 2.0 Tri-Cities, candidates from Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia spoke, exciting everyone about the possibilities of having a truly representative government where their needs and concerns were brought to the table and addressed.

Special interest money has infiltrated our electoral process, and not for the first time in American history. Dark money set up gerrymandered districts across the nation that are being challenged now. States like Wisconsin and North Carolina have pending cases right now. Voters were denied their voice on election day because gerrymandering prevented their vote from carrying equal weight.

We all remember the heartbreak felt on November 8, 2016. Deborah McClaskey shares that she felt on that day when she spoke at the Women’s March 2.0 Tri-Cities:

“I was devastated. Angry. I felt as if I had experienced a death of the idea that women were going to finally break through that awful glass ceiling to the White House.”

For us to all prevent the heartbreak we felt in November 2016, we need to do more than we’ve done previously to be successful. We are facing an army that isn’t checked or regulated by the Federal Election Commission. We are facing an amount of money that can never be counted because of all the back channels it’s passed through. These investors and their special interest dollars are what’s keeping us from building the communities we need and want.

Let’s take Deborah’s challenge and donate to candidates so that they can then run successful campaigns fueled by our voices and win on Election Day in 2018!

Kate Craig

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