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DENVER - A citizens campaign submitted 182,113 signatures of Colorado voters to elections officials today calling for an end to big money in politics. When certified for the ballot, the measure will give voters the opportunity this fall to explicitly instruct their members of Congress to support a constitutional amendment that would authorize limits on campaign contributions and spending that promote a level playing field and reverse recent Supreme Court rulings.
“It’s time that we restore a government of, by and for the people, not of, by, and for the corporations,” noted Elena Nunez of Colorado Common Cause which drafted the initiative as part of its Amend 2012 campaign.
The 182,113 signatures were collected through face to face interactions, with the majority coming from Colorado Fair Share campaign staff in public places and street corners in cities from Grand Junction to Denver, Fort Collins to Pueblo. The campaign collected 85,000 more signatures than required to qualify the initiative for the ballot.
This Colorado initiative comes on the heels of a similar ballot measure in Montana, which has drawn support from the state’s Democratic Governor and Republican Lt. Governor in the wake of the Supreme Court striking down a law that had banned corporate contributions in Montana elections for the last 100 years.
“Unlimited corporate money in elections has only recently flooded American politics, but this initiative is part of a long history of citizens making their voices heard,” said Maureen Kirk, President of Colorado Fair Share. “We spoke face to face with hundreds of thousands of Coloradans all across the state. These signatures represent their will to put our democracy back into the hands of citizens.”
According to the new report Million-Dollar Megaphones by the CoPIRG Foundation and Demos, of the $230 million raised by Super PACs from individuals in the first two quarters of the 2012 election cycle, more than half (57.1%) came from just 47 people giving at least $1 million. Just over 1,000 donors giving $10,000 or more were responsible for 94% of this fundraising.
“Unlimited, corporate, and secret money continues to undermine the principle of ‘one person, one vote,’” said Danny Katz of CoPIRG, the other lead proponent of the signature collection effort. “This will give voters a chance to push back against the misguided rulings of the Supreme Court that equate unlimited campaign spending with free speech.”
“Nothing can be clearer, a system of politics that relies on private money will favor the interests of that private money,” said Ken Gordon of CleanSlateNow.org. “Only the people, using the power of their vote, can provide a counterbalance to the power of money. This initiative is a way to make clear to elected officials that the voters will hold them to account for their actions. The voters are watching.”
Supporters of the effort include Colorado Common Cause, Colorado Fair Share, CoPIRG (Colorado Public Interest Research Group), Free Speech for People, Colorado Progressive Coalition, CleanSlateNow.org, Colorado 350.org, People for the American Way, Public Citizen, Communications Workers of America, and the Colorado Center on Law and Policy
More information, including the complete text of the measure is available at http://coloradoamend2012.org/
To learn more about Amendment 65, visit www.ColoradoAmend2012.org
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