Over the past two months we have spent countless hours discussing our best path forward with the new Clean Slate Now board. We now have some exciting news to share about our organization's future.
Clean Slate Now recently received a $50,000 contribution from the Harold and Marion Gordon Foundation to help expand our capacity to educate voters about the need for fixing the campaign funding system in America. Harold and Marion Gordon were the parents of our founder, former Senator Ken Gordon. In the wake of Senator Gordon's passing, his son, Benjamin, helped us secure this donation from their family foundation to ensure his father's legacy.
Moving forward, Clean Slate Now will focus on continuing the work Ken Gordon championed in his lifetime, in a way that reflects your feedback over the past year. We will emphasize:
1) Educating voters on the importance of candidates relying on campaign contributions from regular people, not special interest groups, and informing them about proposed solutions being discussed throughout the country;
2) Educating candidates and other political insiders on the importance of foregoing special interest money, and instead relying on their constituents for funding their campaigns; and
3) Connecting voters who care about the issue of eliminating corrupting forms of campaign contributions with candidates who exhibit leadership on the issue, especially those candidates who swear off special interest group contributions from political action committees (PACs) and other similar sources.
Our overarching aim is to raise the profile of both the problem and its solutions and to restore the intended checks and balances of our political system. We recognize that our goals will not be met in just one election cycle and cannot be achieved without the support of millions of Americans, but we know that this approach can have an immediate and important impact on our political system.
We expect most of our funding to come from regular people who read our emails, follow us on social media, and act on our goals within their community. We are not yet asking for donations. Before we ask, we want to show you the kinds of research and messaging we will want you to help fund.
We have also set up a wing of Clean Slate Now that can accept tax-deductible donations, so your contributions may help bring down your tax bill. Those funds will need to be dedicated to voter education purposes, and will not be used on our advocacy efforts related to candidates.
As always, your feedback, support, and involvement will be vital.
Over the coming weeks, we will ask for your help in spreading the word about our latest reports and events and recruiting new followers to our email list and Facebook and Twitter sites.
Over the coming months, we will also need your collective financial support and volunteer time, as well as your continued feedback.
With your help, and the help of tens of thousands of new followers we plan to recruit over the course of this year, Clean Slate Now can have an important and immediate impact on the problems plaguing our political system.
For Immediate Release:
February 9th, 2015
CleanSlateNow Endorses The Government By the People Act
Bipartisan Bill Would Empower Small Donors and Engage Voters
Denver, CO – CleanSlateNow marked a new phase of advocacy against the corrupting influence of big money in politics by formally endorsing The Government By the People Act (H.R. 20), currently under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives. CleanSlateNow joins over 50 other organizations and a half million citizen co-sponsors from across the country in support of this game-changing legislation that establishes a voluntary, competitive campaign financing system that puts everyday Americans back in charge, helps restore our democracy, and levels the playing field in Congressional elections.
The bill was introduced by Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) on January 21st, the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, with 137 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. Three members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation are co-sponsors, including Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter, and Jared Polis.
“Whether it’s creating good jobs, education, health care or the environment, wealthy campaign donors and well-connected Washington insiders are blocking progress on the issues that everyday citizens care most about,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “We need to break Congress’ reliance on big-money donors so we can return to a government by the people, and I’m proud to have CleanStateNow’s support in advancing solutions to big-money politics, like H.R. 20, the Government By the People Act.”
The Government By the People Act offers an antidote to the cynicism everyday voters feel about our election process and the growing sense that politicians are bought and paid for by big money and special interest groups that are drowning out the voice of regular Americans. The bill proposes a three-pronged approach to provide citizens the tools they need to support competitive campaigns and to liberate candidates and elected officials from the pursuit of big-moneyed interests:
- Empowering everyday Americans to participate in campaign giving by offering a refundable My Voice tax credit to help spur small-dollar contributions.
- Establishing a Freedom from Influence Fund that multiplies the impact of small-dollar donators and amplifies their voice. Donations of $150 or less will be matched from the fund, enabling small dollar donors to surpass $1,000 donors with 6-1 matching funds turning the $150 donation into a $1,050 contribution. To qualify, candidates must:
- Set a contribution maximum of $1,000,
- Raise at least $50,000 in donations of $150 or less from at least 1,000 in-state donors.
- Fighting back against big money special interests and protecting against a flood of last-minute Super PAC money and outside interests by giving a 50% increase in further matching funds (a 9-to-1 match) to candidates who can meet additional fundraising thresholds in the final 60 days of the campaign, ensuring citizen-backed candidates have staying power.
Candidates holding themselves to even higher standards can ultimately get 9-to-1 matching funds during the initial matching period and 13-to-1 matching funds in the final two months of the campaign, potentially turning a $150 contribution into a $2,100 contribution.
“We’re proud to add our name to a growing list of organizations endorsing The Government By the People Act,” said Mark Mehringer, Exeuctive Dirctor of CleanSlateNow. “Citizens across the country and across the political spectrum have expressed overwhelming approval for the idea of getting big money out of politics, and The Government By the People Act offers everyday Americans the tools to ensure their voices are heard. It’s time for our elected leaders to take a cue from their constituents and demonstrate their support for prioritizing the public interest, turning their focus to people, not money.”
CleanSlateNow is the Colorado-based nonprofit founded by the late State Senator Ken Gordon to focus on educating, engaging, and empowering citizens to restore our democracy by getting the corrupting influence of special interest money out of politics. CleanSlateNow has a unique mission of advocating for candidates for office to turn down special interest money, and The Government By the People Act offers a solution that ensures those candidates who put the public interest above the special interests can be competitive and help change the face of our democracy.
Publicly funded campaigns have already been enacted around the country, and the change in democratizing the makeup of legislative bodies is clear to see. New York City saw 49 of 51 winning municipal candidates opt for public financing of their campaigns last November, and Montgomery County, Maryland just approved publically financed campaigns on the ballot in 2014. The state of Connecticut enacted publicly financed campaigns in 2008, and the state legislature has since become much more diverse, with more people of color, more young people, more women – a 29% increase since publicly funded campaigns arrived – and more young women taking office.
Colorado is a natural center to build momentum in support of publicly financed campaigns. Coloradans approved Amendment 65 in 2012 with 71% of the vote, calling for a U.S. Constitutional amendment to limit campaign contributions and spending in the wake of Citizens United.
Other organizational sponsors of the legislation represent a diverse range of perspectives. Among those supporting the bill are Common Cause, The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Communications Workers of America (CWA), Democracy for America, Food and Water Watch, Greenpeace, League of Conservation Voters, MoveOn, NAACP, National Education Association, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and The Sierra Club.
For more information about H.R. 20, The Government By the People Act, visit www.ofby.us.
Media Contact: Mark Mehringer, Executive Director, CleanSlateNow
(720) 840-8492; firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch the debate for Governor of Maine held October 8, 2014 at 7:45am, which includes independent candidate Eliot Cutler, who is not taking PAC money.
Watch the debate held October 7, 2014 between Ro Khanna and Mike Honda in the race for Congress in CA CD-17.
Watch the debate between Andrew Romanoff and Mike Coffman from October 6, 2014.