By: David Donnelly, President and CEO
Over a decade ago, I joined Public Campaign Action Fund, a 501(c4) organization created in partnership with Public Campaign. Our goal then, as it is now, was to build political power on money in politics issues.
We helped drive corrupt former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay from office and highlighted Sen. John McCain's ties to lobbyists as he ran away from his reform past during his presidential run. We elected reform champions in Congress and to the New York Senate and we regularly highlight the favors politicians—Democrats and Republicans—do on behalf of their big campaign donors.
With our democracy awash in big money, we see our work—and our belief that we can transform this system into one that empowers everyday people in the political process—as more important than ever.
And we're not the only ones. There's more activism and more interest in addressing the issue than at any time we can recall. To meet this growing interest and demand for concrete progress on money in politics reform, we are increasing our capacity significantly. Our growth positions us to both win near-term campaigns and lay the groundwork for future wins.
We know our name must be one that reflects our mission. That's why from today forward we'll be known as Every Voice, a name that conveys why we're in this fight and why people should care. It's the right fit.
Americans know our democracy fails to live up to its promise when our political influence is measured by our net worth. Changing this game won't be easy. The courts have allowed more big money in politics and rolled back protections for voters. Too many politicians offer lip service on the issue of money in politics while some even support handing our elections entirely over to big donors. The big banks, energy companies, and other industries and special interests act as if they own Washington, D.C. and our state capitals.
This is the next American crisis to boil over. This is our Goliath to slay. It will be challenging but we've confronted and won big fights like this before.
The peoples' voices are the bedrock of democracy. We must have confidence in our own ability to make the political system work for all. We understand that the only way to pass laws to transform the flow of money into politics is by rolling up our sleeves and getting in the game. Every Voice believes that money in politics reform is possible when we've built the political power necessary to overcome public cynicism, the self-interest of lawmakers elected under the current rules, and a well-financed and entrenched opposition.
To do so, we must overwhelmingly win the public debate on money in politics solutions that lift up every voice – convincing a cynical public that yes, every voice matters. We must activate and join millions of Americans to win campaigns in the near term that lay the foundation for larger victories down the road. And, importantly, we need to elect champions of reform and defeat its opponents. We fully embrace the irony of spending money in elections to help reform money in politics.
Here's how we're going to win: We are expanding our state policy work, online engagement, and electoral campaigns. Working with both national and state partners, we're conducting a 50-state landscape analysis to identify where we will build multiple state campaigns in the next several years. We're growing our online activist base and developing a larger social media footprint to push out more content. Our electoral work is expanding and we are matching it to opportunities to accelerate campaigns to win comprehensive reform at both the state and federal level.
Every Voice is focused on winning campaigns and winning policies that bring people into politics despite and over the objections of the privileged few. Together, we will write the next American chapter.
Over the next month, we'll be transitioning to our new name and logo, complete with a new website soon. Stay tuned.