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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 12, 2012
5:52 PM

CONTACT: Public Citizen

Jonah Minkoff-Zern c: (510)225-8491

Public Citizen’s ‘Democracy in Motion’ New York Tour Calls for ‘Money Out, Voters In!’

Organizers to Visit Six Cities, Joining Local Leaders to Build Support for Fair Elections Act and Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

WASHINGTON - November 12 - WHAT:  In the wake of the most expensive election cycle in history, Public Citizen’s “Democracy in Motion” tour will be visiting New York to mobilize support for two measures designed to strengthen democracy: the state Fair Elections Act (A.09885/S.7036) and a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling. The six-city tour includes stops in Albany, Syracuse, Fairport, Buffalo, Ithaca and New York City. Speakers will urge local activists to organize events around the third anniversary of Citizens United in January and support the passage of the Fair Elections Act, which may come to a vote as soon as late November.
 
Citizens United allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections. As a result, corporations and wealthy individuals funneled huge sums of money to super PACs, trade associations and other groups – many which hide the identities of their donors – to buy ads in this year’s elections. In the wake of Citizens United, more than $1.1 billion was spent by outside groups in the 2012 federal elections. More than $100,000,000 was spent by investment banks, insurance companies, financial institutions and other big industries to influence the outcomes of New York’s elections, largely through negative attack ads.

In the short term, the Fair Elections Act would mitigate the damage of the Citizens United ruling by allowing candidates to choose a public financing option, similar to one being used in New York City. Such measures provide public matching for small individual contributions, allowing publicly supported candidates to compete with campaigns paid for by corporate contributions. To address the issue of corporate money in elections forthe long term, a nationwide movement is growing for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, take democracy off the auction block and preserve constitutional rights for people – not corporations.

Dates and location of tour stops

Albany

WHEN:  6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13

WHERE:  1st Lutheran Church
181 Western Ave.
 Albany, N.Y.

WHO: Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign
Ashley Somers, activist, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign
Charlie Albanetti, communications director, Citizen Action

Syracuse

WHEN:  12-1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14

WHERE:  Syracuse University
Jabberwocky Cafe, Schine Student Center
Syracuse, N.Y.

WHO:  Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer, Pulic Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign
Ashley Somers, activist, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign Joan Mandle, executive director, Democracy Matters
Rosemary Rivera, organizing director, Citizen Action

Fairport

WHEN:  3:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14

WHERE:  Perinton Community Center
1350 Turk Hill Rd., Fairport

WHO: Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign
Ashley Somers, activist, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign Paula Hansen, president, Metro Justice.

Buffalo

WHEN:  7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14

WHERE:  Burning Books
420 Connecticut Street
Buffalo, N.Y.

WHO: Betty Jean Grant, County legislator and former state Senate candidate
Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign
Ashley Somers, activist, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign
 
Ithaca

WHEN:  Thursday, November 15, 1 – 2 p.m.

WHERE:  Cornell University
226 Weill Hall
Ithaca, N.Y.

WHO:  Steven H. Shiffrin, Law Professor
Professor Kate L Bronfenbrenner, Director of Labor Education Research
Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign
Ashley Somers, activist, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign

NYC

WHEN:  7-9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15

WHERE:  NYU School of Law, Vanderbilt Hall 210
 New York City, N.Y.

WHO:  Mark Green, author, former Public Advocate for NYC and Democratic nominee for mayor 2001
Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign
Jesse Laymon, campaign manager, Citizen Action
This event is co-sponsored by NYU School of Law’s American Constitution Society

For more information about the constitutional amendment campaign, please visit Democracy is for People www.DemocracyIsForPeople.org.

For information about the tour, please visit http://www.citizen.org/democracy-in-motion-new-york.

Recent Public Citizen reports on government reform and campaign finance:

U.S. Chamber of Commerce is No. 1 spender in many congressional races across the country: http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/pressroomredirect.cfm?ID=3749.

Study finds a majority of super PACs are devoted to just one candidate: http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/pressroomredirect.cfm?ID=3747.

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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.


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