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Philadelphia Organizations, Citizens, and Elected Officials Hold Press Conference and Rally to Overturn Citizens United
PHILADELPHIA – Today at noon, a coalition of more than 20 organizations, elected officials, faith groups, and citizens gathered at a press conference and rally at LOVE Park to mark the third anniversary of the Citizens United court decision and call for the reversal of a big money system that favors powerful special interests over the public interest.
Angela Lee, PennPIRG advocate addresses the crowd.
Supporters waiting to speak include, from left to right: Philadelphia Coucnilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, former State Representative Babette Josephs, State Representative Mark Cohen, and former Green Party Vice President Nominee, Cheri Honkala.
“The first post-Citizens United presidential election confirmed our fears that the new unlimited-money regime allows well-heeled special interests and secret spenders to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens,” commented Angela Lee, state advocate for PennPIRG. "Big Money over Voters, or Voters over Big Money. The Kochs and Roves have made their choice, and they're in it for the long-term. Now We, the People are rising up to announce our choice: Money Out, Voters In." said Rob Weissman, President of Public Citizen.
PennPIRG released a new report, Billion-Dollar Democracy, that analyzes Federal Elections Commission data to quantify how political power is concentrated in the hands of a wealthy few: “It took just 32 mega-donors giving to super PACs to match every single dollar small donors gave to both Romney and Obama combined,” Lee announced. The full report can be found here: (http://pennpirg.org/reports/pap/billion-dollar-democracy).
Protesters in Philadelphia are part of a nationwide day of action called “Money Out, Voters In” taking place on and around the weekend of Jan. 19. Activists in over 70 towns and cities are rallying to demand lawmakers pass measures that limit the corrosive influence of money in politics and expand democratic participation at the polls.
“Citizens United is perpetuating a trend that puts the interests of ordinary Americans behind the interests of the super wealthy and powerful,” said State Representative Mark Cohen. “Big money in the form of super PACs affords the corporate and financially elite inordinate influence on the political process which usually results in inordinate influence on public policy.”
Speaking today were representatives from PennPIRG, Public Citizen, Philadelphia Rootstrikers, Common Cause, Sierra Club, the Philadelphia Ethical Humanist Society, Jobs with Justice, Brandywine Peace Community, MoveOn, WolfPAC, Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, Decarcerate PA, and Peace Action. Also speaking were Reverend Micah Sims from the Empowerment Foundation, Rabbi Arthur Waskow from the Shalom Center, and Crown Prince Emperor El Bey Bigbay Pamunkey from the Powhatan renape Nation Indian Reservation. Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, State Representative Cherelle Parker, State Representative Mark Cohen, and former State Representative Babette Josephs also spoke at the event.
PennPIRG is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest advocacy organization that stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of Pennsylvanians.
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