Defend Our Democracy

Free Speech For People works to defend our democracy and our United States Constitution to ensure all people have an equal voice and an equal vote.

The Problem

On January 21, 2010, the US Supreme Court, in Citizens United v. FEC, overturned longstanding precedent barring corporate spending in our elections. The ruling presents a serious and direct threat to our democracy, unleashing a torrent of corporate money in our political process unmatched by any campaign spending totals in our history. Further, the ruling exacerbates the inequality of our current campaign finance system in which big money forces are allowed to dominate the political process and effectively drown out the voices of ordinary citizens. In addition, the ruling also granted corporations the same constitutional rights as people. Corporations have exploited this ruling with increasing aggressiveness and have used the newly-minted corporate rights doctrine to strike down federal and state laws concerning clean and fair elections, environmental protection, health care, gun control, net neutrality, immigration reform, and much more.

In addition, following the 2016 presidential election our nation has experienced an unparalleled threat to our fundamental democratic principles, due to corruption at the highest levels of government and a disregard for the Constitution which pervades the current administration. This lawlessness includes profiting from the presidency at the public’s expense, due to the President’s failure to divest from his business interests, violations of the Federal Campaign Finance Act, resulting from payments made to media outlets to stifle stories which may have negatively impacted the 2016 election, and egregious abuses of power, as evidenced in the pardoning of individuals for political gain and to undermine the judicial system.

The Solution

Free Speech For People has emerged over the past eight years as a recognized leader of the movement to challenge big money in politics and unchecked corporate power, and to defend our democracy. We achieve this mission through the following key initiatives.

Our lawsuit to abolish super PACs: We filed, in November 2016, a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission challenging the Speechnow ruling – a decision which has led to the explosion of super PAC spending in elections. This case will offer the courts, including the Supreme Court, the opportunity abolish super PACs.

Our law to end super PACs and foreign corporate money in elections: In July 2016, Free Speech For People launched a campaign in St. Petersburg, Florida, to pass a model law abolishing super PAC spending and foreign corporate money in local elections. In October 2017, the St. Petersburg City Council voted to enact this ordinance, the first of its kind in the country. We are working to introduce similar legislation in cities and states across the country.

Our initiatives to confront the corruption of the presidency: In January 2017, we launched a program to challenge the unprecedented corruption of the presidency. This includes calling for an impeachment investigation of President Trump based on nine legal grounds; a legal challenge to the pardon of former AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio; a complaint before the Federal Election Commission regarding potential violations of federal campaign finance law by the Russian Government and the Trump Campaign in the 2016 election; and more.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

Funds will be contributed to Free Speech For People, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization working to renew our democracy and our United States Constitution for we the people, not big money and corporate interests. Through our innovative legal advocacy work advancing a new body of law on money in politics, through our leadership work pressing for a 28th Amendment to overturn Citizens United, and through our campaigns to challenge corruption at the highest levels of government, Free Speech For People serves at the forefront of the movement to reclaim our democracy and fulfill the promise of political equality for all.

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