Sunday Afternoon Occupy Public Policy – Getting Money Out of Politics Meeting Notes 10/23/11

Occupy Seattle
Issue Meeting: Get the Money Out of Politics
10/23/2011 5pm – 630pm

Notes on concerns and comments of attendees. I apologize for any misrepresentations or mispellings of names etc, due to note taking errors during our discussion.

Organizer: Chris

Number of attendees: about 25

Intro: Chris took a stack list of those wishing to present ideas or concerns to the assembled group about getting the money out of politics. The speaker comments are summarized here:

Pearl: concerned about high price of access to our representatives – such as 5000/plate dinners and the like. (general discussion ensued of general agreement and concern about how to fixthis)

Sam: following up on Pearl’s comments, indicated that even though current system isn’t exactly quid per quo (money for legislation) yet – at best now there is a perception of corruption of our representatives due to the vast amounts of money needed for campaigns. Something like 20-70% of representative time is spent raising campaign funds. Very concerned about need for clear, full and detailed transparency on who specifically is funding all media material for campaigns.

Jonathan: Agrees on need for full disclosure on who is funding political ads. Wants end or reversal of Citizen’s United ruling by SCoTUS. Wants to eliminate creation of corporations that are too big to fail. Wants to separate insurance and banking industries/services. Shared the fact that Nov 5 is a ‘Move Your Money Day’

Kee: Not interested in a specific plans of action, more interested in coming up with demands/goals such as full disclosure of campaign/ad funding, and overturn of citizens united.

Val: concerned about power of supreme court of the united states (SCOTUS). Wants term limits, campaign finance reforms and overturn of citizens united. Thinks we need new political party or affinity group that can truly represent us, we need to think about big changes to the system in order effect real change in the country.

Abraham: very interested in creating a state or nationally owned bank, such as they have in North Dakota.

Also wants to offer idea that we are all to blame for the problems in our political system, we need to educate ourselves and take action to regain our democracy and address our true needs. Wants to remind us to think globally when it comes to corporate influence in government – this is a world-wide problem.

Kim: intereseted in ideas of Lawrence Lessig – specifically related to getting money out of politics. Wants all private money out of politics. Believes that the constitution allows for citizens to call for a constitutional convention to propose an amendment which addresses the problem of private money in politics. Believes that we can work on this from the ground up – do not need to convince our current representatives. Believes that we can constrain this convention call in such a way that will allow new representatives, so that we avoid the current corrupted system of representatives.

Breanne: Believes no private money should be required for campaigns. Frustrated with current system, and negative political ads etc, believes that it is one of the main reasons that there is low voter turn out for elections. Wants to have campaigns or elections focus on issues and what
decisions a candidate would make, rather than personal information on candidates.

John: Wants to eliminate legal concept of corporate personhood. Wants to nationalize FIRE (finance , insurance, real estate industries). Would like to require all users of public airwaves to donate airtime for campaigns. Wants to reform the stock and bond markets. Wants publically financed campaigns. Wants to eliminate no-bid government contracts.

Steve: Wants to overturn citizens united decision. Shared fact that 3/4 or more of US citizens nationally felt this was a bad decision. Interested in AZ and other state public matching election funding laws (recently struck down as unconstitutional by SCOTUS). Also interested in state banks. There is a upcoming presentation on the state bank concept

This Wed 10/26/11 7:00pm at Kane Hall on UW campus

Dorothy: Just came from training session on how to decrease corporate influence. Wants to share information about national action on this subject. for January 21 2012. House parties are
being organized for planning actions, especially Nov 9, when guest speaker will be Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Andrew: Concerned about citizens united decision. Shared example of funding to candidates on
school board election in North Carolina that resulted in election of board members who want to re-segregate schools (end busing etc.). We all need to educate ourselves and not be shy about sharing what we find out about local candidates and their funding sources. Wants to get the money out of politics. Interested in what role congress can play in regulating the actions of the supreme court.

Ann: Shared desire to make local public radio less focused on amount of money candidates are raising and more on the issues, and what candidates stand for. Suggests we should contact our local stations and ask them to change their focus.

Craig: Want to remind folks that end result of our efforts will likely be new or reformed laaws. Need to garner support and help from people, media. Would like to see us engage in actions that make our anger and frustration more visible to the populace. Offers example of ‘Target: Seattle’ action in fight against nuclear arms race. Got media interested in covering because of visual impact of expressed dangers. Would like to see a week long event in seattle focused on corporate influence , mock trial or mock constitutional convention that helped educate citizens
and gain media coverage. Craig is involved with Wash Public Campaigns

Jim: Concerned about Citizens UNited decision. If can’t get overturned, then wants to make corporations responsible for all actions as persons, not just get rights of personhood. Wants to see corporations held accountable for actions hurting people and communities.

Tom: Brought up idea that we can affect corporations and possibly make them accountable by
using heir weak point of neding a state charter to operate in each state. Might be able to revoke their charter if they do not address issues that we have.

All: agreed to start working group, and meet Sundays at 3pm until further notice.

PS: Thanks for taking notes, Kim :)