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Sender: "Bruce Schuman"
Subject: Is corrupt money in politics the ONE issue that can unite Americans?
Date: Mon, Mar 24, 2014
Msg: 100851

From: List for transpartisan leaders and innovators [mailto:TRANSPARTISAN@LISTS.THATAWAY.ORG] On Behalf Of millershed@EARTHLINK.NET Sent: Friday, March 21, 2014 6:22 AM To: TRANSPARTISAN@LISTS.THATAWAY.ORG Subject: Re: [TRANSPARTISAN] Is corrupt money in politics the ONE issue that can unite Americans?

There's a slippery slope between viewing free speech as spending money on, for instance, campaign ads and actually controlling--though blanketing the media with your ads--the message that reaches the public. How many people really feel that campaign ads genuinely inform them in any kind of helpful way? Let's not get too alarmed at the thought of controlling free speech--there are always limits. (I remember when cigarette ads were pulled from the airwaves in my youth.) We're in a political death spiral fueled by money in many forms, as Steven rightly points out. I would think reasonable people across the spectrum could agree to reasonable rules, limits, and regulations on all the things that Steven lists. It seems like as good a place to start as any.

That said, I'm not sure but that transpartisanship might not better demonstrate its worth by tackling the seemingly intractable issues, such as gun rights or abortion--as some organizations have done and are doing. The thing I like about Evelyn's issue is that it may be one that has broad enough resonance across the spectrum to attract some attention and galvanize a movement.

Of course, the real difficulty may be getting transpartisans themselves to agree about anything! On the other hand, only when we own that we are (part of) the problem can we make systemic change. With gratitude for the conversation,


-----Original Message----- From: Steven Rubenstein Sent: Mar 21, 2014 12:25 AM To: TRANSPARTISAN@LISTS.THATAWAY.ORG Subject: Re: [TRANSPARTISAN] Is corrupt money in politics the ONE issue that can unite Americans?

No, this is not "the one issue" the community could unite behind -- because it is not just one issue.

You need to define which money you are talking about -- lobbyists, direct campaign contributions, party contributions, third party expenditures, etc.

The problem with suggesting money itself is the problem is that you take away people's right to free speech and to share their views. Yes, there may be too much money in politics. But who are you to say that I do not have the right to share my feelings on the best course of action for this country? If you take out money, then who is allowed to share their opinions and how?

While you may disagree with the Koch brothers, you would probably hate them less if the situation were reversed and Sierra Club had inordinately more money to spend influencing voters than the Koch brothers do. (For the record, I am a tree hugger.)

I think the bigger problem is not the money per se, but that it is too easy to hide who is actually spending it. That is something everyone could probably agree on.


Steven Rubenstein

On Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 12:24 PM, Evelyn Messinger wrote:

Briefly: my name is Evelyn Messinger. I am a television and web producer whose work focuses on bringing citizens into the policy-making process by leveraging their opinions via media - see our website below my signature.

If there is one issue that unites left and right in fundamental agreement on a problem and a solution, it is the corrupting influence of money in politics. The transpartisan movement could look at this issue as a case study and perhaps a way to seek practical avenues to engage the public.

This post is inspired by a new campaign from - which sponsors an "Anti-Corruption Act" among other things - to hold a nationwide march on April 15 to "turn tax day into representation day." This is the group most likely to have a real impact using a grass-roots approach, because they are dedicated and professional, as this video shows:

Liberals and conservatives emphasize different aspects of this problem, with conservatives focusing on the venal actions of politicians and liberals on the greedy demands of corporations, but there is surprising agreement on both sides, even among many elected leaders, that the rules of campaign finance should be changed. See this video we produced at both the Republican and Democratic 2012 Conventions on the topic: &list=PLC4B2F48B04494A6A (disclosure: we worked with Represent Us on this project).

You would think that this degree of support would lead to change, but there are two problems: extremely powerful vested interests in maintaining, and even expanding, the current system; and the fact that money in politics, a root cause of many concrete problems, is more abstract than the problems themselves (my mortgage is under water, my kid's college tuition is going through the roof, I pay for 3000 TV channels but spend most of my viewing time watching commercials.)

Is this the one issue that our transpartisan community could united behind?

Thanks and regards,

Evelyn -- Evelyn Messinger +1.415.377.6278


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