“We may have democracy, or we may have vast wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” - Justice Louis Brandeis
“The practice of democracy is not transferred through the gene pool. It must be taught and learned anew by each generation of citizens.” - Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
Eighty-three percent of Americans support the federal government's negotiating drug prices for Medicare. No bills have been advanced to make it so. Since 2003, drug companies have spent $1.6 billion lobbying Congress.
Clean Elections Minnesota is a non-profit, non-partisan group of Minnesotans concerned that the power of Big Money, Dark Money, and Corporate Money is overwhelming the public interest in local, state, and national elections--especially since the Supreme Court's disastrous decision in Citizens United. We're dedicated to educating ourselves and others about ways to maintain and enhance the democratic power of ordinary citizens to resist the rise of oligarchy locally and nationally--and we're committed to putting ideas into action. Although our main energies are devoted to education, we maintain a presence at the legislature when it's in session.
You can become a member of Clean Elections MN for only $25 annual dues. And please consider supporting our work with an extra contribution. We are a 501(c)(3), so both dues and contributions are tax-deductible. To pay on line, click the "Donate" button. To pay by mail, send a check payable to MnCCE (Minnesota Citizens for Clean Elections), to Treasurer Jim Herrick, 1780 Lake Street, Lauderdale, MN 55113. We thank you for your support!
"People vs. Politicians": a talk by Hedrick Smith
Hedrick Smith is coming to the Twin Cities for a week of events. Come to hear his talk, "People vs. Politicians," on April 28, 3 p.m., at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 4100 South Lyndale Avenue, Minneapolis. Co-sponors: Clean Elections Minnesota and American Promise. Click here to watch a video of Hedrick Smith being interviewed by Llewellyn King on his Sirius radio show.
On the Calendar
Next Clean Elections Bi-monthly Meeting, Saturday, April 20. The program will start at 1 p.m. in the meeting room of the Edina Public Library, 5280 Grandview Square in Edina. Patrick Rosenstiel will speak about the impact of the electoral college on our elections and what changes might be possible. Mr. Rosenstiel is the CEO of Ansley Shea, a Twin Cities based public affairs firm with a worldwide reach. He is also a senior consultant to the National Popular Vote campaign. Mr. Rosenstiel brings a conservative Republican viewpoint to the idea of selecting a President by a majority vote. Public welcome.
Saving Democracy Book Club, Wednesday, April 17, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m., St. John of Arc. In the March meeting, we discussed the first half of How Democracies Die, Levitsky & Ziblatt, Crown, 2018. In April, we'll conclude consideration of the book. If you're interested in preserving and improving democracy, you're welcome to come, whether you've read the whole book, parts of the book, or none of the book. The democracy you save might be your own.
Talk by Clean Elections Chair George Beck, Tuesday, April 2: Chair Beck will speak to the Metro Move-On group. Program starts at 7 p.m. at the Uptown Lunds & Byerlys community room, 1450 W. Lake St. in Minneapolis.
Completed: Clean Elections Bi-monthly meeting, Saturday, February 23: Bi-monthly MnCCE meeting, 1:00 - 3:30 pm in the Helen Young Room of the Southdale Library, 7001 York Ave S, Edina, MN 55435. University of Minnesota Professor Kathryn Pearson gave a slide presentation on the results of her and Larry Jacobs' research on Transparency and Campaign Spending in last year's elections in Minnesota. Click here to see the results of research. From 2:30 - 3:30 was a social hour with refreshments.
2019-2020 MN Legislature is now in session
And here's a link to a list of bills we're following, including bills to allow released felons to vote (HF 40), to establish automatic voter registration (HF 45), and completing bills to establish a redistricting commission outside the legislature. Our pick: HF 1605 that includes citizens on the commission. Also under consideration, HF 1018 and SF 2255. You can keep up-to-date with bills of interest to you on the MN Legislature's web site.
Governor's budget includes a raise for the Campaign Finance Board
Despite having a long and descriptive name, or perhaps in part because of the unwieldy monicker, Minnesota's Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board isn't well known by those it serves. The Board--CFB to friends--plays a big role in keeping state elections clean and political spending transparent. The board registers and reports on election-related spending by, among others, candidates, PACs, party units, and those sometimes opaque "independent expenditure committees." If you want to know who's behind that nasty ad insulting your favorite candidate, the Board is tracking and reporting on such activities. It also disburses public funding as provided by law, registers and reports on lobbyists, and maintains disclosure on more than 3,000 public officials.
Want to know more? Here's a link to the line in the governor's budget concerning funding for the CFB.
Help Overturn Citizens United
Act now to support an effort in Minnesota to overturn the Supreme Court's disastrous decision in Citizens United. Follow the link to a Clean Elections resolution to present to leaders in your municipality. For more information, contact Jim Herrick, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support a National Popular Vote Initiative
Frustrated by presidential elections determined by the Electoral College vote rather than the national popular vote? MnCCE member Mark Bohnhorst's detailed paper, "Repairing Presidential Elections" offers a legally documented argument for action by the states to ensure that never happens again. From the introduction to the paper:
This paper begins with a sketch of the flaws in our current system. It then (i) traces the current movement for a national popular vote from its inception in 2001 to 2018 and (ii) discusses the opportunities created by the election of 2018 for moving to a system under which the president will be elected on the basis of who gets the most votes. It concludes by identifying some objections to a proposed interstate compact, suggesting some practical steps that resolve those objections and offering some thoughts for the future. References and citations are in the Endnotes.
MnCCE Candidate Survey Results
Click here to view the results of MnCCE's survey of candidates' views on repealing Citizens United, disclosure of campaign funding, and public financing of political campaigns. Look for candidates who were elected in your area. If you don't see a response, contact him or her and ask for a response to the survey questions:
Do you support a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United?
Do you suppose full disclosure of the source of campaign funding, including PACs and Super PACs?
Do you support full or partial public funding of political campaigns?
February: "Corporations Are Not People." A presentation in the SPNN Studio in St. Paul by American Promise president Jeff Clements cosponsored by Clean Elections. You can watch a video by clicking clicking here.
May 5: All About Gerrymandering. A presentation by member Peter Wattson at our May meeting. You can review his slides by clicking here.
June: Candidate Survey. Clean Elections MN volunteers distributed a three-question survey to roughly 400 candidates running in primaries for all state congressional offices, constitutional offices, US Congress, and in the special election for US Senate. The results are available in a Candidate Response Spreadsheet. We hope this well help you how to vote in the general election in November. On July 19, Clean Elections MN sent a press release about the survey to more than 100 news outlets around the state plus our nonprofit allies.
September 15: "Money in Politics: How Do We Get Out of the Mess We Are In?" A panel discussion at a meeting of the Minnesota Humanists meeting. MnCCE member Sharon Tornes assembled an impressive panel, including Professor Kathryn Pearson, Senator John Marty and Vicki Barnes, state coordinator for American Promise and Take Back our Republic.
September 7-20: "Dark Money" premiered at the Lagoon theater. Members of the Dark Money book club attended to prepare for a discussion of the events in the film at the September meeting. PBS aired the documentary on October 1 and 6. For more information go to https://www.darkmoneyfilm.com/. Click here to view the trailer.
September 20: "Whatever Happened to 'We the People'?" George Beck, Clean Elections MN Board Chair gave a talk about the impact on politics of the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, the presence of Dark Money in elections, the connection between political contributions and legislation, and the flaws on our democracy. St. Louis Park League of Women Voters sponsored the event.
September 8: Redistricting
A presentation at the monthly meeting by Annastacia Belladonna Carrera of Common Cause MN about the mutual relationships among the Census, Apportionment, Redistricting, and Voting. Watch the upcoming session of the MN legislature for proposals related to these four crucial elements of democracy. Minnesota could lose a congressional district (and a vote in the electoral college) based on the 2020 Census.
December 16: George Beck addressed SD 46DFL.