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The Problem. The Problem. "I think I can say, and say with pride, that we have some legislatures that bring higher prices than any in the world." – Mark Twain. “Anybody who wants to be an ambassador must give at least give $250,000.” – Richard Nixon. A Senator must raise….

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the problem
The Problem

The Problem


"I think I can say, and say with pride, that we have some legislatures that bring higher prices than any in the world."

– Mark Twain

a senator must raise
A Senator must raise…

Five THOUSAND dollars per day, every day, including holidays and weekends, for their six year term to achieve the average amount of campaign cash it takes to win a US senate seat.

us senate
US Senate

The candidate with more campaign funds wins


of the time.


US House

That number is


of the time.

citizens united v fec 2010
Citizens United v. FEC (2010)

Buckley v. Valeo (1976)


Constitutional Law 101:

In Citizens United, the Supreme Court not only struck down all federal and state laws that banned corporate spending in elections, it also prohibited and continues to prohibit any legislative body anywhere from adopting such limits in the future.


But to be clear, it’s not that money in political campaigns is inherently evil or corrupting…

... where the money comes from, and why, is what really matters.

the donor class
The Donor Class…







college affordability
College affordability
  • The US is the most expensive place in the world to go to college. This is not a coincidence:

In a government in which money equals power, students, who are often shackled by debt and have little to no ability to make campaign contributions, have limited power.

  • To keep up, students have been taking on record levels of debt. From 1999 to 2011, student loan debt grew by a staggering 511%.
  • Financial institutions like Sallie Maemassively profit from these loans, the details of which (like the rates of the loans) are at times dependent on public policy. When speaking about Congress, one US senator recently stated, “the banks frankly own the place.”

“Fun” Facts about Sallie Mae:

  • - Sallie Mae owns $162.5 billion of student debt, nearly 20 percent of all
  • student debt in the country [1]
  • - The former CEO of Sallie Mae, Albert Lord, made $225 million between 1999 and 2004 (he has a personal 18 hole golf course an hour’s drive from Washington DC). [2]
  • - Sallie Mae gives millions of $$$ to congressional campaigns, and has spent $36,790,000on lobbying for federal legislation. [3]

Sources: [1 -]

[2 -]

[3 -]


In 2012, Sallie Mae made $2.5 billion on student loan interest, while it received 0.23 percent line of credit from the government and charged 25 to 40 timesthat amount on its own private student loans.

the environment
The Environment

… that says millions of $$


the environment1
The Environment
  • In 2009, Congress came votes away from passing the American Clean Energy and Security act – a bill that would have mitigated climate change – however the oil and gas industry spent a record $175 million lobbying to keep the bill from passing in the Senate.
  • When Congress was actively debating whether or not to regulate fracking, contributions from the fracking industry spiked 41%.
  • The 47 senators who voted to sustain subsidies for the oil and gas industry, some of the most profitable companies in the world, received $23 million in contributions from those industries, whereas the 51 senators who voted to eliminate them received less than $6 million.
economic inequality
Economic inequality
  • Obvious but… the super wealthy have wildly different priorities than most Americans.
  • 78% of Americans think that nobody working full time should fall below the poverty line; whereas only 40% of the wealthy agree.

OECD Report: The United States is one of the richest nations on earth, but on a number of social and economic measures, it is more typical of a developing country. Compared with other advanced nations, it ranks consistently among the worst performers in matters of economic equality and child welfare.

and many other issues
And many other issues…
  • The Economy
  • Voting rights
  • Government dysfunction
  • Gun violence
  • Incarceration rates
  • Healthcare access
  • Worker rights
  • Etc. etc. etc.


  • Constitutional Remedies:
  • - A constitutional amendment to set a new paradigm for elections and corporate power in the United States.
  • Legislative Mitigation:
  • Disclosure of political spending
  • Source and size limitations on contributions
  • Small donor incentive programs
the amendment
The Amendment
  • Congress and the states shall have the authority to regulate election spending; and
  • Corporations are not endowed with the same rights and privileges as human beings.


… people are organizing at the local, state and federal level.

16 states have called for a

constitutional amendment to overturn

Citizens United and related cases.

500 cities/towns have called for

a constitutional amendment.

150+ Senators/Representatives

in Congress have cosponsored amendment



Students United For Democracy

In 2014, students are adding our voices to the movement…


April 14th – 18th

“Resolution Week”

April 14th

“Day Of Action”



Passing a resolution on campus

Holding an Event on April 14th

1) What’s the process of passing a resolution on your campus?

2) Who will you need to influence to pass a resolution?

3) How can you raise awareness of the resolution?

4) What’s your organizing strategy?

5) What’s your communications strategy?

1) Could you hold a rally or a press conference instead? (SU4D trainers are here to help with specifics.)

2) What allies would you want to reach out to?

3) Who would you want to speak at your event?

4) Who will be in charge of alerting the media?

  • Contact me at: [Fill In Contact Here]
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