NPR: How (and Why) Campaign Finance Reform Went Grassroots


The issue of campaign finance reform has dominated the national political discussion, with the concept of public funding being discussed in everything from state campaigns to the race to the White House.

But how did the push for reform get so heated? How did the issue come to the forefront of the American political discussion? How did it go grassroots?

NPR recently explored the issue in a feature story about the matter featuring citizen activists and voting experts, and it’s definitely worth a read.

While the whole story is available online, we wanted share this excerpt:

And campaign finance reform has gone grass roots. Since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 — the ruling that let corporations and unions spend to promote or attack candidates — there have been marches, petitions, municipal declarations and other protests around the country.

What caught Linda Battista’s attention was the government’s rescue of Wall Street, and the lack of legal consequences for Wall Street’s big donors. “The bailout was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” the Philadelphia resident said. “Billions of dollars that wealthy people are just sitting on, while cuts are being made to schools and everybody else is just dealing with austerity.”

In other words, it wasn’t the issue of political money that got the marchers headed to Washington. It was the way the money affects, or is perceived to affect, elected officials.


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