With Expanded Advisory Board and Staff, American Promise Is Accelerating the 50-State Cross-Partisan Campaign to Win The 28th Amendment to The U.S. Constitution
Lessig Joins Sen. Alan Simpson, Rep. Jim Leach, Doris Kearns Goodwin and others on American Promise’s Advisory Council
Cambridge, MA – Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig joins American Promise’s cross-partisan Advisory Council to help build a 50-state, citizen-led movement to win a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would combat systemic corruption and secure political equality for all Americans.
Lessig, a former Clerk of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, emphasized the critical need for citizens to find common ground and bridge the political divide.
“The effort to find common ground on a way to achieve a democracy representative of all of us is the most important project in American politics today,” says Professor Lessig, “Everything depends on its success. And its success depends upon its being pursued as American Promise has done — with all sides, working together.”
American Promise is deploying a unique cross-partisan strategy to win equal political rights for Americans and end the domination and destabilizing effects of concentrated money in elections. In 2010 the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC struck down campaign finance laws, ruling that corporations, unions, and other entities, like individuals with money to spend, have a First Amendment ‘free speech’ right to spend unlimited money to influence election outcomes. Despite widespread and cross-partisan opposition and condemnation, the Supreme Court has refused to reverse Citizens United, leaving a Constitutional amendment as the only viable path. According to Article V of the U.S. Constitution, amendments are proposed by 2/3rd of Congress or an amendment convention called by 2/3 of the states, and ratified by ¾ of the states.
“Constitutional amendments are not easy but nearly everyone knows our election system is broken, rigged by corrupt money, and failing badly,” said Jeff Clements, the co-founder and president of American Promise. “The 27 Amendments that won the Bill of Rights, ended slavery, promised equal voting rights for all Americans, regardless of gender or race, and secured term limits for Presidents weren’t easy, either. This is what Americans do when our rights and country are on the line, and we have a game-plan to win.”
American Promise’s cross-partisan strategy is succeeding in building widespread support for the 28th Amendment to address the corrupting impact of the Supreme Court’s decree that allowed billionaires and corporations to spend unlimited money to buy access and influence in elections and policy-making. The strategy is reflected in states like Wyoming where citizen leaders are collecting signatures to place an initiative on the 2018 ballot that would call on Congress to propose the 28th Amendment. The initiative has received high profile endorsements from former Senator Al Simpson, a Republican, and former Governor Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat.
Across the country, 19 states and nearly 800 cities and towns have passed 28th Amendment resolutions with cross-partisan support. In Montana and Colorado, voters have approved 28th Amendment ballot initiatives by 75-25%. In November 2016, Washington State became the 18th State to call for the 28th Amendment, with a voter initiative passing by wide margins in every region and every Congressional district of the state.
Lessig is the author of Republic Lost, the founder of Rootstrikers, New Hampshire Rebellion, and MayDay PAC.
“A Constitutional amendment to secure government representing the people, not big money special interests, is urgent,” said Jeff Clements, the co-founder and president of American Promise. “We are grateful to Professor Lessig and the leaders from across the political spectrum who have joined our Advisory Council and are modeling how all of us can step up for America.”
American Promise’s advisory council includes Former Senator Alan Simpson, Former Representative Jim Leach, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Former State Senator Nina Turner, Former Montana Supreme Court Justice James Nelson, Former Governor Mike Dukakis, Ben Cohen, Bob Monks, Judy Wicks, Joe Kearns Goodwin, Ella McGrail, Rev. Dr. Katherine Henderson, Kahlil Byrd, Matt Patsky, Professor John Coates, Professor Tamara R. Piety, Jack Doty and Donnel Baird.
Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School. Prior to rejoining the Harvard faculty, Lessig was a professor at Stanford Law School, where he founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society, and at the University of Chicago. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. Lessig serves on the Board of the AXA Research Fund, and on the advisory boards of Creative Commons and the Sunlight Foundation. He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Association, and has received numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award, Fastcase 50 Award and being named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries. Lessig holds a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge, and a JD from Yale.
American Promise Adds New Staff to Empower Americans to Join the 28th Amendment Campaign Wherever They Live
Active in all 50 states, American Promise’s new staff will help accelerate the creation of local cross-partisan American Promise chapters, train citizen leaders to advocate for the 28th Amendment, support citizen leaders advance local and state resolutions, ballot initiatives, and candidate pledges to support the 28th Amendment.
Azor Cole, Citizen Empowerment Coordinator
Azor’s experience as a journalist fostered his skepticism towards concentrated power, and spurred his interest in campaign finance reform. His work has appeared in The Daily Orange, The Syracuse New Times, and Envirogorge. As an intern with Public Citizen, he produced blog posts, ghost-wrote op-eds, and coordinated with an active volunteer community to enact public interest reforms. As the Citizen Empowerment Coordinator for American Promise, Azor looks forward to working with the patriotic citizenry of this country to pass the 28th Amendment and right the fundamental wrong that corporations are, constitutionally, considered people. Azor is a graduate of Syracuse University.
Wambui Gatheru, Citizen Empowerment Coordinator
As a Citizen Empowerment Coordinator, Wambui hopes to lend her fervor for political activism, social justice and leadership to the fight to ratify the 28th Amendment. As an organizer at her alma mater, the University of Connecticut, Wambui created and lead several groups aimed at empowering the unheard and advocating on behalf of her student body for institutional change to the University's Senate Diversity Committee. As an intern for Connecticut State Senator Gary Winfield, she learned the importance the everyday citizen plays in shaping and influencing their government and is inspired to help empower citizens to take back their democracy. One of her favorite quotes from the eloquent Senator Winfield is, "There are no voiceless people, there are only silenced people whose voices have yet to find the right ear." She hopes to bring this spirit of empowerment and engagement to her role at American Promise.
For more information, visit www.AmericanPromise.net