About American Promise

Our Goal

American Promise is leading the charge to win the 28th Amendment so We the People—not big money, not corporations, not unions, not special interests—govern the United States of America.

The Amendment process is well on its way to help set reasonable spending limits in our political elections, so that all Americans—regardless of net worth—can take responsibility for our lives, govern ourselves, and honor our national destiny.

Our Mission

American Promise exists to empower, inspire, and organize Americans to win the 28th Amendment to the Constitution.

This lasting reform will re-balance our politics and government by putting the rights of individual citizens before the privileges of concentrated money, corporations, unions, political parties, and superPACs.

Our Vision

A healthy, just, and lasting American republic, in which Constitutional rights for human beings are secure, and all citizens are equal, with the right and the responsibility to govern effectively together.

Read More

We envision an America where…

  • Our representatives are elected and re-elected based on the merit of their ideas and their performance in the eyes of voters—not who can raise the most money from wealthy donors and special interest groups.

  • Our elected officials’ choices represent the will of their constituents—not the financial interests of those who fund their election campaigns.

  • The candidates who get the most votes are the ones who win elections, without manipulation through partisan gerrymandering, voter suppression or other political maneuvers.

  • Political campaigns focus on issues that matter to people, where debate is civil, and where political advertising is not funded by dark money groups without the knowledge of voters.

Our Strategy

We are executing a three-prong strategy to win ratification of the 28th Amendment by

  1. Amplifying Action: Our distributed, decentralized model supports, connects and amplifies cross-partisan local action by Americans all over the country, driven by our national Citizen UpRising and Civic Courage programming and our acclaimed National Citizen Leadership Conference;

  2. Building Consensus: We build national, cross-partisan consensus and determination, vetting and driving forward specific, effective language of the 28th Amendment with our Writing the 28th Amendment program and inviting all Americans into the process; and

  3. Holding Elected Officials Accountable: We hold federal, state, and local elected representatives accountable to ensure that they represent the will of the people for foundational reform through the 28th Amendment, rather than do the bidding of big donors and special interests.

Together, this three-prong strategy is building the super-majority support in Congress and throughout the country to pass and ratify the 28th Amendment and renew the American promise of human liberty, equal citizenship, and effective self-government.


The 28th Amendment

The Constitution is the supreme law of the United States. Authored by the Founders of our nation in 1787, it has since been amended 27 times to reflect the will of We the People.

The 28th Amendment will affirm that We the People—not big money, not corporations, not unions, not special interests—govern the United States of America.

The strongest consensus language for the Amendment will secure:

  • Rights for human beings over privileges for corporations and special interests
  • Fair and free elections for all Americans
  • Rights of all Americans to equal participation and representation

American Promise’s Writing the 28th Amendment program brings together citizens, legal scholars, judges, lawyers, representatives, and issues advocates to discuss, debate, deliberate, and decide on the language that will be proposed and ratified. Join the conversation and be a Founder of the Constitution.


About Us

AP Advisory Council

American Promise assembled the first cross-partisan Advisory Council to speak out for the 28th Amendment. These American leaders represent thoughtful viewpoints from a variety of political, economic, and demographic perspectives. Read More >

It is time to accept the historical gravity of our situation. It is time for Americans of all political viewpoints to come together to win the 28th Amendment — and to renew U.S. democracy again.

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Presidential historian, Pulitzer Prize-winning Author

AP Board

  • John Wass, Board Chair
  • Jeff Clements, Board Member and AP President
  • Alicia Cleary, Board Member
  • Michele Sutter, Board Member

Read More

AP Staff

  • Jeff Clements, President and Board Member
  • Leah Field, Managing Director
  • Ben Gubits, Director, Political Strategy
  • Susan Muller, Director, Events and Operations
  • Brian Muldoon, Director, Digital and Information
  • Johannes Epke, Counsel
  • Azor Cole, Citizen Empowerment Coordinator
  • Wambui Gatheru, Citizen Empowerment Coordinator
  • Mark Steininger, Digital and Information Systems Associate
  • Liz Harvey, Development Manager
  • Melissa Gough, Special Projects Manager
  • Brian Boyle, Senior Law Fellow
  • Elizabeth Doty, Business for American Promise, National Program Leader

Read More

We Are Hiring!

2017 In Review

Constitutional amendments aren’t easy. They require national consensus, and the overwhelming, strong, persistent push from the people. That’s what we’re building with American Promise. Our cross-partisan, 50-state campaign of local and state networks wins resolutions and drives support in Congress. It’s built on previously successful amendment campaigns, and it’s working now.

In 2017, our Citizen UpRising lit up more states.

Read More


19 States now have formally called for the 28th Amendment. In 2017, we followed our leadership role in Washington State and California ballot initiatives with a big win in Nevada, which passed a strong legislative resolution to become the 19th state to endorse and call for the 28th Amendment. We launched a ballot campaign in Massachusetts for a first-in-the-nation non-partisan Citizen Commission for the 28th Amendment. 700 volunteers helped gather 95,000 signatures from Massachusetts citizens.

In Wyoming and Florida, hundreds of American Promise citizen leaders moved ballot initiatives forward to the signature collection phase, and will drive toward similar 28th Amendment ballot initiatives in 2018 and 2020.

American Promise members and senior American Promise staff testified, met with legislators, and drove grassroots support for 28th Amendment resolutions in more than 20 additional states.

To make sure our elected representatives follow these resolutions, American Promise members initiated and completed 100 meetings with members of Congress and state legislators in both major parties. And 4,177 American Promise citizen leaders sent 12,600 letters and emails to state legislators and members of Congress!

By year end, 42 Senators and 125 Representatives are co-sponsors of 28th Amendment bills. That’s good but we’re just warming up. We need 67 Senators and 290 House members to move the Amendment to the States for ratification, and we are right on track. We launched our 2018 Candidate Pledge program to drive these numbers even higher next year.



In 2017, Nevada citizens used American Promise to succeed:

  • Our legal team worked with Senator Nicole Cannizzaro and legislative counsel to write the resolution that was introduced in the Nevada legislature;
  • With local and national partners, we organized and led a citizen empowerment training in Carson City, NV to prepare volunteers for a lobby day at the state legislature;
  • American Promise members in Nevada sent nearly a hundred letters to legislators and to local media;
  • American Promise leadership testified in the Nevada legislature twice;
  • We met with Nevada Senate and House leadership and a cross-partisan group of legislators;
  • American Promise executed a targeted digital media campaign;
  • We earned media attention in the Las Vegas Review Journal;
  • We followed up victory with our candidate pledge campaign to make the resolution stick.




American Promise relies on the active participation of our members: volunteering, paying dues, pushing legislators, speaking up, organizing, serving and spreading the word. We are here to inspire, support, and empower our citizen leaders so they can get the job done.

At the beginning of 2017 (our second year), we had 5,000 committed citizen leaders ready to move the 28th Amendment forward. Today we have 143,000 citizen leaders in 50 states.

When 2017 began, we had 500 sustaining members (those who contribute dues monthly or annually). Today we have more than 4,000 sustaining members in 50 states. Click here to help these members support American Promise.

Our members range from 18 to 94 years old; we are from all 50 states; we live in urban, suburban and rural environments; and we represent a wide range of political beliefs including progressive, conservative, Republican and Democrat.

American Promise held more than 100 live public education events in 20 states and distributed educational videos with Pulitzer Prize-winning author and American Promise Advisory Council member Doris Kearns Goodwin and others so that thousands more Americans could learn about this movement. 

We started in 2016 with eight prototype American Promise Associations in local communities in five states. We now have 20 local American Promise Associations in 14 states. To start an American Promise Association, email our Citizen Empowerment Coordinators Azor Cole at azorc@americanpromise.net, or Wambui Gatheru at wambuig@americanpromise.net

Tampa.with_Jeff.JPGIn 2017, more than 5,000 American Promise citizen leaders signed up for our national training calls and received follow-up Action Sheets. Redistribution of the recorded national training calls reached thousands more.

We provided 60 citizen empowerment trainings to members of American Promise Associations, and more than 1,200 citizen leaders participated in monthly national training calls.

1,100 American Promise citizen leaders initiated more than 120,000 conversations about the 28th Amendment. Click here to sign up to be a Citizen Leader in your community.

7,000 citizen leaders watched American Promise-produced background videos.




In 2017, we added to our cross-partisan Advisory Council, including Republicans Jack Doty and John Pudner, and progressives Ben Cohen and Nina Turner, as well as legal scholars such as Lawrence Lessig and Tamara Piety.

In our national calls, we featured US Senator Jon Tester; US Senator Tom Udall’s senior counsel;  US Representatives Jamie Raskin and Jim McGovern; food and democracy visionary Frances Moore Lappe; former Alabama-based GOP political consultant and Director of Take Back Our Republic, John Pudner; Ohio State Senator and Our Revolution president Nina Turner, and experienced American Promise members such as Laura Knipmeyer in New Jersey, George Penn in Wisconsin, and Vicki Barnes in Minnesota to help citizen leaders pass local resolutions, prepare for meetings with members of Congress from both parties, and learn new citizen action skills.

IMG_5764.jpgIn St. Petersburg, Florida, our Tampa Bay American Promise Association helped lead passage of a first-in-the-nation law to end Super PACs and restrict foreign money in local elections.

With 800 cities and towns having passed local 28th Amendment resolutions, we produced and distributed our “how-to” guide to local resolutions, and connected experienced local leaders with hundreds of other citizen leaders for training and tips on passing local resolutions. We also launched prototype cross-partisan American Promise Business Councils in San Francisco and Boston which provide structured business leadership to these efforts.

We launched the Writing the 28th Amendment program with a working group of legal scholars such as Lawrence Lessig and John Coates (Harvard Law), Tamara Piety (University of Tulsa Law), Adam Winkler (UCLA), Yael Bromberg (Georgetown); judges such as Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo Strine and Montana Supreme Court (ret.) James Nelson; current and former members of Congress and state legislators from across the political spectrum, including Tom Udall, Al Simpson, Jim McGovern, Jamie Raskin, Nina Turner, and citizen and organization leaders. More than 500 American Promise members have weighed in and we are preparing to launch the more public phase in 2018.

IMG_9462.jpgWe confirmed our second National Citizen Leadership Conference for June 22-25, 2018 in Washington DC, including a first annual American Promise Lobby Day on Capitol Hill on the 25th, and expect 500 attendees from 50 states.

We strengthened our board with Alicia Cleary joining us as Finance Chair, and launched the 28 Founders Fund campaign to sustain our educational initiatives.




In addition to the New York Times, American Promise appeared in the Boston Herald, the Des Moines Register, the Tulsa World, USA Today, National Public Radio (NPR), NECN, Las Vegas Review Journal, the Charlotte Observer, the Daily Caller, Reuters and dozens of other local newspapers and media in Nevada, Montana, New Hampshire. Wyoming, Massachusetts, Virginia and throughout the nation.

On Facebook, we went from 1,700 followers at the beginning of the year to 10,500 in December, with an average daily reach of 27,000. Please follow us on Twitter and Facebook.





Our Naperville, IL American Promise Association (APA) has been firing on all cylinders. Dan Coy and his team have led by example, meeting with elected officials on both sides of the aisle to discuss the 28th Amendment to get big money out of politics. They've connected with other citizen groups in and around Illinois. APA member Sharon Gander produced an effective PowerPoint presentation, which Dan has been delivering to local groups, detailing how money's damning political influence afflicts all facets of American life. The presentation is available on the Naperville, Illinois APA Facebook group's page.


IMG_3470.jpgVicki Barnes, leader of the St. Paul, MN APA, has built on the momentum harnessed from her meeting with Republican member of Congress Erik Paulsen. In her local community, Vicki is known as an expert on the 28th Amendment, and has appeared on public radio and other media to discuss our work.


Marie Henselder-Kimmel and Joan Divor launched the Tri-County APA in New Jersey this year. Their growing APA have made presentations and built support in their communities, met with their Congressman and staff, and are meeting their monthly goals for local letters to the editor.


Shoshana Osofsky and the newly launched South Jersey APA took on the task of meeting with Republican member of Congress Frank LoBiando. They've had one meeting together so far in 2017 and plan to continue developing this relationship as Congressman LoBiando winds down his congressional tenure, while simultaneously reaching out to the candidates vying to replace him in 2018.


Ishwari Sollohud and John House, working with New Mexico Money Out of Politics and American Promise, have spearheaded the candidate pledge project, widely distributing the pledge to declared congressional candidates. They're doing this with the same spirit and execution as they conduct their congressional meetings - they've met with all five of New Mexico's members of Congress about the 28th Amendment!


The recently launched Montclair, NJ group has skillfully handled the challenge of having 5 members of Congress represented in their APA region. In December, they had their first congressional meeting with Republican Leonard Lance. Insights gained from this action will be instrumental as this group continues to rise to the challenge.


In Winston-Salem, NC Robin Lynne and the APA have worked closely with their City Council to further local resolutions, developing a relationship with their supporting Mayor in the process. 


We are proud of and inspired by all these citizen leaders and more as we finish this year of growth and impact at American Promise. We are grateful for your support and for the hard work of so many who are making the historic goal of the 28th Amendment to the Constitution so people not money govern America a reality.  


What’s the problem?

“Big money in politics”, “public officials have sold us out”, “the system is rigged against us.” The concentrated financial influence of special interests in our politics is the number one problem our nation faces, and the survival of American democracy is on the line if we choose not to act.

Read More

Our Constitution guarantees the proposition that all people are created equal. No entity – be it a global corporation, international union, or political party - can take away the inherent rights of human beings. Our American birthright is built on that fundamental assurance.

We have been living through a decades-long trend where global corporations and special interests have been gaining “super-citizen” status. Citizens United v. FEC is a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that says: 1) corporations have the same rights as humans, 2) limitless political spending is the same as free speech, and 3) Americans CANNOT set limits on political spending. A secret 1971 memo by Justice Lewis Powell tells how this started.

Why is a Constitutional amendment the solution?

An amendment is the way to rebuild the foundation of American democracy by allowing the American people to set common sense limits on political spending. Right now, we are prohibited from setting limits to outside money in our politics. The 28th Amendment is the first step to securing American democracy for people.

Read More

Several individual measures toward disclosure, contribution limits, and greater government transparency have had support as high as 86% of the voters, which affirms the overwhelming support for reform. However, each measure is always at risk of being swept away by a change in the political winds.

Why should I support American Promise?

American Promise is built for the sole purpose of winning the 28th Amendment to the Constitution.

Read More

Working state-by-state as the multiplier, amplifier, and accelerator of energy toward the 28th Amendment, American Promise:

  1. equips all Americans to act locally - any party, every citizen, all voices;
  2. networks all of us nationally – online and real-time on a secure member platform called AP Connect™; and
  3. mobilizes us when and where there is an event or vote to secure control of our lives by setting reasonable spending limits on special interests.

American Promise provides the infrastructure, the Constitutional rigor, and the fierce cross-partisanship that can deliver the amendment. While we focus on winning and ratifying the 28th Amendment, we applaud and support the efforts other democracy advocates as well.

Isn’t it up to the Supreme Court to decide what the Constitution means?   

Yes and No. The highest court in the land deliberates and rules on cases by interpreting the Constitution, and we respect that. But the Supreme Court has been dangerously wrong at times:

  • Denying any human rights of African Americans
  • Denying the right of women to vote
  • Blocking many Americans from voting by way of a poll tax
  • Denying young people drafted into the Armed Services the right to vote

Read More

Ultimately, We the People are responsible for our national Constitution. Our country’s Founders included Article V in the Constitution to enable Americans to pass and ratify amendments. The American People have used this mechanism for all 27 Amendments to date, including the Bill of Rights. It is worth noting that 8 of the 27 amendments reversed Supreme Court decisions.

What will the 28th Amendment say?

To begin, it is essential to know what the 28th Amendment will do: 1) secure fair, free elections; 2) protect the rights of all Americans to equal participation and representation; and 3) return to original liberties for people rather than new privileges for the largest corporations, unions, and special interests. 

Read More

As for what the 28th Amendment will say, American Promise is leading the year-long effort to build national consensus around the most effective amendment language. We are bringing Americans from all walks of life together with law professors, attorneys, former judges and Constitutional experts for deliberation and debate. In addition to online and other forms of research and deliberation, we will continue to organize public meetings and citizen roundtable discussions, as we did at the first National Citizen Leadership Conference. To make this process most effective, American Promise has refrained from endorsing any specific amendment bill, while we applaud and facilitate continued progress in Congress.

We will continue to bring many more Americans into the deliberations and debate. We’re confident that we will get the best, most effective Amendment language in a timely manner consistent with our roadmap for passage and ratification of the 28th Amendment.

The 28th Amendment is making good progress and several solid versions already are pending in Congress. These are a good start. Among the several versions of the amendment are pending in Congress, this one received 54 votes in the US Senate in the last Congress, and was reintroduced in the House (167 co-sponsors) and Senate (44 co-sponsors): 

Section 1. To advance democratic self-government and political equality for all, and to protect the integrity of government and the electoral process, Congress and the States may regulate and set limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.    

Section 2. Congress and the States shall have power to implement this article by appropriate legislation, and may distinguish between natural persons and corporations or other artificial entities created by law, including by prohibiting such entities from spending money to influence elections.

Section 3. Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress or the States the power to abridge the freedom of the press.


This version of the amendment also has some support (22 co-sponsors in the House) - https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-joint-resolution/48/text 

We include different amendments on AP Connect, a member service of American Promise. For access to AP Connect,  join American Promise here. If you have other questions, suggestions, or want to share your story, please let us know! Drop us a line at info@americanpromise.net

What’s the process for a Constitutional amendment?

The Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a convention of the states called by Congress upon request by two-thirds of the State legislatures.

Read More

Once an Amendment is passed, it must be ratified by three-fourths of the states. Though it is reasonable to wonder if Congress and the States can manage to do this, all 27 amendments of our Constitution have passed by 2/3 of Congress and been ratified by 3/4 of the States. It’s what Americans do: watch this.

How do we get the consensus - the super-majority - needed for the 28th Amendment when the country is so divided?

Amendments are born in times of turmoil. Since the 2010 ruling, millions of Americans, 18 states, and 800 cities and towns have battled successfully for resolutions to overturn Citizens United.  We enjoy overwhelming agreement across the political spectrum that we must stop money from killing our democracy and American Promise trains us to begin on common ground in conversations with neighbors and friends.

Read More

The 28th Amendment has been gathering momentum one citizen, one town, one county, and one state at a time – in millions of conversations. When resolutions to overturn Citizens United qualify for the ballot, they win and win BIG - in red and blue territory. The outsized influence of hidden money in our government has no party limit; Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are equally complicit in taking money from special interest groups to write laws that benefit those groups. The vast majority of Americans are in favor of the 28th Amendment, and we’re already well on our way.

Couldn’t we just elect the right President to appoint the right Supreme Court justices to overturn Citizens United?

There is no right President, and Supreme Court Justices come and go. Political winds change. It is the American people who secure our will via the Constitution with an amendment that reflects that will. There are many well-intended approaches to the problem of money in politics but amending the Constitution is the only way to preserve, protect, and defend an effective democracy for the people. Once and for all.

What is American Promise’s political affiliation?

We are Americans of all parties and no party. We insist on a cross-partisan balance in all we undertake, from our National Advisory Council to our affiliation with the Bridge Alliance, from our local American Promise Associations, to our speakers at our events such as the National Citizen Leadership Conference.

Read More

The 28th Amendment is a universal goal. American Promise looks beyond political leanings because amendments require cooperation and hard work across the country and across the aisle. With support of most Americans, we are winning. 

Is American Promise a non-profit?

Yes. We provide educational resources and activities through American Promise Education Fund. a non-profit corporation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. We provide grass-roots membership activities and, people-powered advocacy through American Promise Initiative, Inc., a non-profit corporation under section 501 (c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.

How does American Promise support ballot initiatives, e.g. People Govern Not Money/Yes on 2?

American Promise staff dedicate time and resources to support volunteer citizen efforts on ballot initiatives supporting the 28th Amendment all around the country. We issue communications to our members on behalf of the campaigns and equip supporters to get directly involved. We disclose our our time and resources as in-kind donations to these efforts. Massachusetts’ People Govern Not Money/Yes on 2 is a citizen ballot initiative committee, and all donations are disclosed and filed with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

To support this crucial effort, donations may be made directly to the ballot initiative committee (not tax deductible)

Are AP Citizenship membership fees and donations tax-deductible?

Contributions are not tax-deductible. This is because AP Citizen dues must go into American Promise Initiative for “grassroots lobbying” that holds our political representatives accountable. You can become a member of American Promise here.  In addition, we gratefully accept tax-deductible donations for our educational activities here

How is American Promise funded?

American Promise operates as two distinct organizations with a shared mission to inspire, educate, empower, and organize Americans to win a 28th Amendment to the Constitution. American Promise was founded in 2016 by Jeff Clements and John Wass, who provided seed funding, and continue to volunteer without compensation for American Promise.

Read More

American Promise Initiative, a non-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt under IRC section 501(c)(4) is home to our Citizen UpRising programs which offer support for all Americans who are joining us as volunteers on ballot initiative efforts, state and local 28th Amendment resolutions, the American Promise candidate pledge, citizen lobbying training and support, and more. This work is made possible by our thousands of members around the country who contribute what they can to American Promise Initiative. 95% of these contributions are under $200. Our average contribution is $35. Funding in this area is pivotal to the success of securing the 28th Amendment.

The largest contributors to American Promise Initiative (over $5000) are:

John and Johanna Boynton
Marilyn Clements
John Conley and Liz Awalt
Jeff Clements and Nancy Heselton
Michale and Tara Edelman
Adelaide Gomer
Arliss Howard and Debra Winger
Shane Keller
Jack and Melissa McBride
Paula and Jeremy Sager
Kenneth Sweet
John and Kim Wass
William and Patty Zimmerman

Donors over $1000 include:

Michael Beebe
Don Bender
Julie and Chris Brogan Uhrich
Renee Castagnola
Marilyn Clements
John Clements
Ben Clements
Carolyn Coffin
Mary Lou Dauray
Tory Dietel Hopps
Jack Doty
Kevin Dutt
Michael Feldman
David Friedman
Jan and Tom Geniesse
Tom Haslett
George Heselton
Arnold Hiatt
David Hough
Kristine Keller
Brigitte Kingsbury
John Kirk
Alexander Matheson
Lela Means
Bonnie Milne
Robert Morrison
Rod Morrison
Holly Mosher
Peter Nikitas
Gary Oakley
John E. Palmer
John Palmer, Jr.
Matthew Patsky
Joe Rigali
Susan Ryan
Larry Scarff
Debra Stark
Martha Stone
Michele Sutter
Linda Weis
John Whitman
Elizabeth Wilson
Tracy Winn

American Promise Education Fund, a non-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt under IRC section 501(c)(3) is home to our educational and civic programs and activities such as the National Citizen Leadership Conference, Writing the 28th Amendment program, Young Americans Civics Program, and inspirational and educational communications. The largest sponsors of/donors to that work are:

Ben & Jerry’s Foundation
Charles & Fran Rodgers
The Clements Foundation
Davis/Daurey Fund
The Gaia Fund
Hatton J. Sumner Foundation
John & Kim Wass
John & Mary Palmer
Marilyn Clements Charitable Fund
Matt Patsy & Jun Untalan
The Park Foundation
Persis and David Levy
Rachelle Quimby
Selkowitz Family Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Trillium Asset Management
Whaleback Charitable Fund (Jeff Clements & Nancy Heselton)
William von Meuffling

We are grateful to all of our members and supporters, and invite all Americans to work together to pass a strong democracy and effective republic to the next generation. Contributions can be made to:

American Promise Initiative (Become a member of the Citizen UpRising- not tax deductible)

American Promise Education Fund (Support inspirational and educational programs- tax deductible)

Checks may be sent to each entity at 33 Bradford St., Concord, MA 01742.