Our Goal

American Promise is leading the charge for the 28th Amendment so we the people govern the United States -- not big money, not unions, and not corporations.

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.  

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

80+% of Americans Want to Overturn Citizens United v. FEC to keep Big Money Out of Politics

Among self-described liberals, conservatives, and moderates, 80 percent say the decision should be overturned. [Bloomberg Politics, 9/28/15]

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By reclaiming our democracy with the 28th Amendment, We The People - of all political beliefs - will secure rights and responsibilities for our lives and for our country’s future:

  • safe drinking water
  • national defense
  • equal justice
  • self-government
  • tax policy
  • job security
  • public safety
  • healthy food supply
  • independent press
  • public lands
  • clean and breathable air
  • serving the public interest
  • defending human liberty

Together, we will deliver the American Promise.

Join us.

 

Vision/Mission

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.

A renewal of our national covenant of human liberty, equal citizenship, and responsible self-government.

Mission

To empower, inspire, and organize Americans to win the cause of our time: the 28th Amendment. This historic reform will rebalance our politics and government by putting the rights of individual citizens and the interests of the nation before the privileges of concentrated money, corporations, unions, political parties, and superPACs.

Strategy

American Promise leads the cross-partisan, fifty-state campaign for the 28th Amendment so that people, not money, govern America.

We have three drivers to win ratification of the 28th Amendment now:

  1. Our distributed, decentralized model supports, connects and amplifies cross-partisan local action by all Americans all over the country, driven by our national Citizen Uprising, Civic Courage program, public events, and our acclaimed National Citizen Leadership Conference;

  2. We build national 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. We hold elected representatives accountable to ensure that they represent the good of the country and the will of the people for big, real 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.

What It Says

The 28th Amendment affirms that We the People - not big money, not unions, not corporations - govern the United States.

The strongest consensus language for the Amendment* will secure:

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

*Now, American Promise is leading an 18 month effort to build national consensus.

FAQ's

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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. 

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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.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-joint-resolution/5/text

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.

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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.

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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.

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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, Inc. 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)
https://secure.actblue.com/donate/people-govrn--not-money-1

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.

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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 Jeff Clements & Nancy Heselton, John & Kim Wass, and John Conley & Liz Awalt. Donors over $1000 include:

Don Bender
John Boynton
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
Tom Haslett
George Heselton
Arnold Hiatt
David Hough
Debra Howard
Brigitte Kingsbury
John Kirk
Alexander Matheson
John McBride
Lela Means
Bonnie Milne
Robert Morrison
Rod Morrison
Holly Mosher
Peter Nikitas
Gary Oakley
John E. Palmer
Matthew Patsky
Joe Rigali
Paula Sager
Jeremy Sager
Larry Scarff
Debra Stark
Martha Stone
Michele Sutter
Linda Weis
John Whitman
Elizabeth Wilson
Tracy Winn
Patty Zimmerman
William Zimmerman

American Promise, Inc., 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
John & Kim Wass
John & Mary Palmer
Marilyn Clements Charitable Fund
Matt Patsy & Jun Untalan
The Park 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)
https://rl-americanpromise.nationbuilder.com/annual_ap_citizenship

American Promise (Support inspirational and educational programs- tax deductible)
https://rl-americanpromise.nationbuilder.com/secure_democracy

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

 

Promising Stories

AP Council

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

 

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Doris Kearns Goodwin

Presidential Historian, Pulitzer Prize-winning Author
Concord, MA

“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.”

 

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Nina Turner

Former Ohio State Senator, Professor of History
Cleveland, OH

“I applaud American Promise for bringing together people of good conscience from all political spectrums to stand up and say that, what we care about as everyday people is in peril if we don’t get concentrated money out of American politics. We can regain power in a representative democracy through The Constitution. I believe that we can do this, because - in our history - every time change has come it is from the grassroots not the grass tops. Down with Citizens United and up with the 28th Amendment!”

 

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Olympia Snowe

Former Senator, (R-Maine)
Lewiston, ME

 “We need to repair the Constitutional foundation for election spending reform so that all Americans may participate in self-government as equal citizens. When a few individuals and extremely well-funded organizations ‘own the microphone,’ the average citizen’s voice is drowned out. I hope all Americans can come together with American Promise to help in the urgent, cross-partisan work to bring about fundamental change.”

 

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Lawrence Lessig

Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, Author, Democracy Reform Leader
Cambridge, MA

"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. Everything depends on its success. And its success depends upon its being pursued as American Promise has done — with all sides, working together"

 

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John Pudner

Executive Director, Take Back Our Republic
Auburn, AL

"The roar of special interest money has been getting louder for decades, and it's now drowning out the free speech of individual citizens. I'm honored to be working with Jeff and the rest of the American Promise Advisory Council toward a constitutional amendment that will help restore government 'by the people' and giving voters a chance to secure our Constitutional values."

 

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Ben Cohen

Co-founder of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream and Head Stamper at www.StampStampede.org
Burlington, VT

"Democracy is the triple-deluxe droolworthy idea that the people can govern and be governed in turn, that We the People are the author and the subject of the law. But that idea is under threat from millionaires, billionaires, and big corporations who use their money to buy access and influence in Washington. But we can fight back. That’s why I’m literally stamping money out of politics and teaming up with American Promise to win a 28th Amendment to restore our democracy."

 

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Donnel Baird

Entrepreneur, Founder BlocPower
New York, NY

“We need to strengthen our democracy if we want good jobs with good wages, energy sources that are renewable and affordable, and strong, resilient communities. That means we need to win the 28th Amendment to overturn Citizens United and restore equal citizenship and liberty for all.”

 

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Debra Winger

3-Time Oscar Nominated Actress, Executive Producer of the Academy Award-nominated Gasland
Catskill Mountains, NY

 "Plainly put, I don't see how any other major issues that I care deeply about can be solved in a long term way, any crisis safely averted, any sea change toward the betterment of life in the United States of America until we have the 28th Amendment. This Constitutional amendment renews the very essence of what this democracy was founded on and for: equality under the law and the potential to prosper and live with some assurance that you are represented in your government."

 

Judy Wicks

Entrepreneur, Author
Philadelphia, PA

“Throughout American history, it has been the vigilance of the people denied their rights that our country has kept our democratic values. This fight is no different and it involves the rights of every citizen. The current Supreme Court has hurled our nation straight into a plutocracy—a government ruled by the wealthy—and as history has shown us, it’s up to 'We the People' to stamp big money out of politics.”

 

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Greg Moore

Executive Director, NAACP National Voter Fund
Washington, DC

 "The process of making our nation’s Democracy more representative has been a long and sometimes bloody struggle. Unfortunately many of the most important Constitutional Amendments came only after many long years of turmoil and strife. We the People have unfortunately found ourselves in such a predicament again as a nation. The two pronged attack of the US Supreme Court--rolling back voting rights and increasing the influence of big corporate money in our Democracy--has made this effort to pass a 28th Amendment a moral imperative. I look forward to engaging my fellow America’s Promise Advisory Board members and allies in developing the most constructive and inclusive strategies for advancing this effort forward."

 

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Jim Leach

Fmr. Congressman (R-Iowa); fmr. Chair of the National Endowment For the Humanities
Iowa City, IA

“Citizens United has genetically altered our democratic DNA, pushing American politics in an oligarchic, corporatist direction. The Constitution begins 'We the people' not 'We the corporations.' ”

 

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James Nelson

Justice, Montana Supreme Court (Ret).
Helena, MT

 “The original framers were highly distrustful of the power of corporations. I suspect that the framers would be appalled at Citizens United. We the People—each of us—are only the most recent generation of Americans who have been called upon to defend the framers’ vision of a Constitutional government Of the People, By the People, and For the People. That responsibility is now ours.”

 

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Matt Patsky

CEO, Trillium Asset Management
Boston, MA

 “It did not take 20 years in private industry for me to learn that corporations are not people. This is not to say that people are good and corporations are bad; they are just different. We, the people of Massachusetts, are ready for Congress to propose, and send to the states for ratification, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will negate Citizens United and restore the democratic process for all Americans.”

 

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Mike Dukakis

Fmr. Governor of Massachusetts; Democratic Nominee for President
Boston, MA

 “Where in the Constitution does it say that money is speech? The new 'right' of the few to spend unlimited money in our elections imperils our democracy and all of our rights as equal citizens. Americans must come together to win the 28th Amendment to overturn Citizens United and renew the promise of America.”

 

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Cheryl Crawford

Executive Director, MassVOTE; 1st Vice President at NAACP Boston Branch
Boston, MA

 "I am excited to join the dynamic team of democracy warriors American Promise has assembled. Agents of change coming together from across all aisles, fighting to get money out of politics and restore the power back to the people. We must win the 28th Amendment."

 

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Alan Simpson

Former Senator, (R-Wyoming)
Cody, WY

“People across the nation, regardless of their political affiliation, are making clear that corporations or unions should not be able to spend internal funds to influence elections. I urge you to support the call for a 28th Amendment to the Constitution that restores that fundamental promise of our Republic: government of, by, and for the people.”

 

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Kahlil Byrd

CEO, Invest America Fund; entrepreneur; leader of cross-partisan initiatives such as Americans Elect
New York, NY

 “We are entering the most important era of reform in decades. Americans are far ahead of our leaders in embracing the need for change right now. Building support for the 28th Amendment through American Promise is giving regular people a focused and real vehicle to reduce the influence of the corporate and union money that is driving so much of our political system.”

 

Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson

President, Auburn Theological Seminary
New York, NY

 “The time for hand wringing and anxious complaints is long past. Just as the prophets cried out, it is time for us to support campaign finance overhaul. To that end, ministers, rabbis and nuns, priests, imams, and theologians across the U.S. are joining forces, calling out the dangers of unchecked money in our elections and advocating for large-scale reform.”

 

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Steve Lipscomb

Managing Director, FixItAmerica.org
Santa Fe, NM

 "I'm honored to formally join an organization that we have already successfully worked with in multiple states to move the 28th Amendment forward. American Promise is helping build a coalition that can actually get something done."

 

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Ella McGrail

College Student
Portsmouth, NH

 "Our country is still waging its long war against inequality in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, faith, and financial status. Milestones of our progress on these struggles can be seen in the amendments we've made over time to our Constitution. At this moment in history, I think the best step we can take towards a more perfect union is creating an amendment that will put a stop to the corrupting influence of money in politics. Once the money in your wallet no longer has an effect on how well your government represents you, we will have taken another great step towards equality."

 

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Joe Kearns Goodwin

US Army Veteran (Iraq, Afghanistan); Businessperson; Executive Director, National Service Now
Boston, MA

 “American Promise is about our equal rights and our equal responsibilities. As citizens, we should be expected to do more than pay taxes and obey the law. All Americans should be given the opportunity to serve so that we learn to move past personal differences to achieve a higher common goal. I’m glad to join Americans who are answering the call to work together to defend democracy against the corruption of concentrated money and power.”

 

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Bob Monks

Executive, Author
Cape Elizabeth, ME

 “If Americans are determined to keep our republic, we have a lot of work to do. We need to join and support the broad-based, non-partisan movement for a constitutional amendment to correct the Supreme Court’s disastrous mistake in Citizens United, and to enable sweeping campaign finance and lobbying reform.”

 

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Jack Doty

Partner
San Francisco, CA

 “It is always people, of course. And those who have garnered wealth often end up controlling outdated resources - and are fearful of the loss of power the recognition of that obsolescence implies. Using that wealth to maintain power often builds oligarchies that inhibit growth and deny the future. Worse, those oligarchies deny the basis of the Great Experiment, American Democracy: the faith in and trust of the voice of each individual. Our democracy is at stake: its loss will be the result of good people doing nothing. What consolation in knowing that there is the 28th Amendment - and American Promise forwarding the process towards its adoption!”

 

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Tamara Piety

Professor of Law
Tulsa, OK

 "The Supreme Court’s creation of First Amendment speech rights for commercial entities imperils public health, safety, and welfare; the reliability of commercial and consumer information; the stability of financial markets; and environmental stability. The 28th Amendment will help shift the balance of power between capital and the people and the people’s ability to legislate for the common good.”

 

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John Coates

Professor
Cambridge, MA

 "The 28th Amendment will reduce pressure on companies to spend money on elections and politics, and allow business leaders to remain focused on growing the economy. They can return to making good products, providing good services, and generating returns for shareholders, and they will have less need to divert resources and dilute strategies in a mutually destructive effort to win a large slice of a fixed governmentally-provided pie. In short, the amendments will be good not only for individual voters, but for America’s best companies as well.”

 

Our Team

AP Board

 

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Jeff Clements

President and Board Member

 

 Jeff serves as President of American Promise. He has practiced law for three decades in public service and private practice, and is the author of Corporations Are Not People: Reclaiming Democracy From Big Money & Global Corporations. He is also the founder of Whaleback Partners LLC, which provides sustainable financing to businesses in the local agriculture economy. Previously, Jeff has been a partner in a major Boston law firm and served as Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the public law enforcement bureau in the Attorney General’s Office in Massachusetts. Jeff has helped to start and been a board member of many non-profit organizations and businesses. Today, in addition to the board of American Promise, he serves on the vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church in Concord, Massachusetts. Twitter: @ClementsJeff 

Alicia Cleary

Alicia Cleary

Board Member

    

 Alicia is an analytical, creative and entrepreneurial leader with proven experience in developing, implementing and directing business development initiatives across sectors, multi-stakeholders levels and diverse communities, including Greater Boston, South East Asia, South & Central America, and Europe. Most recently the founder and CEO of Arts2You in the Boston area, Alicia has extensive experience in the business and non-profit sectors, including operations, strategy and business development and marketing.

 

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John Wass

Board Chair

 

John is a corporate executive and entrepreneur whose body of work includes leadership in the early days of Staples, one of America’s most well-known office supply retailers. He helped expand the company from 3 stores to over 1000 outlets. He managed development programs including a prototype store, the B2B business unit, and a $10B global supply chain. John also co-founded and built a state-of-the-art healthcare information company, which he sold to Cardinal Healthcare. He now serves as CEO of Profit Isle, Inc.

 

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Michele Sutter

Board Member

 

Michele is a teacher, former story editor at HBO, theater artist, and producer who co-founded Money Out, Voters In, (MOVI) in California: a non-partisan, all-volunteer organization dedicated to the establishment of a 28th Amendment.With Michele’s dedication, MOVI’s efforts were critical to the passage of a Los Angeles municipal ballot measure calling for an amendment resolution and in 2016, her team led the campaign for the successful statewide Proposition 59 in California that instructed elected officials to vote to overturn Citizens United v. FEC.

AP Staff

 

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Jeff Clements

President and Board Member

 

Jeff, an attorney, is a founder and President of American Promise. He is the author of Corporations Are Not People: Reclaiming Democracy From Big Money & Global Corporations. In his legal career, he has been a partner in a major Boston law firm and has served as Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the public law enforcement bureau in the Attorney General’s Office in Massachusetts. In 2012, He founded Whaleback Partners LLC, which provides sustainable financing to businesses in the local agriculture economy in New England. Jeff has helped to start and been a board member of many non-profit organizations and businesses. Today, in addition to the board of American Promise, he serves on the vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church in Concord, Massachusetts. Twitter: @ClementsJeff 

 

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Leah Field

Managing Director

 

Proactively pivoting from a profit driven to a mission driven vocation, Leah joins American Promise as Managing Director. With a strong background in organizational and financial management, she is thrilled to contribute her experience to empowering staff, volunteers, and citizens to win the 28th Amendment. Leah brings a passion for consensus building and increasing organizational awareness among team members; she believes that members are best served by a healthy organization, a state achieved through ongoing goal assessment, feedback, and evaluation. Born and raised in New England, she earned her BA in Psychology from Boston University. Previously, she worked as an Operations Manager at BioMimetic Systems, a biotech firm in Cambridge, MA and most recently, she worked as an Engagement Manager at ATLANTIC-ACM, a Boston-based strategic marketing and management consulting firm.

 

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Ben Gubits

Director, Political Strategy

 

A native of Colorado, Ben comes to American Promise with significant experience both in business and in organizing, public policy and Citizen education and engagement. He has worked as Senior Sourcing Specialist with Monster.com, and previously served as Director of Professional Development with the National Council of History Education in Washington, D.C. Ben was Regional Field Director in a 2014 gubernatorial campaign, and has been an organizer in several campaigns. He is a graduate of Fort Lewis College in Colorado, and is currently a candidate for his Masters in Public Administration at Suffolk University in Boston.

 

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Susan Muller

Director, Events and Operations

 

Recognized as a reliable, energetic, and organized entrepreneur with strong business and leadership skills Susan is the Events and Operations Director at American Promise. Raised in Wisconsin, she earned her BA from Wheaton College and her MBA from Babson College. Susan started her career at Bank of New England, where she performed various roles including VP of Credit Services. Over the next fifteen years, Susan took her creative flair and strong graphics background to found and operate Custom Signs, Inc., and provided a full range of signage media to businesses and individuals. For the past six years, she was Tea Forté’s Trade Show Manager. In 2016 Susan joined American Promise to dedicate her strong promotional, business, and interpersonal skills to further a cause in which she believes.

 

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Brian Muldoon

Director, Digital and Information

 

As a former Executive Director as well as Field and Data Director for the Massachusetts Democratic Party, Brian has developed experience in, and a love for, community organizing and grassroots campaigning. After leaving the Party, Brian received his J.D. from Suffolk University, held a senior staff position on the Martha Coakley campaign as a leader of its field and data program, and served for the past few years as a consultant on a wide range of political and issue oriented campaigns. Brian comes to American Promise with the goal of committing his political campaign experience to the cause of ending big money in politics.

 

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Johannes Epke

Counsel

 

From his previous work on the 28th Amendment with Move To Amend, Johannes will oversee the organization of Writing the 28th Amendment (an interactive collaborative citizen project), add legal support to the ballot initiative and legislative initiatives in the Citizens Uprising, monitor and track our legislator scorecard and Congressional and State vote-count, and expand resources and information about for citizen leaders. Johannes is a graduate of Lewis & Clark Law School, and has practiced environmental law in California. 

 

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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. 

 

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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 led 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.

 

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Mark Steininger

Digital and Information Systems Associate

 

Mark is originally from Fort Collins, Colorado, and he’s been involved in both Massachusetts and Colorado local politics since he was in high school. After working on environmental issues and student loan reform, Mark became interested in campaign finance law and realized the utmost importance of the issue. He’s very excited about the work he will do with American Promise. He believes that campaign finance reform is a necessary step in the upkeep of democratic institutions and the preservation of functional government. Mark is graduate of Boston University.

 

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Liz Harvey

Development Manager

 

As a former Development Director, Director of Foundation Support and Major Gifts Officer, Liz has worked in a range of roles at Massachusetts non-profits, supporting efforts to connect individuals and organizations with impactful causes. Most recently, Liz was the Associate Director at the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest where she oversaw marketing and development communications efforts and special events. As the Development Manager at American Promise, Liz looks forward to helping to address the outsized influence of money in politics and engaging, and inspiring others to join the effort.

 

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Melissa Gough

Special Projects Manager

 

Melissa comes to American Promise out of concern for how unchecked corporate power has stymied progress toward an environmentally sustainable economy. Her own citizen activism was sparked by a passion for the environment fostered by spending her formative years biking the back roads of Boston MetroWest and hiking the woods and mountains of New England. Over the years that has expanded to a deep belief in the power of personal action and engaged citizens to re-energize our democracy. She is active in local community environment groups and also worked for the UK’s most successful solar company in its start-up phase. She holds an Masters in Environmental Change and Management from University of Oxford.

 

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Carol Spicer

Operations Associate

 

As a former Assistant to the President and Office Administrator at a not for profit insurance organization for more than 15 years, Carol served as liaison between the President and the organization’s members and staff. Carol developed, maintained, and administered policies and programs relating to the office and facility operations. Carol joined American Promise as the Operations Associate to dedicate her business and interpersonal skills to help address a cause in which she believes.

We are hiring!

American Promise is leading the national cross-partisan campaign to win the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution so that people not money govern America. 

American Promise celebrates the diversity of our nation and seeks to build a team that reflects that diversity. We welcome and encourage all qualified applicants who share that vision. 

We are currently seeking to fill the following roles: Law Fellow. Details for all positions below. 


Law Fellow Program

American Promise is seeking to add one or more Law Fellows to our team in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The American Promise Law Fellow Program offers an opportunity for qualified law students and attorneys to engage in constitutional research, writing and advocacy to advance American Promise’s cross- partisan campaign to win the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution so that people, not money govern America.

The 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution will replace the Supreme Court’s doctrine of political inequality, reflected in decisions such as Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, with foundational American principles of equal citizenship and representation and safeguards against systemic corruption.

Responsibilities

  • Provide legal research, analysis, writing, and other support for American Promise’s Writing the 28th Amendment program
  • Engage in research regarding constitutional, campaign finance, election and corporate law as directed by the president or counsel of American Promise;
  • Assist in the drafting of a series of white papers, op-eds, FAQs and other communications.

Experience and Qualifications

  • Current 2L, 3L, or admission to Bar;
  • Strong academic record and passion for constitutional law;
  • Outstanding writing skills;
  • Commitment to the cause and goals of American Promise;
  • Ability to thrive in a start-up environment and work independently;
  • Ability to handle confidential information with discretion and professionalism.

While the American Promise Law Fellow Program provides unparalleled experience, it does not have the budget to provide compensation. In appropriate circumstances, a modest stipend could be provided.

To apply, send an email with a cover letter and resume to Jeff Clements (jeffc@americanpromise.net) with a cc to Johannes Epke (johannese@americanpromise.net) and Susan Muller (susanm@americanpromise.net).

American Promise celebrates the diversity of our nation and seeks to build a team that reflects that diversity. We welcome and encourage all qualified applicants who share that vision.

 

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.

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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.

EXAMPLE: NEVADA BECOMES THE 19th STATE!

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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 IN 2017: BY THE NUMBERS

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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.

 

ACTING LOCALLY, AND CONNECTING CONGRESS AND THE PEOPLE

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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.

 

REACHING MORE AMERICANS

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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.

 

EXAMPLES: HUMANS OF AMERICAN PROMISE

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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. 

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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.