The Common Good
August 2012

Three Ways to Rid Politics of Big Money

by Elaina Ramsey | August 2012

Big money has corrupted our politics, and We the People want it fixed.
Constitution, flag, and Statue of Liberty, Margaret M. Stewart /


Corporations fronting as people can make you feel like there’s not much you can do to stop special interest groups from taking over our democracy. But, if Stephen Colbert’s super PAC can be all about “making a better tomorrow, tomorrow,” you too can make a difference!

In "Rotten to the Core" in the August 2012 issue of Sojourners, Nick Penniman suggests a variety of ways to get money out of politics. Below are just a few of those ideas, plus some opportunities to take action:


  1. Reverse Citizens United and amend the Constitution to give power back to the people by making it clear that corporations don’t have the right to spend unlimited money to influence elections. One way to get involved: Common Cause, a nonpartisan nonprofit chaired by Robert Reich, offers a petition calling for a Constitutional amendment to declare that corporations are not people.
  2. Close the revolving door in Washington by expanding the “cooling-off period” between when politicians and their staff leave Capitol Hill and when they are able to work as lobbyists on K Street. United Republic, the nonprofit Nick Penniman works for, is inviting people to sign a letter to Congress to help end backdoor bribery.
  3. Establish new ways of funding campaigns to drive the bulk of political fundraising toward the grassroots. The Campaign for Fair Elections, a coalition group that includes Public Citizen, Common Cause, and the Brennan Center for Justice, invites people to become a “citizen co-sponsor” of the Fair Elections Now Act.

Elaina Ramsey is assistant editor of Sojourners.

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