ANTI-CORRUPTION ACT -- THE DOCUMENTS
Below are the documents you need to get your town meeting to consider supporting the American Anti-Corruption Act.
This is a message from the Boston and Western Mass chapters of epresent.Us, group working to pass anti-corruption legislation across the country to reduce the influence of corporate money in politics. Among our accomplishments, epresent.Us recently passed a ballot measure in South Dakota whic outlaws political bribery, ends secret money, increases enforcement of ethics law, and makes all state-wide campaigns publicly funded. That is huge, and we are actively working to bring something similar to Massachusetts!
If this sounds interesting to you, we could use your help to pass Anti-Corruption Resolutions (see FAQs #2 below) in Massachusetts towns over the next few months. Our goal is to get these non-binding resolutions passed in as many towns as possible to demonstrate public support for this issue and legislation to city and state officials. To do this, we need people living specifically in Massachusetts’ towns (see FAQs #3 below) to volunteer to sponsor thi resolution in their towns. This process is surprisingly easy (we passed 25 statewide in 2017 and want to add to that this year) and the steps we would need from you are:
1) Send a quick email to the Boston chapter of Represent.Us (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Western Mass chapter (email@example.com) saying you want to pass an Anti-Corruption Resolution in your town. This helps us keep track of all efforts in the state, and allows us to provide you with resources and help.
2) Call your town clerk, ask them the following questions, and record their answers in the corresponding purple columns of our Town Resolution Database: here
- “When is our annual town meeting?”
- “Where and when can I get a citizen’s petition for a warrant article?”
- “When is this petition due?”
- “Is our town meeting open or representative?” (See FAQs #6 below)
- (If your town has representative town meetings) “How can I meet with the town’s Selectboard to explain the petition?”
- Ask if there’s any other information about submitting the petition
3) [OPTIONAL FOR YOU] The next step in the process is to get signatures from registered voters who live in your town (10 signatures at minimum, 20 signatures recommended). The volunteers of the closest Represent.Us: (Boston or Western Mass) chapter will assist in collecting these signatures, so you won’t have to participate in this step if you don’t want to. But if you do want to collect signatures with us, we’d love to have your help!
4) Attend your town meeting (or meet your town’s Selectboard if you have a representative town meeting) and present the Resolution. You’ll have to speak about the Resolution for no more than 5 minutes, and we at Represent.Us will arrange a phone call with you before the town meeting (or meeting with the Selectboard) to help you figure out what you’ll say, answer any questions you may have, and make sure you’re confident about this last step in the process.
And that’s it! Completing those four steps will get an Anti-Corruption Resolution on the agenda at your next town meeting and will help give us political leverage to pass a legally-binding Anti-Corruption Act across the state of Massachusetts. I really believe that comprehensive campaign finance reform is a first critical step to address many of our country's important political issues, and I really hope you’ll consider helping us pass Anti-Corruption Resolutions.
Let us know if you have any questions or if you would like to meet to discuss more.
All the best,
Cristian Morales Reed Schimmelfing
Represent.Us: Boston, Organizer Represent Western Mass chapter leader
(915)541-5673 (413) 588-2036
Resolution Supporting State and Federal Legislation to Provide Greater Transparency in Political Donations and Limit the Influence of Money in Politics
WHEREAS, recent changes in funding and disclosure rules for national, state and local political elections have degraded the goals of the democratic process; and
WHEREAS, a recent decision by the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) now allows an infusion of previously prohibited out-of-state money to influence local and state elections, new legislation is now required to prohibit such funding from circumventing Massachusetts state law; and
WHEREAS, in an effort to restore voter confidence in our democracy, a grassroots movement known as "Represent.Us" is working for legislative reforms to reduce the opportunity for corruption within the political system in our country by supporting a legislative reform bill known as the "American Anti-Corruption Act" (the Act); and
WHEREAS, the Act targets bribery by preventing lobbyists from donating to politicians and influencing policymaking; ends secret money by mandating full transparency; enables citizens to fund elections; closes the revolving door between Congress and lobbying firms; and enhances the power of the Federal Election Commission; and
WHEREAS, this national organization’s local chapter, Represent.US Western Mass, sought and promoted an advisory referendum; specifically in the Hampshire/Franklin State Senate District (currently held by Stan Rosenberg) to build support for this initiative; and
WHEREAS, on November 4, 2014, the citizens of of the above mentioned district were given the opportunity to be heard on this topic through the above advisory referendum where the question received 84 percent aggregate support across the entire district, and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the citizens of the Town of ________, Massachusetts that we support tough new anti-corruption laws to close loopholes in Massachusetts’ campaign finance regulations that currently allows unregulated out-of-state money to infiltrate state and local elections; and we support the goals outlined in the American Anti-Corruption Act to remove the corrupting influence of money on our political system. The Act prohibits politicians from taking campaign money from special interest groups including private industries and unions; increases transparency for campaign funding; empowers all voters through a tax rebate voucher to contribute to the candidates they support; prohibits representatives and senior staff from all lobbying activity for five years once they leave office; and places limits on superPACs.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the citizens of the Town of ___________ implores our elected representatives in Boston, State Senator ___________ and Rep. ______________ and in Washington, Sen. Edward Markey and Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. ___________ (or their successors) to lead this effort to enact these initiatives in Massachusetts and in the U.S. Congress.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Clerk of the Town of ___________ is hereby directed to give notice to the above representatives by sending a certified copy of this resolution to each of them.