Calls on Chamber Train Riders to Support Fully Renewed Federal Unemployment Benefits
NEWARK, NJ — On January 26, 2012, New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA) members protested the annual NJ Chamber of Commerce's "Walk to Washington." The protest was held at the Newark and Metropark Train Stations. Protesters dressed as skunks with the message "unemployment stinks" and handed out clothes pins with a message that urged attendees not to make life harder for the unemployed and to support fully renewed federal unemployment benefits.
The NJ Chamber of Commerce's "Walk to Washington" is one of NJ's premier private political events of the year, attended by legislators, regulators and members of the state's executive branch. "Every year high paid lobbyists and corporations spend big bucks, up to $15,000, for the opportunity to have access to NJ's political establishment on this private train," stated Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, NJCA Executive Director." "Citizen Action would like to remind these folks of the millions of Americans without jobs that allow this kind of elite access. Being unemployed is hard enough, we shouldn't make life more difficult for these people who are struggling just to make ends meet by adding mean spirited restrictions to federal unemployment benefits," she added. Full details in our Media Release.
- "Chamber Of Commerce Train Leaves N.J. For Annual 'Walk To Washington' Event"
- "All Aboard The New Jersey Chamber's Lobbying Express"
In order to get a Congress that's accountable to us, not corporations and special interests, we need to change the way candidates finance their campaigns. The best and most comprehensive solution is the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 752, H.R. 1826).
Under Fair Elections, candidates are able to run highly competitive races that rely on small donor contributions and limited public funding. Fair Elections allows elected officials to spend their time on important issues facing their constituents, and not spending countless hours attending $1,000 a-plate fundraisers and dialing-for-dollars.
It's time we had a government that worked for working Americans, not for big corporations and their lobbyists. Contact your Representatives today!
- Send a letter to your Representatives.
- Become a Citizen Co-Sponsor.
- Join the Fair Elections Now Coalition.
About the Fair Elections Now Act
Under the Fair Elections Now Act, federal candidates would run for office without relying on large contributions, big money bundlers, or donations from lobbyists, and would be freed from the constant fundraising in order to focus on what people in their communities want.
To qualify for public financing, congressional candidates would need to raise a large number of small contributions from their communities.
- Candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives would have to collect 1,500 contributions from people in their state and raise a total of $50,000.
- Since states vary widely in population, U.S. Senate candidates would have to raise 2,000 qualifying contributions plus 500 times the number of congressional districts in their state.
Qualified candidates would receive Fair Elections funding in the primary, and if they win, in their general election at a level to run a competitive campaign.
Qualified candidates would be also eligible to receive additional matching Fair Elections funds if they continued to raise small donations from their home state.
- Donations of $100 or less from in-state contributors would be matched by four dollars from the Fair Elections Fund for every dollar raised.
- The total Fair Elections Funds available is strictly limited to three times the initial allocation for the primary, and again for the general, available only to candidates who raise a significant amount.
- If a participating candidate is facing a well-financed or self-financed opponent, or is the target of an independent expenditure, they will be able to respond by utilizing this matching fund provision.
Fair Elections helps offset fundraising for and the excessive cost of media.
- Participating candidates receive a 20% reduction from the lowest broadcast rates. Participating Senate candidates who win their primaries are eligible to receive $100,000 in media vouchers per congressional district in their state.
- House candidates receive one $100,000 media voucher.
- Participating candidates may also exchange their media vouchers for cash with their national political party committee.
Participating candidates could set up leadership political action committees but would be limited to a $100 contribution limit per individual per year.
- The cost of Fair Elections for Senate races would be borne by a small fee on large government contractors and for House races would come from ten percent of revenues generated through the auction of unused broadcast spectrum.
- The largest recipients of federal government contracts would pay a small percentage of the contract into the Fair Elections Fund.
- If the system proves popular like similar laws at the state level, the new system could cost between $700 and $850 million per year.
The New Jersey Coalition for Clean Elections is a statewide coalition dedicated to reducing the corrupting influence of money in politics and establishing a permanent, state-wide system of full public campaign financing. Publicly funding campaigns reduces the influence of special interests and creates a system in which all candidates, including women, minorities and other non-traditional candidates, can better compete. Public financing lowers the overall costs of elections, which in recent years has skyrocketed.
Taking money out of politics is one of the most necessary and critical reforms for New Jersey because it makes all other reforms possible. When lawmakers are no longer beholden to special interest money, they will be freer and more able to conduct the people's business, for the benefit of the people.
Clean Elections seeks to restore the voice of citizens in our participatory democracy and is needed to restore trust and confidence in our political institutions.
In 2007, New Jersey implemented the NJ Fair and Clean Elections Pilot Program to determine the best way to establish a permanent, statewide system of full public financing. The 2007 Pilot proved successful and overwhelmingly succeeded in meeting the Legislature's thresholds for expansion.
Now is the time to move beyond pilot projects and implement a permanent full public financing program for New Jersey. The New Jersey Clean Elections Coalition supports a full public financing program that establishes:
- A Clean Elections program that permanently expands to all 40 legislative districts.
- A Clean Elections program that provides full campaign financing for primary and general elections.
- A Clean Elections program that provides equal funding to all qualified candidates.
- A Clean Elections program that provides adequate resources for program implementation and public education.
- A Clean Elections program that includes proper enforcement to protect public funds.
Coalition Member Organizations
- Bergen Grassroots
- Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
- Coalition for Peace Action–Princeton
- Democracy Matters
- Garden State Equality
- League of Women Voters of New Jersey
- Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry in New Jersey
- National Organization of Women–New Jersey
- New Jersey Chamber of Commerce
- New Jersey Citizen Action
- New Jersey Policy Perspective
- New Jersey Tenants Organization
- New Jersey Working Families Alliance
- NJ Environmental Federation
- Public Campaign
- Sierra Club
- The Council of New Jersey State College Locals
- Union for Reform Judaism