Calling All Congressional Candidates: Reject Fossil Fuel Money and #FixDemocracy!

by Brian Johnson

March 17, 2016

Greenpeace is expanding the #fixdemocracy pledge to Congressional candidates. How you can help.

Fix Our Democracy

In January, Greenpeace and more than 20 partners called on all presidential candidates to join the movement for a real democracy — one in which every voter can participate and our leaders can’t be bought with campaign donations. We asked the candidates to prove their commitment to democracy by rejecting all future donations from the fossil fuel industry.

Senator Bernie Sanders became the first candidate to sign the #fixdemocracy pledge. Then Secretary Clinton responded with a statement committing to reversing the effects of Citizens United and restoring the Voting Rights Act — though she has not yet committed to refusing fossil fuel money. No Republican presidential candidate has signed the pledge or responded.

Now, Greenpeace supporters like you are expanding the #fixdemocracy pledge to all Congressional candidates, whose races will be heating up in the coming months.

The Pledge to Fix Democracy:

I pledge allegiance to a democracy of, by, and for the people.

If elected, I pledge to fight for a people-powered democracy where every voice is heard

  • By defending the right to vote for all, and
  • Supporting common-sense measures like public funding for campaigns and overturning Citizens United to ensure a government by and for the people, not the biggest donors.

And I will prove that I work for the people by refusing money from fossil fuel interests and by championing these solutions for a people powered democracy on the campaign trail.

Already, 9 Congressional candidates have signed the pledge, including Jamie Raskin and Ana Sol-Gutierrez (running for Maryland’s 8th District), Zephyr Teachout (NY-19), Kevin Stine (Senate candidate for Oregon).

Jeffrey Jones (MD-08) was the first Republican candidate running for any office to sign the pledge, soon joined by Von Hougo, Republican running for the California Senate seat. And our National Activist Network signed its first candidate: Joe DeMare, running for the Senate in Ohio.

Clinton rally

In the Fight for Our Democracy, Congress Matters

A few pundits who actually favor a plutocracy jumped on Jeb Bush’s well-funded but losing campaign as proof that money doesn’t buy elections. But the reality is, We the People must still band together to reform campaign finance and restore voting rights.

For one, Bush’s exit was definitely the exception to the overall trend, which is that the richest candidates generally win. The other important impact of money is how it alters candidates’ policies. In today’s Congress, fossil fuel money has created a pervasive and stubborn denial of human-caused climate change. And this toxic denial has largely blocked real action on climate.

Campaign funding matters significantly in Congressional elections, which tend to have much smaller budgets. And while our future president will control many incredibly important decisions (like the future of offshore drilling), it’s Congress that will ultimately need to fix democracy through measures like overturning Citizens United and restoring the Voting Rights Act.

By getting candidates in your district or state to sign the pledge and reject fossil fuel money, you’re not only creating a Congressional caucus for the change our democracy needs, but actively reducing the influence of a corporate sector that has derailed important climate policy for too long.

Join us in asking your candidates to sign the pledge.

Want to help get money out of politics? It’s easy to reach out to your candidates! Get started by using our toolkit, which provides details on picking candidates to ask and how to get their attention.

Greenpeace will also be highlighting certain races on a new Democracy Pledge website. Don’t see your candidate? Click “Add Them Now” to start the toolkit and launch your own campaign. We’ll be selecting certain volunteer campaigns to feature on the Pledge website.

Together, candidate by candidate, we can #fixdemocracy!

Brian Johnson

By Brian Johnson

Brian is a campaigner with Greenpeace's Climate and Energy Team. Follow him @BFWJohnson.

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