More Than 20 Organizations Ask Presidential Candidates to Sign a “Fix Democracy” Pledge

Greenpeace and partners ask candidates to protect voting rights and reject fossil fuel money.

by Cassady Craighill

January 11, 2016

Washington, DC January 11, 2016 — Bernie Sanders became the first presidential candidate to sign a new pledge launched today asking all major candidates to support a people-powered democracy and reject campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.

© Greenpeace / Robert Meyers

“From the halls of Congress to the presidential campaign trail, politicians are taking money from mega industries like the fossil fuel industry, and prioritizing corporations over constituents. At the same time, many in power are making it harder for the poor, communities of color, the elderly, and students to vote in the first place. We need to get money out and people into our democracy,” said Annie Leonard, Executive Director at Greenpeace USA.

“A critical way for candidates to show they support a people-powered democracy is by rejecting fossil fuel money and supporting voters rights. So far only Bernie Sanders has agreed to fossil fuel-free funding and protection of voters rights. It’s time for Hillary Clinton and anyone with serious White House aspirations to match Sander’’s leadership. Our democracy has to stop being sold at auction to the highest bidders,” said Leonard.

More than 20 organizations and individuals from advocacy, to academia, to business have signed onto the letter to all the major presidential candidates asking they take the pledge. Organizations include Greenpeace,, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Popular Democracy, Climate Justice Alliance, Climate Parents, Common Cause, Democracy Initiative, Energy Action Coalition, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Indigenous Environmental Network, Labor Network for Sustainability, Oil Change International, People for the American Way, Public Citizen, Rainforest Action Network, SumOfUs, US Rebel Alliance, and US Student Association. Additional individuals who have signed on include activist and 350 founder Bill McKibben, author Colin Beavan, columnist and author Jim Hightower, former Dean of Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Gus Speth, and Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

The pledge to #fixdemocracy that was sent to candidates reads as following:

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.

Read the full letter:

Greenpeace defines “fossil fuel interests” as companies whose primary business is the extraction, processing and sale of coal, oil or gas. The pledge means that a candidate’s campaign will adopt a policy to not knowingly accept any contributions from company PACs, registered lobbyists that work on behalf of the company, or top executives.

Nearly every Republican presidential candidate receives a substantial contribution from the fossil fuel industry — either directly or via a super PAC. On the Democratic ticket, Hillary Clinton receives money connected to the fossil fuel industry via industry lobbyists who have bundled contributions to the campaign. GOP hopefuls Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Ted Cruz and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton are the top three beneficiaries of contributions from oil and gas employees.

Given Governor Martin O’Malley’s previous statements on shifting to 100 percent renewable energy and his call for a constitutional amendment to protect voting rights, he is expected to be the next candidate to sign the pledge.


Cassady Sharp, 828-817-3328, [email protected]

Cassady Craighill

By Cassady Craighill

Cassady is a media officer for Greenpeace USA based on the East Coast. She covers climate change and energy, particularly how both issues relate to the Trump administration.

We Need Your Voice. Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.