FAQ: Price We All Pay Campaign
What is the goal of the campaign?
Our goal is to draw attention to the negative role big polluter money plays in our political system and to draw attention to the need for solutions. There is a “price we all pay” when politicians are more beholden to special interest donors than their constituents. The project aims to increase media coverage and engage members of Congress, candidates, and constituents in a public dialogue that acknowledges the “price we all pay” and works toward solutions that put the people back in charge of elections.
The key is to raise awareness; not only of the problem of corporate and polluter money in politics (most Americans are aware this is a problem) but also awareness of a specific solution: campaign finance reform. During the next few months, we will mobilize Californians who care about protecting our environment and our health to become advocates for campaign finance reform.
Our goal is to elevate the voices of everyday people into current discussions on this issue in a non-partisan manner. We’ve reached out to every California member of Congress who is not currently a cosponsor of H.R. 20, the Government By the People Act and asked them to support this legislation. We’ll be engaging constituents to encourage their elected representatives to cosponsor H.R. 20.
Why is the campaign called “The Price We all Pay”?
The public should be aware that the flood of polluter money in our elections isn’t just fundamentally bad for our democracy; it’s bad for our environment and our health. Since the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Citizens United vs. FEC in 2010, Big Oil, coal, and chemical companies have flooded elections with unprecedented spending, seeking to elect climate change deniers, stifle any action on climate change, and block environmental safeguards.
Price We All Pay for Dirty Energy’s Influence:
• Extreme drought, raging wildfires, and warming oceans, rising sea levels, more powerful super-storms are just some of the consequences of global climate change, and we’re seeing all of them right here, right now in California.
• Oil and gas companies continue to receive billions every year in taxpayer subsidies despite being one of the most profitable industries in history.
Price We All Pay for Chemical Companies’ Influence:
• Only a small percentage of the chemicals on the market have been tested for their effects on human health and the environment.
• Scientific evidence continues to link chemical exposure to increasing numbers of health problems including certain types of cancer, infertility, learning disabilities, neurological diseases, obesity, and more.
• Chemicals in products such as cleaners, paints, adhesives, cosmetics, or air fresheners can trigger asthma attacks in children.
Where can I see your campaign in the “real world?”
We will soon be running radio ads and outdoor billboards in select cities. We have hired field staff throughout California to recruit supporters at local events, like farmers’ markets and festivals in cities including Fresno, Bakersfield, Santa Clarita, and Chino. Much of our recruitment will take place online: we’ve launched online petitions and are running ads on Facebook and other sites.
Why are you supporting H.R. 20, versus another political fix for the problem?
We are supportive of many different solutions that would address the problem of unlimited amounts of donor money in our political system. This project is currently focusing on H.R. 20 because it allows us to mobilize constituents toward a legislative solution. H.R. 20 is not the only potential solution to the problem of money in politics, but its passage would go a long way to leveling the playing field for the average American.
Why are you launching this campaign in California? Why not another state?
Congressional campaigns are expensive everywhere, but particularly in California. The amount of money raised by successful candidates (not including fundraising by outside groups) in each race is frequently in the millions; Congressional candidates in several CA campaigns in this election cycle have already raised well over $2 million.
Currently, California is the only state that can claim two spots on Open Secrets’ top ten list of “Most Expensive” 2014 House races, in the category of money raised by candidates (Congressional District 33 is in third place with $7,591,630 raised so far, and Congressional District 17 is in 10th place with $5,711,897.
California is also an excellent testing ground for this kind of campaign. The diversity of the districts (urban, suburban, rural, high- to low-income, racial and ethnic diversity) will allow environmental advocates to learn about what works: what is the most effective messaging; who are the most effective messengers, etc.
Why have you chosen to focus on specific geographic areas in California over others?
We are focusing our efforts on regions represented by members of Congress who are not yet co-sponsors of H.R. 20. In the interest of raising the issue in a non-partisan way, we are focusing on areas represented by both Democrats and Republicans.
Are you trying to elect or defeat any candidates?
No. Our goal is to elevate the voices of everyday people on the issue into current discussions in a non-partisan manner.