You are seriously worried about political inequality, that billionaires have too much political influence. But you seem to think that this can be regulated, by limiting and circumscribing the role of money in politics. Here, you find initiatives and proposals on how such regulations may work.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
Like you, people all over the world think regulation can restore the balance of power in politics. We listed a couple of initiatives that you might be interested in! This list is not exhaustive: we mainly have information for the US and Europe. If you know of an organization that fights to limit the power of billionaires in politics through regulation in other countries, or though other means, please let us know we’ll be happy to add it
LOWER CAMPAIGN REGULATION CEILINGS
Billionaires should not be able to contribute significantly more than other citizens because this would prevent politicians from representing their voters properly, instead they are likely to represent the interests of the billionaires.
JOIN OR CREATE A TEAM OF ACTIVISTS (US)
99rise is a US civil movement advocating for political equality regardless of wealth. Activists belonging to the movement have already gained media attention by protesting against the outcome of the McCutcheon v FEC case in 2015. There are several ways you can act via this organization : They offer training to become a 99rise local leader, which include non-violent activism, communication tools and updates on the state of US democracy, at the federal, state and local level. You can also join one of the existing teams.
GET YOUR REPRESENTATIVES TO ACT (US)
If you want your representatives to act against the influence of money in politics, you might want to look at the Who Will Fight Big Money website, whose goals is to make US representatives call for limitations in campaign financing and government subsidies on small contributions – where all small contributors would receive tax credit, for instance. Use their ‘Find you Candidate’ page to know where your local representatives and candidates stand and urge them to support new campaign financing regulations. American promise also allows you to do this with this form.
GET THE MEDIA TO ACT (US)
American Promise, who established the first National Citizen Leadership Conference in 2016, offers you a tool to get in contact with media around you – especially small community papers, so that they publish information on Citizens United and on the actions against it.
STAMP MONEY (US)
Stamping money ? Well, yes. Dollar bills change hands several times a day, they reach people you might never know the name of ! Stamp-Stampede produces stamps you can use on dollar bills with messages such as « Stamp money out of politics ». Also, it’s actually legal. You can order a stamper directly from their website. The stamps available at stampede are geared towards electoral justice, but you can actually use this for any issue you think is worth talking about. If you know other countries where this practice is legal, please get in touch with us, we’d love to add it here.
LIMIT THE TAKE OF THE FEW ON THE MEDIA
You don’t like that Berlusconi and Murdoch can control significant shares of the media in their countries ? You think transparency is not enough ? Here are a couple of actions that can help preventing media empires from arising.
SIGN A PETITION FOR THE FCC TO STOP LARGE MEDIA OWNERSHIP (US)
Free Press is an organization for the freedom of the press. They think that media empires harm democracy and editorial freedom. If you think so too, you can sign their petition for the Federal Communications Commission to close the loopholes in US law which allow for such media empires to exist.
MEET WITH YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND LOCAL EDITORS (US)
Free Press also has a toolkit for activists to learn how to meet their Congress representatives, to get in contact with your local editors to influence policy making. And if you want some material to support your claims, check their research and the letter they already sent.
CHECK YOU LOCAL MEDIA’S POLITICAL ADS AND FUNDING (US)
It is legal in the US for citizens to ask their local media for their public files. Those include funding, political ads and complaints that they received. Free Press developed a toolkit for activists to do this, and try to figure out whether their funding influenced their editorial line.
PROMOTE INTERNET FREEDOM
The internet is a large place – and you can arguably find anything on it. However, as users, we only get to see a very tiny portion of it. Preserve wealthy people from controlling what we get to see is crucial to prevent biased media that only serves the interest of the few. Free Press set a website on internet freedom and their activists recently advocated for the preservation of internet neutrality rules in the US. You can support them here.
UNCOVER THE CORRUPT
Among all the ways billionaires can use to influence politics, some are illegal, such as corruption – good regulation is not enough if it isn’t enforced! If you want to prevent billionaires from buying politicians’ favors, here are a couple of things you can do:
Transparency International’s campaign ‘unmask the corrupt’ allows you can nominate people, administrations or organizations you think are corrupt. Those that got most votes will be brought to court by the organization. The 2016 campaign is over (winners are : Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali, Felix Bautista, US State of Delaware, FIFA, the Akhmad Kadyrov Foundation of Chechnya, Lebanon’s Political System, Ricardo Martinelli and Cronies, Petrobras and Viktor Yanukovych) . You can also contact one of their chapters if you are aware of a case of corruption.
SUPPORT RESEARCH AND ANTI CORRUPTION PROGRAMS
Transparency International and Anti-Corruption International, among others, provide information on corruption worldwide. They develop tools to measure corruption, what it costs society, and uncover new cases. Based on this research, they developed tools to fight corruption. You can support their action by donating.
JOIN A TEAM TO FIGHT CORRUPTION
Anti-Corruption International has thematic working groups – on health or development for instance, who develop tools specific to each area of interest and in which you can participate. You can also join their general programs or their national committees.
MONITOR YOUR REPRESENTATIVES (France)
Transparency international France put out resources you can access to get in touch with your representatives and make sure they don’t get corrupt. Those include letter models to incite your representatives to commit not to accept money against political favors and displaying information about their administration.
PROTECT WHISTLE-BLOWERS & SUPPORT INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM
If nobody spoke out to denounce the illegal practices of billionaires, regulations would be totally ineffective. For this information to be displayed we need whistle-blowers and journalists – here’s what you can do to help them expose the power of money in politics.
The Government Accountability Project is an organization protecting whistle-blowers in the US and advocating for better protection from the US government. You can donate here to support whistle-blower protection. You can also sign this petition to increase whistle-blower protection by the US government, or this one to protect whistle-blowers in Europe.
SUPPORT INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM
Investigative journalism allowed to uncover major corruption cases, as well as tax evasion. The International Consortium for Investigative Journalism is a team of journalists based all around the world that have been working on major cases such as the Panama Papers. You can donate to help them remain independent and conduct major investigations.