Our joint news release today, with Avaaz and unPAC:

41,161 signatures hand-delivered to Jim Lehrer on Thursday

Moderator urged to ask candidates, “if elected would you call on Congress to study and propose a Constitutional Amendment designed to reduce the influence of money in our political system”

WASHINGTON D.C. – As President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney prepare to face off in the first presidential debate of this election season, several grassroots groups are calling on the debate’s moderator, Jim Lehrer, to ask questions about the explosion of money in politics.

Avaaz’s Elections not Auctions, unPAC, Free Speech For People, and DEMOS jointly delivered more than 40,000 petition signatures to Mr. Lehrer on Thursday. The petition urges Mr. Lehrer to spend one of the six 15-minute segments of the debate asking candidates what they would do to “address voter concerns that campaign money is corrupting our political system?”

Avaaz Campaign Director Ian Bassin who is leading Avaaz’s Elections not Auctions campaign said: “Voters of all political stripes are sick of the flood of campaign cash that’s drowning our democracy. On Wednesday, Americans want to hear the candidates debate whether it’s time to consider a constitutional amendment to fix this billion dollar problem. Our country deserves elections, not auctions.”

“The American people deserve answers from the candidates to this critical question facing our nation today,” said John Bonifaz, Free Speech For People’s Co-Founder and Executive Director. “In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, do they support a constitutional amendment to overturn the ruling and reclaim our democracy?”

“You don’t need to be a political scientist to see that big money is corrupting our democracy,” said unPAC Co-Founder and Campaign Director Matthew Palevsky. “We’re watching super PACs, funded by a handful of individuals and corporations, spend hundreds of millions of dollars to influence the presidential election. Americans deserve to know what the candidates will to do address this issue.”

The call comes as momentum builds nationally for reform. Earlier this month, an Associated Press-National Constitution Center poll showed that 83% of Americans — including 81% of Republicans, 78% of independents, and 85% of Democrats — want limits on the amount of money corporations, unions, and other organizations can spend to influence our elections.

Eight state legislatures have now called on Congress to send them a constitutional amendment for ratification (Connecticut became the 8th state to do so 2 weeks ago, joining California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont), and two more — Colorado and Montana — will hold statewide votes on the question on November 6th.


unPAC and Free Speech For People petition:

Avaaz petition:

Photo by spatuletail / Shutterstock.com