Groups use social networking as a response to corporate influence over our political process

 The Day When $$$$ Equals Speech

The American public has become increasingly frustrated and angry about the corporate corruption of Congress. With the influence over politics wielded by wealthy corporate interests through their political spending, even modest efforts to curb pollution, ensure clean water and safe food, secure our financial system and more are stymied.

The deluge of more than $30 million spent by outsiders in this week’s Wisconsin recall elections and the sudden appearance and subsequent dissolution of a corporation that gave $1 million to a political action committee backing GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney are only the latest examples of the stunning sums of money flooding our current campaign finance landscape. The growing influence of corporate interests comes from the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which gave corporations the “free speech” right to spend unlimited money to influence elections.

In response, a diverse group of more than a dozen organizations are participating today in “The Day When $$$$ Equals Speech.” Instead of words, participants are posting  a string of dollar signs on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social media networks in a vow to reclaim democracy, as seen in this sample tweet:

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ http://bit.ly/DollarsOrDemocracy #WeThePeople will #reclaim

Participating groups include the Center for Biological Diversity, Campus Progress, the Center for Media and Democracy, Coffee Party USA, Common Cause, Demos, Greenpeace, the Hip Hop Caucus, Move to Amend, North Carolina Center for Voter Education, People for the American Way, Public Campaign, Public Citizen, The Story of Stuff Project, USAction, the We the People Campaign and The Young Turks.

“As corporations increasingly exert their influence over the political process, those of us without millions of dollars to spend on political campaigns are effectively silenced,” said Rick Claypool, online organizer for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “It is as if we have to speak through a kazoo while corporate CEOs speak through megaphones.”

The Website,  www.DollarsOrDemocracy.org,  encourages others to join the online protest and explains the impact of the Citizens United decision.

Corporations flooded the November 2010 midterm elections with a record amount of money. It is predicted that the 2012 presidential elections will see even more corporate money and will cost $7 billion.  We need to stand up now against this ‘$ as speech’ trend that is taking over our government.