FAN has taken the lead on an interfaith coalition, "Faithful Democracy" looking at the issues of money in politics. The coalition looks at the issue from both a faith and legislative perspective, using the issues of climate change, gun violence prevention, and immigration/private prisons as catalysts. Ultimately, we seek to advocate for overturning the Citizens’ United ruling and passage of some form of public financing to stop the corrosive influence of Big Money in Politics.
Faithful Democracy's work in 2017 largely focused on keeping the Johnson Amendment intact, which would protect the 501c3 status of our Churches keeping them non-partisan and ensuring that they continue to provide vital social services. This work with a variety of faith and non-profit partners has included op-eds, a sign on letter delivered to every member of Congress, and individual House office visits. One major victory in 2017 was ensuring that overturning the Johnson Amendment (akin to 'Citizens United 2.0') was not part of the tax reform package.
2018 saw the Franciscan Action Network sign onto the "Declaration For American Democracy" with over 100 faith based and good governance non-profits calling on Congress to pass a money in politics and voting rights reform package. Hill visits continue around this effort.
2019 Highlights and Priorities:
Overall accomplishments of the campaign so far include:
- An interfaith coalition of 18 organizations in Washington, D.C. that meet on a monthly basis. The coalition started with a sign on letter to the House of Representatives that highlighted the various pieces of legislation that would attempt to fix the problem of money in politics. The coalition is also in the middle of publishing a series of op-eds (here, here, here, and here) around money in politics specifically tailored to key legislative issues.
- The coalition co-sponsored an interfaith, bipartisan House congressional briefing held in June 2014 with Rabbi Justus Baird from Auburn Seminary in New York City and Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI), and the United Church of Christ’s Rev. Sandy Sorensen on the issue of money in politics from a faith and legislative perspective. FAN Executive Director Patrick Carolan moderated the event.
- Over a dozen direct Hill visits to Senate offices on the Udall Amendment SJ Res. 19, a constitutional amendment that would allow Congress the ability to once again regulate campaign finance. Further Hill visits to Senate and House offices have continued into 2015.
- A workshop at Catholic University of America on October 1st that brought together faith leaders, academics, and non-profit leaders to analyze the role of money in politics.
- A news article from America Magazine about the event at CUA which is also a good primer about the intersection of faith groups and the issue of money in politics can be found here.
- Two different MIP workshops at the April 2015 Ecumenical Advocacy Days Conference. The first workshop examined the rise of for-profit prisons. The second workshop focused on problems in our communities affected by MIP and how workshop participants could advocate for change.
- A June 2015 presentation at the Franciscan Federation conference in Indianapolis, Indiana to Third Order Franciscans all across the country about the role of money in politics and how it affects the "first issues" that Franciscans care and advocate about. An additional money in politics workshop with Doug Hughes, "The Gyrocopter Guy" was held at the 2016 Ecumenical Advocacy Days Conference.
- A January 2016 Money in Politics Symposium in New Hampshire with local faith and government leaders as well as Sr. Simone Campbell and Karenna Gore.
- Coordination and implementation of two different interfaith prayer vigils including the creation of a "golden calf" at the April 2016 Democracy Awakening rally and campaign.
Johnson Amendment Resources:
An article about the Johnson Amendment letter delivery in The Hill can be found here.
Click here to sign the people of faith money in politics petition calling for a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics.
Money in Politics Op-Ed
Climate Money in Politics Presentation Slides
House Sign on Letter
Climate One Pager
Gun Violence Prevention One Pager
Immigration/Private Prisons One Pager
House Briefing Media Advisory
House Briefing Pictures
Fact Sheet on Political Spending Post-Citizens United
SJ Res. 19 Udall Amendment Press Release
Money in Politics House of Representatives Sign-On Letter
Institute for Policy Research Bulletin on Money in Politics
Catholic News Service article about Oct. 1st workshop at Catholic University
National Catholic Reporter Interview about MIP with FAN ED Patrick Carolan
Money in Politics State Based Supporters Map
Sojourners Op-Ed on the Pope and Money in Politics
Letter from Missisippi Faith Leaders in Support of "Faithful Democracy" Campaign
Private Prisons Op-Ed in Houston Chronicle
Video: Morality and Big Money - We The People Convention with FAN's Patrick Carolan
Video: New Hampshire Money in Politics Faith Symposium
Supreme Court Sign On Letter
Money in Politics: What's FCNL Doing About It?
Op-Ed by FAN's Patrick Carolan: What Religion Has to Do With Campaign Finance and Voting Rights
"Money still talks the loudest in gun violence debate" Op-ed on money in politics and gun violence
Five Part Series on the Role of Faith and Money in Politics
Part One: To Change the Power Behind the Law
Part Two: Renew Our Democracy: Break the Chains Between Campaign Finance and Private Prisons
Part Three: Caught in the Net of Corporate Greed: Our Immigrant Sisters and Brothers
Part Four: Buying a Seat at the Negotiating Table: Money and Trade Agreements
Part Five: Fiscal Transparency and Good Governance: Ensuring that communities bearing the burden receive the profits
For more information about the campaign, email Jason Miller, FAN Director of Campaigns and Development.