On Tuesday the winners of the Democracy For All Video Challenge were announced at an event aimed at putting the issue of big money in politics front-and-center and creating a platform for people to express themselves and take action to support the Democracy For All Amendment.
Two advocacy organizations, Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way, created the video challenge that encouraged Americans to produce public service announcements supporting the proposed Democracy For All Amendment.
Speaking at the National Press Club event was U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and U.S. Representative Ted Deutch (FL-21), who are lead cosponsors of the Democracy For All Amendment (H.J.Res.22, S.J.Res.5). The winning videos were announced by Academy Award-nominated actress Kathleen Turner, with Say No To Big Money president Jeff Haggin and People For the American Way president Michael Keegan and executive vice president Marge Baker also speaking.
The grand prize video, “Voters, assemble!” was created by Bryan Warner – a nonprofit communications director from Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina – and uses animation to depict a secret meeting between a group of villains who are plotting to nefariously influence politics by using big money. The video illustrates how easy it is for corporations and special interest groups to buy their way into Washington and influence policy in their favor. As the grand prize winner of the video challenge, Warner will receive $25,000.
“Americans are fed up with millionaires and billionaires pumping money into shadowy Super PACs to buy our elections,” said Sen. Udall. “And thanks to the Supreme Court’s flawed decisions, including Citizens United six years ago, Congress is powerless to pass common-sense campaign finance laws. That’s why I’m pushing for a constitutional amendment to overturn those bad decisions so we can get big money out of politics. Millions of Americans nationwide have joined this grassroots push, and the Democracy For All Video Challenge has been a creative way to amplify our cause. Each video speaks to the core of our message – voters should have the loudest voices in our democracy, not wealthy special interests.”
Congressman Deutch added, “A democracy for sale is not a democracy for all. Until we overturn Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United, corporations and a handful of billionaires will continue to spend hundreds of millions of dollars buying our elections and setting the agenda in Washington. Like the Democracy for All Amendment, the Democracy for All video contest is about elevating the voices of everyday Americans who may not be able to afford their own Super PACs but who have every right to be heard.”
Awards were also given to five other videos, with the creators receiving $5,000 each. The winners were: “The Most Influential Man” (funniest video), “Voice of the 99” (most dramatic video), “American Show” (best original song), “Why Our Democracy Needs to be Changed” (best student video) and “Our Democracy is Not For Sale” (most creative video). All the winning videos can be viewed here.
“The Democracy For All Video Challenge was created to tap into the creative potential of Americans who support a constitutional amendment that allows for reasonable limits to be set on money in elections,” said Jeff Haggin, president of Say No To Big Money. “Instead of hiring an advertising agency to produce spots promoting campaign finance reform, we decided to enable the true voice of Americans to be heard and give people across the country a chance to earn money for their efforts.”
“This contest, like the amendment itself, was all about restoring the true spirit of the First Amendment,” added Marge Baker, executive vice president of People For the American Way. “There’s so much creative energy in the movement to get big money out of politics, and we wanted to put the voices of everyday Americans front and center.”
The Democracy For All Amendment, currently being considered by Congress with 144 cosponsors in the House and 41 supporters in the Senate, would overturn cases such as Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court case that paved the way for unlimited political spending by corporations and the super wealthy.
People For the American Way (PFAW) is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy. More information is available at www.PFAW.org.
Say No To Big Money is a 501c4 nonprofit corporation for the public benefit with the mission of supporting the ratification of the Democracy For All Amendment that will regulate campaign contributions. Say No To Big Money is nonpartisan and does not promote or take sides on any political issues nor endorse candidates or elections. More information is available at www.SayNoToBigMoney.com.