Citizens United, Super PACs and the Fight for Our Democracy
Session Type(s): Panel
Starts: Friday, Jun. 8 3:00 PM
Ends: Friday, Jun. 8 4:15 PM
Room: Ballroom A
The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United opened the floodgates to massive amounts of anonymous corporate spending in our elections and allowed Super PACs to spend millions on campaign ads with no accountability. In the Republican presidential primary, we’ve seen Super PACs acting as shadow arms of the candidates’ campaigns. This new doctrine of “corporate speech rights” threatens to drown out the voices of the American people. Organized by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Center for American Progress Action Fund, this panel will examine the far-reaching impact of Citizens United and discuss how legislators, activists, bloggers and stakeholders can help restore sanity to our elections.
Tom Perriello is the President of the Center for American Progress Action Fund and former U.S. representative for Virginia’s fifth congressional district. While representing rural, urban, and suburban communities across central and southern Virginia, Perriello served on the Veterans Affairs and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees. After leaving office, he conducted research and wrote commentary on the Arab Spring through a variety of nongovernment organizations. Prior to his service in Congress, Perriello managed teams working on conflict resolution and democratic transitions in Africa, Afghanistan, and other regions. Perriello has helped launch numerous non-profits including Faith in Public Life, FaithfulAmerica.org, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, and Catholics United. He is a native of Ivy, Virginia and a graduate of Yale University and the Yale Law School.
Becky Bond is the president of the CREDO SuperPAC and the political director of CREDO Mobile. Becky has been at the forefront of the online to offline organizing movement since she joined CREDO in 2000, combining innovative technology, rapid response, measurable results, volunteer engagement and a passionate commitment to winning progressive victories. Organizing with CREDO, Becky has grown a community of 3 million activists who take action on issues ranging from defending choice to protecting net neutrality to fighting climate change and ending unjust wars. She also led the 2004 campaign to register one million anti-war citizens as well as the “Hell NO on 23″ campaign, CREDO’s victorious 2010 effort to crush Texas oil and save California’s global warming law. Becky serves on the board of the New Organizing Institute.
Sherrod Brown is a tireless advocate for Ohioans and middle class families across the country. He has been a leader on health care issues throughout his time in Congress — he doesn’t think any American should live one illness away from bankruptcy. He is fighting to ensure that efforts to rebuild the economy focus on Main Street as well as Wall Street. And he is committed to caring for this country’s manufacturing base — leading the charge to hold China accountable for it’s unfair trade practices and level the playing field for American companies.
From protecting Medicare and Social Security to helping our small businesses thrive, Sherrod Brown isn’t afraid to stand up for the American middle class. Sherrod is currently running for reelection to the U.S. Senate in his home state of Ohio, where he faces a tight race against right-wing Republican Josh Mandel.
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley is the son of a millwright and the first in his family to attend college. Born in the timber town of Myrtle Creek, Oregon, Merkley has spent his career fighting to increase opportunities for working families. For more information about Senator Jeff Merkley and the work he’s doing for Oregon, please visit his website at www.merkley.senate.gov
Trevor Potter is a member in Caplin & Drysdale’s Washington, D.C. office, where he leads the firm’s Political Law Practice. He is one of the country’s best-known and most experienced campaign and election lawyers, and a former Commissioner and Chairman of the Federal Election Commission. He has been described by the American Bar Association Journal as “hands-down one of the top lawyers in the country on the delicate intersection of politics, law and money.” He is also the founding President and General Counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington, DC non-partisan non-profit that has focused on campaign finance issues, beginning with the Constitutional defense of the McCain-Feingold law. Mr. Potter served as General Counsel to John McCain 2008 and 2000 presidential campaigns. He also served as Deputy General Counsel to the George H.W. Bush 1988 campaign.
Mr. Potter now represents Stephen Colbert and his SuperPAC and 501C-4. He advises Mr. Colbert on campaign finance issues on The Colbert Report.
Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, is thrilled to welcome Netroots Nation to his home state this year. In the Senate, Sheldon has been a tireless advocate for progressive causes, fighting for the issues that touch our lives every day – from job creation and economic development, to health care, the environment, and the education of our kids. Sheldon has also introduced the Paying A Fair Share Act, legislation that would turn the Buffett Rule into law, and currently leads the Senate Democrats’ Citizens United Task Force. Prior to his election to the Senate in 2006, Sheldon served as Rhode Island’s U.S. Attorney and State Attorney General. You can keep up to date with him on Facebook and Twitter.