Praise for Two Champions of American Democracy

To start the year, a couple of good notices for two real champions of American democracy. First, Joanne Boyer’s respected Minnesota-based blog, Wisdom Voices, has profiled John Bonifaz, co-founder and director of Free Speech For People:

Without fundamental change to the Citizens United ruling, there is little hope that anything but moneyed interests will prevail in the fight for social, economic or environmental justice. To coin a phrase from a great Paul Newman movie: This is the issue. There are no other issues. . . .  Bonifaz and his organization’s relentless work  remain one of the greatest beacons of hope to overturning Citizens United.

The full piece is here.

Second, John Nichols’s annual “progressive honor roll” in The Nation highlights Steve Bullock, the Montana Attorney General (now Governor) who has battled for the freedom of the American people and the states to protect fair elections from domination by big corporations and the richest people in the world. Here’s what Nichols says about Bullock:

In a year that saw too many state officials engaged in voter suppression, Bullock was busy defending democracy. He fought all the way to the Supreme Court to preserve Montana’s 100-year-old Corrupt Practices Act and its ban on corporate campaign money. It was the highest-profile legal challenge to the Court’s Citizens United ruling, and Bullock was cheered on by national reformers like John Bonifaz and Jeff Clements of the Free Speech for People campaign. Montana papers hailed Bullock’s “valiant stand for what is right.” In a 5-4 decision, the high court refused to respect the Montana law, and with it the right of states and municipalities to regulate corporate abuse of the political process. But Bullock wasn’t about to stop there. He ran for governor with a campaign that declared: “If you believe elections should be decided by Montanans, not out-of-state corporations, stand with Steve Bullock.” And despite big spending by the special interests, voters did just that—making the reformer their new governor.

And that’s not to mention Bullock’s inspiration and leadership that contributed to having 75% of Montanans vote in favor of a ballot initiative supporting the 28th Amendment to reverse Citizens United and the fabrication of “corporate rights” in our Constitution. See Landslide!

 

About Jeff Clements

Jeff Clements is co-founder and chair of the board of Free Speech for People, a national non-partisan campaign to overturn Citizens United v. FEC, challenge excessive corporate power, and strengthen American democracy and republican self-government. He co-founded Free Speech For People in 2010, after representing several public interest organizations with a Supreme Court amicus brief in the Citizens United case. Jeff has served as Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Public Protection Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. As Bureau Chief, he led more than 100 staff in the enforcement of environmental, healthcare, financial services, civil rights, antitrust and consumer protection laws. In private practice, Jeff has been a partner at Mintz Levin in Boston, and in his own firm. Jeff also has served in leadership capacities on numerous boards, including that of the Portland Water District, a public agency responsible for protecting and delivering safe drinking water and ensuring proper treatment of wastewater for 160,000 people; Friends of Casco Bay, an environmental organization he co-founded with others to protect and enhance stewardship of Maine’s Casco Bay; and The Waldorf School in Lexington, Massachusetts. In 2012, Jeff co-founded Whaleback Partners LLC, which provides cost-effective capital to farmers and businesses engaged in local, sustainable agriculture. Jeff graduated with distinction in History and Government from Colby College in 1984, and magna cum laude from the Cornell Law School in 1988. He lives in Concord, Massachusetts with his wife and three children. Jeff Clements Twitter: @ClementsJeff Email: jclements@freespeechforpeople.org
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