Close your eyes and imagine America circumventing a do-nothing Congress, and a blatantly partisan Supreme Court of the United States, to effect necessary democratic change. Daydream for a moment about empowered citizens successfully lobbying State governments to create a mechanism for reversing the corrosive influence of private money into local, regional and national elections.
Now open your eyes. Because the fantasy is rapidly becoming reality.
According to Kira Elliot, an Illinois volunteer for Wolf PAC, “The sad fact is that most of us have no idea about the power offered by Article V of the Constitution.” It is with regret I report that until earlier this week, this columnist was of that number.
Slightly excerpted, Article V reads as follows:
“The Congress…on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress.”
Enter Wolf PAC. A grassroots effort spawned by the enormously popular Young Turk Network, Wolf’s mission is boldly simple. Per the group’s website, “We must reverse Citizens United, Restore our Democracy, and Save the Republic. Join the Fight for Free and Fair Elections in America!” But the message is more than mere rhetoric. Using the basis of Article V, Wolf PAC has a plan – and it’s working.
Elliott says, “We need 34 states to pass a resolution calling for the aforementioned convention of States. Once convened, if 75 percent of those States vote to remove all private money from politics – individual, corporate and labor union – the vote will be on its way to becoming the 28th amendment to the Constitution.”
She admits that some States will be a tougher sell than others. The group began its work seeking sign-on from the largest and most liberal in the Union. After initial success with Vermont and California, the Wolf PAC enjoyed perhaps its most unlikely victory on December 3, 2014. That is the day when SJR 42 was adopted by both houses of the Illinois Congress.
When asked how the Wolf PAC managed to pull this off in a State so notorious for corruption and machine politics that two of the last three Governors have gone on to serve time in Federal prison, Elliot says that is precisely the point. She observes, “The reason Illinois was able to get it done, and so quickly, is BECAUSE we are infamously corrupt. When Wolf PAC started getting its campaign together in the State, we found plenty of people willing to get involved.”
So passionate are the Wolf Packers about removing outside financial influence from our elections, State volunteers often stay on to lobby the next legislature on the list. The committed members of the group understand that this must be more than a cause of the moment. It took us decades to get to this place of moneyed electoral exploitation. To that end, according to Elliott, “We’re now calling citizens of other States and asking them to contact their legislators. We provide them with a list of names. New Jersey is looking ever more realistic. The resolution just needs to get past the House.”
She offers one other reason for the political action committee’s growing success – a sense of shared responsibility and community. Quite apart from the cynical, shortsighted and selfish halls of Capitol Hill, or the disingenuously impartial pretensions of the SCOTUS, Wolf Packers understand the power of relationship building and sustained teamwork. Elliott offers, “Anyone can join the Wolf PAC and there are meetups all over the country. I believe that’s where camaraderie spawns and the activism gels. We are just as dedicated to each other as we are the cause!”
For more information on Wolf PAC, and to learn how you can start taking action right now, click here.
It’s easy to forget who we are sometimes, lost in the daily shuffle of life and the dysfunctional workings of our political system as we become. But we are a nation of self-starters and entrepreneurs. Armed with the right information and energy, we can work together to fix some of our biggest problems – including the financial takeover of our democracy. The Koch Brothers are on notice.