This is a new movement with the goal of uniting various election reform organizations together to win the fight and finally reclaim our democracy. It was started by two citizens who are outraged at how much our Republic is controlled by big money interests. We have both volunteered with several election reform organizations, but have realized that there's a limit to the success of these and other organizations if everyone continues to work in silos and use strategies that have limited impact.
We strongly support a strategy of asking State Legislatures to pass Resolutions calling for an Article V Convention (AVC), and have volunteered with Wolf-PAC to help VT, CA, IL, and NJ pass Resolutions calling for an AVC. We support a strategy to ask Congress to pass Constitutional Amendments, and that this should happen simultaneously with the effort to get 34 states to call for an AVC. After seeing years of dysfunction and gridlock, we have more faith in asking State Legislators to call for an AVC, but we're hopeful that Congress will step up and pass Constitutional Amendments on their own.
SHANE MCLOUD is an election reform advocate and a political consultant. Most of his professional life has been teaching and inspiring children in the classroom, teaching at two public elementary schools in central Los Angeles (1997-2007). He also served on the School Board (2002-2006) and the Personnel Commission (2008-2012) for the Santa Monica-Malbu USD. Prior to teaching, he worked for two LA County Supervisors from 1994-1997 as Transportation Deputy advising them as MTA Board members on how to create a great mass transit system. He moved from LA to Sacramento in 2012 to work for a non profit education reform organization. After a year of advocating legislation that would have improved the quality of CA schools, but seeing no progress due to the huge influence of money in our election system, he made reforming the election system and reducing the influence of big money in politics as his main priorities.
From January 2015 to August of 2016, Shane served as the campaign manager for Voters' Right To Know, a statewide ballot measure for the 2016 election. After several of the reforms in the initiative were adopted by the state legislature, the signature effort was discontinued in March of 2016. The initiative's overall goals were to improve transparency and disclosure laws in California, give voters the constitutional right to know the true sources of political spending, and establish California as the national model for campaign finance disclosure. The major outcome of this project was the passage of SB 1349, introduced by State Senator Bob Hertzberg. SB 1349 makes the statewide disclosure system (CAL-Access) easy to use – for campaigns, citizens, and the media. When the overhaul of the CAL-Access system is completed in 2018, Californians will have among the most reliable, up-to-date, and easily understood view in the country of the money behind campaigns. This will shine a light on the flow of political money, align government policy with voters’ interests, and restore civic engagement in our democracy. For more information, visit www.VotersRightToKnow.org
Shane volunteers as a political activists and consultant for several election reform organizations, and serves on the Advisory Board for a non profit education reform organization called Parents Advocate League. As a public servant from 1993 to present, he has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in politics. He knows how money has corrupted the political system, and believes that a movement to reform our election system has to come from We the People (the first 3 words of our US Constitution) if we are ever to see significant reform in education or any other important issue (immigration, health care, marriage equality, tax reform, etc.). He has a BA in Sociology from Loyola Marymount University (1990) and a MA in Public Administration from CA State Long Beach (1995). An idealist and an optimist, he sees the world as it should be more so than they way that it is, and believes that America is experiencing a perfect storm for political reform.
JIM FORBES has been a practicing attorney since he graduated from McGeorge School of Law in 1978. He practiced in several fields, most of which were consumer-rights oriented. Jim practiced bankruptcy law after the crash of 2008. Every day he met with competent and honestclients who had been ruined by the housing market meltdown. Jim could see that the housing bubble had formed as the result of the irresponsible lending system put in place by Wall Street. He believes that Wall Street got into the sub-prime lending market after it managed to get across-the-board deregulation of derivatives. The sale of unregulated derivatives, and especially mortgage backed securities, led to the housing bubble, because Wall Street was able to make obscene profits trading the derivatives. The crash that followed was the inevitable result of Wall Street’s irresponsible and unfair banking practices.
Derivatives were mostly deregulated during the Clinton Administration. Deregulation was the direct result of the biggest Wall Street banks contributing massive campaign and lobbying money to influence lawmakers. Wall Street and a number of other sectors now have control over much of our government as a result of the Supreme Court's drastic changes to the Constitution and our system of funding elections.
In January of 2010, after the Supreme Court decided the Citizens United case, Jim realized that our country was in dire straits. Big money in politics resulted in a string of horrible policy decisions in Washington. Jim resolved to devote his time to getting a 28th Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United and related campaign finance cases, and has volunteered for several organizations who are committed to that goal. After seeing the limited progress that many organizations have had to create a strong movement and pass a Constitutional Amendment, he teamed up with Shane to help launch the Election Reformers Coalition. Like Shane, he believes that the coalition has the ability to get a 28th Amendment through the state legislatures and through a convention of the states under Article V of the Constitution. Jim's position paper can be found by clicking OVERTURN CITIZENS UNITED at the top of the page.
Election Reformers Coalition is a movement that is part of the larger organization, We Must Do Better.
The ERC is in the early creation phase, as you can tell from the basic web site (launched in December of 2014) and limited information. Details on the web site, as well as the addition of organizations in the Coalition will expand over time. We are volunteers who are committed to contributing to the effort that so many great organizations have started. Please be patient as we improve the web site and add more details of the Coalition, as we get input from the Coalition members.
For now, our focus is to: 1) Increase awareness of the Article V Convention so that the potential member organizations who want to join the Coalition realize that the AVC is the best strategy to achieve Constitutional Amendments; 2) Build relationships with organizations that will make the Coalition strong; 3) Strategize with Coalition members to make the Coalition successful.
If you have any questions, would like to join ERC or for more information, feel free to contact us.