LA, SF, NYC, Houston, Sacramento – 99Rise Citizen activists from across the country ended their water-only fast yesterday after weeks of deprivation in a bid to elevate the issue of money-in-politics corruption during this year’s midterm election. Those fasting had urged voters to exclusively support candidates who support pro-democracy reforms that would overturn the Supreme Court’s recent Citizen United and McCutcheon decisions through a constitutional amendment and federal legislation.
“It’s a bittersweet moment for me.” said 99Rise co-founder Kai Newkirk who broke his 18-day fast last night. “Our fast has come to an end, but it comes in the wake of a devastating election, stolen from the American people by corporations and billionaires who bankrolled these campaigns to the tune of 4 billion dollars. That’s an auction, not a democratic election.”
2014 was the most expensive midterm election in the country’s history, with an estimated 1 billion of the total 4 billion spent on campaigns coming from undisclosed outside sources, commonly known as “dark money”. Among senate races, candidates who supported pro-democracy reforms were half as likely to be elected.
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Over 40 people from across the country fasted in solidarity with Newkirk as part of the Fast for Democracy, including Stephen Bass (LA), who fasted 15 days and Laura Rubalcaba (Sacramento), who fasted 13 days. The campaign reached tens of thousands of voters.
“We have to get money out of politics.” said Newkirk. “One of our next steps in building this movement will be to organize a mass civil disobedience campaign to create a genuine moral and political crisis around this issue that can’t be ignored by policymakers, the press, or the public. Then we will have the popular support to drive through fundamental reform that will give we the people a real democracy. You can look out for us in 2015.”