Thursday, February 25, 2010

Progressvie Working Group: Help Needed in Surge for Camapign Fianance Reform

Dear friends,

 The Progressive Working Group (PWG) has made campaign finance reform one of its top priority issues in this legislative session in Annapolis. Twenty-four progressive groups signed on to support the coalition, because progressives understand that changing the way campaigns are financed will help eliminate the inordinate influences of special interests and thus make it more possible for us to win advances on the issues we all care about.

We are at a critical stage with campaign finance reform (CFR) legislation, particularly with SB 681  "The Clean Money Bill"  which provides for statewide public financing of campaigns, and we are asking for your help.

The senators shown below are either wavering or may accept weakening amendments, and they are critical to the passage of CFR. The most effective way we can put pressure on them is for constituents from our organizations who live in the Senators' districts to contact them, preferably through personal visits in Annapolis.  (Phone calls, emails are a second-choice alternative.)  

We ask you to send the following letter to your membership.  If we can find just 4 or 5 constituents for each Senator listed, it would be a great help.  Once we get volunteers, we will work with Progressive Maryland and Common Cause/MD to arrange the visits and provide assistance for the volunteers.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Progressive Working Group Steering Committee:  Sharon Dooley, Mike Hersh, Norm Oslik, Dana Beyer, Wally Malakoff, Mike Tabor


Letter to  Members

Dear _____,

As you may be aware, our organization has been participating in the Progressive Working Group, a coalition of 24 groups that has made campaign finance reform a top priority.  Our organization is supporting this effort because we believe that changing the way campaigns are financed will help eliminate the inordinate influences of special interests and thus make it more possible for us to win advances on the issues we care about.

We are looking for volunteers to help win campaign finance reform which is at a critical stage in the State Senate SB 682 -  "The Clean Money Bill"  which provides for statewide public financing of campaigns - needs the support of the senators shown below who are wavering in their support or may accept weakening amendments.  Can you help on this important issue?

Specifically, we are looking for people who live in the Districts of the wavering or critical Senators who can come to Annapolis to participate in visits to these Senators. We will set up appointments and brief you on what needs to be said.  (In most cases, we will also have a lobbyist at the appointment to help out.)  If we can win these Senators' support, campaign finance reform should pass the Senate, and the House of Delegates has already indicated its support.  We also need to resist weakening amendments so it's important to contact other Senators as well.

If you can volunteer, please contact Norm Oslik at 301-322-5272 or _______. 

If you are unable to participate  in lobbying in Annapolis, please call, write, or email your Senators, whether they are listed below or not. Talking points appear below; the basic message is to support SB 681, "The Clean Money Bill" and reject weakening amendments.

If you are unsure of your Senator or need an email address, go to the Maryland General Assembly website at

Thank you.



Senators Wavering On Or Critical To Campaign Finance Reform


1.       Sen. Mike Miller (Dist. 27  Prince George's/Calvert) The Senate President is obviously a key player.

2.       Sen. Edward Kasemeyer (Dist. 12  Baltimore Co./Howard Co.) Is a sponsor and the Senate Majority Leader.  Very important person to visit/call/email and asked to firmly resist weakening amendments.

3.       Sen. Nathaniel Exum (Dist. 24  Prince George's)

4.       Sen. Ulysses Currie (Dist. 25  Prince George's)

5.       Sen. Catherine E. Pugh (Dist. 40  Baltimore City) Is "shaky" on the bill, perhaps even an opponent.  Needs to be contacted and asked how she'll vote on SB 681.

6.       Sen. Joan Carter Conway (Dist. 43 - Baltimore. City Chair of Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.  She said she would support the legislation, but she usually acts on President Mike Miller's decisions. Visit/call/email and encourage.

7.       Senator George Della, Jr - D, D46. Baltimore City.  He's OK on this legislation but he should be encouraged to resist weakening amendments.

8.       Senator James N. Robey, D, D13, Howard County.  A sponsor.  Needs encouragement and encouraged to resist weakening amendments.

Campaign Finance Reform Talking Points


"I believe big money has a corrupting effect on the legislative process.  Polls consistently show the public's disillusionment with government." 

1.       SB 681 provides for voluntary public financing of campaigns. 

2.       It frees candidates and lawmakers from incessant fundraising, giving them more time to listen to regular voters.

3.       It removes the corrosive appearance that lawmakers listen more to big campaign contributors than to regular citizens.

4.       It will restore public confidence in government.

5.       Will Senator ________ support this bill?

See Progressive Maryland fact sheet on campaign finance reform legislation: 

Note: The Senate hearing on SB 681 is scheduled for March 11th at 1pm before the Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.




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