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Every Voice Speaks

Every Voice Speaks is a podcast that discusses political news and issues of the day -- especially the different effects of money on politics. Adam Smith, communications director at Every Voice, interviews experts on a variety of money-in-politics subjects. This is a production of Every Voice, an organization working to ensure that every voice is heard in our democracy. Learn more at www.everyvoice.org.
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Now displaying: 2015
Dec 10, 2015

Why would an organization concerned with the environment care about money in politics? That's the question we ask Courtney Hight of the Sierra Club this week. She explains how big money distorts the legislative process, why and how she got arrested, and how people can triumph over dollars. 

Links from this episode:

http://sierraclub.org/

http://www.democracyforus.org/

 

Dec 3, 2015

Kurt Walters of Rootstrikers joins us this week to talk about the Securities and Exchange Commission, the federal agency tasked with regulating Wall Street. It doesn't seem to be doing a very good job of that! Kurt talks about the agency's problems, especially with its leadership, and some steps that you can take right now to demand it enforce disclosure of secret money and hold its chair, Mary Jo White, accountable. 

Links from this episode:

http://www.rootstrikers.org/

http://presidentobamaslegacy.org/?source=everyvoice

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/where_is_mary_jo_white/

http://everyvoice.org/podcast/shining-a-light-on-secret-money

http://everyvoice.org/podcast/democracy-matters

http://everyvoice.org/podcast/hedge-clippers

 

Nov 26, 2015

Adam and Francoise coach you on how best to steer the inevitable political arguments around the Thanksgiving table to a hopeful and happy discussion about money in politics. They also tell you how much money the foods on your dinner table have spent on lobbying and political campaigns (spoiler: your turkey leans Republican). All this plus an update on the status of Connecticut's Citizens' Election Program since last week. Oh, and puns. So. Many. Puns.

Links from this episode:

http://everyvoice.org/posts/thanksgiving-money-politics-cheat-sheet

Nov 19, 2015

We've talked a good bit about the recent wins in Maine and Seattle, but did you know that Connecticut has had one of the best and most successful statewide system for public funding for candidates for 10 years? And that now that program is under attack? We talk to Nick Nyhart about how the Citizens' Election Program works, why it came about, who uses it, and how you can get involved in ensuring that it remains functioning and strong.

Links from this episode:

http://www.demos.org/publication/fresh-start-impact-public-campaign-financing-connecticut

http://everyvoice.org/connecticut

 

Nov 12, 2015

Earlier this week, a coalition of 57 organizations delivered 850,000 signatures to the White House, calling on Obama to sign an executive order that would require all corporate federal contractors to disclose their political donations. We spoke to Jonah Minkoff-Zern of Public Citizen about the origins of the campaign for this executive order, what the order would do and the impact it would have, and the many ways that people can get involved in the effort. Plus -- Jonah surprises even himself with his favorite kind of Thanksgiving pie. 

Links from this episode:

http://citizen.org/citizensunitednoaction/

http://www.democracyisforpeople.org/

And Jonah's Twitter account really is @jonahmz

 

Nov 6, 2015

It was a pretty great week for money in politics with two big wins at the ballot in Maine and Seattle. Adam talks to Francoise Stovall and Rahna Epting about what the policies were that passed, how they'll empower everyday people, what these wins means for the country as a whole, and what the vibe was like at the doors as they spoke to voters. Plus, some pretty great election day and victory party stories. 

Links from this episode: 

http://honestelectionsseattle.org/

http://www.accountableelections.org/

http://everyvoice.org/podcast/maine-part-i

http://everyvoice.org/podcast/maine-part-ii

http://everyvoice.org/podcast/maine-part-iii

Oct 29, 2015

When Joan Mandle's son signed a lucrative contract with the NBA, they sat down as a family to decide how he wanted to use that money for good. And thus: Democracy Matters was born. Adam speaks to Joan (who also happens to chair the Every Voice board) about how she works to engage and excite young people about the issue of money in politics, and how the Democracy Matters interns learn to organize and create real social change on the issues they care about most. If you are a college student, or know a college student, this one is for you. 

Links from this episode: 

http://www.democracymatters.org/

http://everyvoice.org/podcast/new-hampshire-rebellion

 

Oct 22, 2015

When Stephen Lerner was working for labor and education groups in New York, he kept finding that the opposition's money was coming from the same handful of hedge fund billionaires. And so Hedge Clippers was formed -- an organization that calls attention to the hedge funders buying politics, and aims to make their support a liability against the politicians who take their money. Stephen and Adam break down how hedge funders perpetuate their wealth by supporting politicians who in turn support tax breaks and other legislation that helps the hedge funders.

Links from this episode:

http://hedgeclippers.org/

http://easthamptonstar.com/Villages/7/250-Protest-Inequality-Cuomo-Fund-Raiser-East-Hampton-Village

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzON9ky27GM

 

Oct 15, 2015

This week, Adam welcomes Justin Miller, a reporter from the American Prospect, to the podcast. After a little Democratic debate debrief, they dive into Justin's newest article, which looks at the ways that states and cities are tackling big money politics themselves, without waiting for national politicians to catch up. They talk about the people who have run and won in Arizona and Connecticut, and how those people are shaking up politics as usual. Then they take a look at the campaigns in Maine and Seattle, and what those campaigns mean for national reform efforts in 2016 and beyond. All this, plus Justin's favorite fair food. 

Links from this episode: http://prospect.org/article/can-campaign-finance-be-reformed-bottom

Oct 8, 2015

October has already been a terrible month for gun violence, and more and more people are wondering why their elected officials aren't doing anything about it. We invited Mark Glaze in discuss how guns, money, lobbying, and politics are connected. As the former executive director of Every Town for Gun Safety and the current executive director of the Voter Participation Center, Mark explains where the National Rifle Association gets its money, how it spends it to achieve the policies it wants, and how you can get involved to make sure your representatives listen to the majority of their constituents when it comes to gun safety laws.

Links from this episode:

http://everytown.org/

http://www.voterparticipation.org/

 

Oct 1, 2015

Citizens United gets a lot of attention, but things weren't great before that Supreme Court ruling. This week, Adam delves into the history with Nick Nyhart, the president of Every Voice Center. They discuss the Supreme Court ruling in the 1976 case of Buckley v Valeo: what the case was about, how the court ruled, and how we're still seeing the effects in politics today. 

Sep 24, 2015

Adam is out this week and so Francoise sits down with Dan Weeks, the executive director of the New Hampshire Rebellion. So who's rebelling in New Hampshire, and why? Why does it involve walking so many miles in the cold? Why did Paul Revere get thrown out of an event? How can you get involved? And what's the one thing you simply must do if you're visiting New Hampshire? Answers to these questions, and more! 

Links from this episode:

http://www.nhrebellion.org/

http://www.stampstampede.org/

http://everyvoice.org/podcast/fight-big-money

Sep 17, 2015

Every Voice Speaks goes on the road and visits Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) at his office on Capitol Hill. Adam and Rep. Sarbanes break down the basics of the Government By the People Act, why it is needed, and how it would change the incentives to transform business as usual in government. And the number one thing that you can do: don't give up! 

Sep 10, 2015

After a setback from the Supreme Court on Maine's Clean Election law, Mainers are fighting for accountable elections. Adam talks to Andy Bossie, the executive director of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, about the ballot campaign and how the new initiative will fix and improve the existing law. Andy talks about the momentum on the campaign, how you can get involved, and what he finds so inspiring about the campaign. 

Links from the episode:

http://www.accountableelections.org

https://www.facebook.com/AccountableElections

https://twitter.com/accountable2ME 

Sep 3, 2015

What's it like to run for office if you only have to collect small contributions? This week, Adam speaks with Ann Luther, board member for both Maine Citizens for Clean Elections and Mainers for Accountable Elections, for the answer to that question. Once the Maine Clean Election Act went into effect in 2000, the diversity of the Maine legislature increased, the kinds of laws being passed changed, and it was easier to recruit great candidates. But a Supreme Court ruling has made the law less effective in the last few years, with fewer candidates running using the system. 

Links from the episode:

http://www.accountableelections.org/

Aug 27, 2015

In 1996, voters in Maine passed a law based on a simple idea: that the amount of people supporting a candidate should matter more than the amount of dollars a candidate could raise. Adam talks to David Donnelly, the president of Every Voice and the campaign manager of that campaign 19 years ago. David recalls the inspiring people he met on the campaign, the strategy they used to win, the nail biter on election day --  there's even a love story! This is the first of a three-part series on Maine.

Aug 20, 2015

This week, Adam talks to Rio Tazewell, the campaign coordinator at People For The American Way. Rio breaks down the Citizens United decision -- what exactly it does, how things have changed since, and how the Democracy For All amendment can fix it. Then they talk about Rio's latest project -- a video contest where you can win up to $25,000 for submitting a video about Democracy For All and money in politics! 

Links from the episode: 

http://democracyforall.com/

http://www.pfaw.org/

Aug 13, 2015

Adam is on vacation this week, so Francoise usurps his hosting duties once again and welcomes Rahna Epting to the show. Rahna is the chief of staff at Every Voice, and has been working to get the presidential campaigns to commit to a specific and meaningful agenda to fight big money and empower people in politics. They go over the five main principles of the agenda, the specific policies that candidates should commit to, and the progress of getting the candidates to endorse this agenda. No Beyonce references this week, but we do learn where Rahna would live if she could pick any place in the world. 

From the episode:

http://talkingaboutmoneyin2016.tumblr.com/

http://everyvoice.org/fightbigmoney

http://youtu.be/VVyfMiTNyto

Aug 6, 2015

Adam speaks with Tam Doan, the research director at our sister organization, Every Voice Center. They talk about the findings from Tam's latest research about who, exactly, the big donors are to the presidential campaigns. And you'll never guess what happens next! Actually, you probably will: they're mostly white and super rich. But Tam does drop a few bombshells, like that HALF of the $74 million raised in large individual donations came from 1 percent of the country's zip codes, or that 19 super PAC donors EACH gave more money than all the majority black areas in the country COMBINED! Adam also finds a way to work Beyonce into the conversation, and we find out the one question Tam would ask at the GOP presidential debate. 

To read the report they're talking about, visit: http://www.everyvoicecenter.org/the-issue/. To read the Demos Stacked Deck report they reference in the episode, visit http://www.demos.org/stacked-deck-how-dominance-politics-affluent-business-undermines-economic-mobility-america.

Jul 30, 2015

Adam is back this week, and ready to talk about the presidential candidates and how they're raising and spending money. Adam and Francoise tackle some of the big questions, like who's raised the most money? Who's spent the most money? Who's raised the most from small donors? And what would Adam do if he could wave his magic wand?

Jul 23, 2015

You may have heard a lot lately about super PACs -- it seems like every presidential has one these days. If you don't know what a super PAC is, you're not alone, so this week, we speak with Jenn Williams, the director of major gifts at Every Voice, who breaks down what a PAC is, what a super PAC is, and how the two are different. We also talk about the rise of super PACs, and how it's giving a handful of very wealthy people a big voice in the political process.

Jul 16, 2015

This week, Adam talks to Laura Friedenbach. In addition to being Every Voice's press secretary, Laura lived in the UK for five years. They talk about the differences in how money and politics mix in the UK, including short, defined campaigns, party spending limits, and the recent introduction of debates.

Jul 9, 2015

This week, Adam speaks with Will Roberts, the legislative director at Every Voice Center. Will is a registered lobbyist himself, and he explains to Adam what he does all day, how he differs from corporate lobbyists, how lobbyists end up writing legislation, and what steps we can take to ensure that our representatives listen more to voters, and less to lobbyists. 

Jul 1, 2015

Welcome to our first episode! Adam Smith and Francoise Stovall talk about what to expect from this podcast, candidates who just filed quarterly FEC reports, Orange Is The New Black and private prison money, and we end with a Gut Check that pinpoints Francoise's weakness for Beyonce.

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