Members of 99Rise, a New Movement to Get Big Money Out of American Politics, Speak Out Against Corruption at Second Presidential Debate at Hofstra University


(Hempstead, New York, October 16) – Among the throngs of students excitedly holding signs and cheering in support of Obama and Romney at Hofstra University for the second presidential debate, a group of 5 students stood out from the crowd.  They wore dollar bills over their mouths and brandished a home-made sign that read “Obama and Romney: Take a Stand!  Get $$$ Out.”  The students, members of the new national anti-corruption movement 99Rise, sought to make a statement against the increasingly corrupting influence of Big Money in American politics.

“I joined 99Rise because I feel as though the voices of ordinary Americans like me are getting drowned out by Big Money this election cycle,” said Jochebed Tan, a Hofstra senior Elementary Education and Spanish major.  “We don’t have millions of dollars to spend to support a candidate’s election, and as such the issues we care about aren’t on the agenda of either side.”

99Rise is a grassroots response to the deep dissatisfaction felt by citizens across the political spectrum towards the increasing corruption of American government.  In the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, billionaire and corporate spending on election ads has jumped by 1,139%.  With an estimated $9.8 billion set to be spent during this electoral cycle, the 2012 elections will be the most expensive in history.  This spending is increasingly bankrolled by anonymous, unaccountable funders who, because of a loophole in the tax code, conceal their political spending by funneling it through so-called “social welfare” organizations that are not required to disclose their donors and that can spend unlimited amounts of money running political ads.  Due to the disproportionate political influence of wealthy donors in elections, one in four Americans say they are less likely to vote, and 75% of Americans believe money buys results in Congress. 

Americans are right to believe that money has distorted the American democratic process.   With the careers of elected politicians increasingly dependent on the money of extremely wealthy individual and corporate sponsors, nearly every area of policy making has been skewed to serve the interests of those donors at the expense of the vast majority of Americans.  This dynamic has made it nearly impossible for the political system to respond effectively to the various crises the nation faces, from the jobs crisis to global climate change. 

99Rise launched on September 28th with a petition delivery and sit-in at Bank of America in Los Angeles, where eight students were arrested.  99Rise plans several waves of sit-ins in the lobbies of Wall Street banks and other suspected secret money donors in the run up to the 2012 elections.  The movement’s ultimate objective is to win a constitutional amendment banning private money from American politics and landmark federal legislation reforming the nation’s campaign finance and lobbying laws.



Contact: Devon Whitham, (562) 370-8411,

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