FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sit-In is Third in Wave of Protests against Corporate “Dark Money” in Run Up
to Most Expensive Election in History
(Los Angeles, CA, October 25)—Alarmed by the billions of dollars of secret money flooding into the political system to influence voters this election cycle, five young people sat-in at Citigroup on Bunker Hill in Los Angeles today, demanding full disclosure of the financial giant’s anonymous political expenditures. When the five activsts and a group of about thirty supporters delivered the petition articulating their demand, the bank locked down the building's main enterance. The activists peacefully sat down in front of the doors and refused to leave until the requested information was disclosed. The bank instead chose to have them arrested. The charge was "Failure to Disperse from an Unlawful Assembly" and the five are currently in custody with bail set at $5,000.
“This is the first election in which I get to cast my ballot, and I’m excited to fulfill that sacred duty as an American citizen,” said Jordan Greenslade, a 19-year-old sophomore at Occidental College. “But I can’t make an informed decision about who to vote for without knowing what interests are backing each of the candidates. Today I’m standing up for democratic transparency and will risk arrest if necessary to show America just how far Wall Street will go to continue buying our elected officials in secret.”
Greenslade and the other protesters are members of 99Rise, a new anti-corruption movement to get Big Money out of American politics. 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.
Today’s sit-in in Los Angeles comes on the heels of a similar action at JP Morgan Chase in New York City yesterday that resulted in the arrest of three high school students. Eight protestors were arrested on September 28th at Bank of America in Los Angeles in 99Rise’s first petition delivery and sit-in. 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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 25, 2012
Contact: Alex Stevens; (720) 404-4065; alex@99Rise.org
Devon Whitham; (562) 370-8411; devon@99Rise.org