Most Americans believe our democracy is not working the way it should; that money and powerful special interests play too much of a role in American politics; and that ‘We the People’ don’t have enough say on the policy decisions government makes. You’re probably feeling frustrated too. I know I am. Polls show that same frustration is at the very heart of the record dissatisfaction with government today, and with Congress in particular.

Many people have tried to reduce the power of special interests by trying to reduce the amount of money flowing into campaigns. Yet in its landmark Citizens United case, and again in the more recent McCutcheon decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has been moving in the opposite direction. For better or worse, the Supreme Court is effectively closing the door on efforts to reduce the influence of money in campaigns directly.

So, what are we to do about the widespread concern most Americans share that the public has too little influence, and that money and special interests are too powerful in Washington?

Well, as the old saying goes, “when a door closes, open a window.”

If efforts to attack this problem from one direction, by trying to reduce the influence of money, are being blocked, perhaps we should try working the opposite side of the equation too. Why not explore more effective ways to increase the influence of the people?

That is what VOP’s Citizen Cabinet initiative is all about, and now we are ready to make it happen. We will be building out Citizen Cabinets in three states and a number of congressional districts in the coming months, to bring the voice of an informed public directly to Congress in a way that will be hard to ignore. With your help, we can expand into more areas of the country, perhaps even your state, and take on more issues that continue to tie Congress up in knots.

We will be sharing more details with you as we finalize the states and districts, and get started on this first phase. This is an important moment for us, and you can help bring this powerful new voice to the table – the voice of an informed public. Together, we can help break the gridlock, counter the effects of money and special interests, and help government make better decisions. So let’s get started!

One door may be closing, but the window is now wide open.

Sincerely,
Richard Parsons, Executive Director
Voice Of the People