Table of Contents
What is RepresentUs?
RepresentUs is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights for fairness and transparency in U.S. politics. True to its mission statement, the organization’s board, staff, and volunteers include citizens from all across the political spectrum. Including liberals, conservatives, independents, and “everyone in between.”
|Mission||“We bring together conservatives, progressives, and everyone in between to pass powerful state and local laws that fix our broken elections and stop political bribery. Our strategy is central to dismantling the root causes of inequities in our democracy, and ending political corruption, extremism and gridlock.”|
|Financial data (2016)|
Revenue: $1,871,589 ($1.87 million)
Expenses: $1,725,187 ($1.73 million)
Net assets: $684,738
|Current president||Josh Silver and Joshua Graham Lynn|
The group takes a grassroots approach by building volunteer-led local chapters across the nation and proposing the passage of anti-corruption legislation through state and local ballot initiatives. thus evading political gridlock in Congress. This strategy has the extra benefit of Locally initiated ballot measures allowing citizens to vote on policy proposals directly.
Since its founding in 2012, RepresentUs has made major headway fighting against corruption, passing 124 of their Anti-Corruption Acts (ACAs) and Resolutions all over the U.S. (as of April 2021). In short, their success truly speaks for itself.
We at the Zero Theft Movement believe our efforts overlap and bolster much of what RepresentUs does. Especially as it pertains to preventing crony capitalists and corrupt officials from influencing lawmakers with big money in order to potentially rip off the public. In this article, you’ll learn more about how RepresentUs and the Zero Theft Movement provide yous with the knowledge and power to fight against bad actors and establish a healthy, equitable government and economy.
Does Public Opinion Matter in U.S. Politics?
RepresentUs, in essence, was founded on the belief that lawmakers rarely represent the interests of the public. The organization cites a study by professors Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page that found public opinion has a negligible impact on U.S. law. “Near-zero” is the exact words the professors use.
Dollars don’t just tip the scales in the favor of corporations. They break the scale.
750x return on investment. We repeat 750 times!
Maybe in exchange for future campaign financing, a rent-seeking lawmaker votes ‘yay’ on a bill that increases barriers to entry that helps the few incumbent companies preserve their oligopoly over a market. Or perhaps, a multinational company does not have to pay a cent on U.S. corporate taxes through government-granted tax avoidance and illegal forms of tax evasion.
What’s the big deal about that?
Well, look at the $4.4 trillion return on investment. Where do you think that much of that money’s coming from?
You, and the rest of the public.
But perhaps, you have your doubts. To prove with little doubt which parts of the economy have been rigged against us, we need to investigate and gather more evidence. That’s where the Zero Theft Movement comes in.
We have built a safe and independent platform where you and your fellow citizens work together to investigate and debate potentially rigged areas across the economy. You vote on whether (1) theft is or isn’t occurring in a specific area of the economy, and (2) how much is being stolen or possibly saved. Through direct democracy, we can collectively decide where the problem areas are and start working on addressing them systematically.
The Focus of RepresentUs: Big Money breaks elections and free markets
RepresentUs pinpoint a major flaw in our elections—namely, how much money correlates to a successful campaign.
The organization claims on their website, “To win a Senate seat in 2014, candidates had to raise $14,351 every single day. Just .05% of Americans donate more than $10,000 in any election, so it’s perfectly clear who candidates will turn to first, and who they’re indebted to when they win.”
Obviously, money alone won’t win an election. But it undoubtedly helps. Think of all the expenditures involved in running a campaign: the rallies, the travel, the lodging, the advertising, marketing, so on and so forth. The 2020 elections reportedly cost $14 billion, far more than any election in the past.
The Federal Election Commission, under the Federal Election Campaign Act, has limits on direct contributions. Various Supreme Court decisions (including Citizens United v FEC) have opened up a whole realm of limitless and even anonymous spending, even after the ban on soft money through the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.
This ‘debt’ can result in government officials ‘repaying’ those who have contributed massive amounts to their campaigns. In other words, large corporations and the wealthy. A dangerous conflict of interest exists where captured lawmakers sometimes must choose between moneyed interests and public interests. The COVID-19 bailout, the 2008 mortgage crisis, the Medicare Part D non-interference clause, there are countless examples where Congress has potentially sold out to secure corporate compensation while ripping us off.
However, we cannot get outraged for a few moments and then move on. It’s about time we made the change.
As RepresentUs works on the legislative front, the Zero Theft Movement helps the public combat these unethical practices with our proposals and reports. Our community finds the best evidence and estimate of theft, so we can expose the plutocrats who have rigged the economy against us.
RepresentUs’ Anti-Corruption Act
In their own words: “America’s corrupt political system is a complex problem. The American Anti-Corruption Act is a comprehensive solution.”
The movement’s major contribution, without a doubt, is its Anti-Corruption Act (ACA). The legislation addresses three problems: broken elections, political bribery, and secret money (i.e. dark money).
As mentioned in the introduction, RepresentUs tackles federal law reform by first working to pass legislation on the state and local levels. In fact, they cite the Suffrage movement and interracial marriage as two cases where nationwide reform gained traction after changes were made in individual states.
RepresentUs has included many great provisions in their simple yet comprehensive ACA. While it’s worth checking out the ACA in detail, we’ll focus on a few of our highlights.
RepresentUs stops lobbyists from donating to politicians
This part of the ACA bans lobbyists from making donations to politicians. In effect, this should do much to prevent special interest and corporations from passing on massive sums of money through the lobbyist to the government official. The ACA levels the playing field, preventing Pay for Play and other nefarious tactics rent-seeking officials and special interest utilizes to strike under-the-table deals.
RepresentUs closes the revolving door
The revolving door continues to create clear conflicts of interest. Legislators and regulators return to the industry they oversaw, industry leaders and lobbyists take up to replace those legislators and regulators.
Making your industry much more profitable vs. the public good, that shouldn’t even be a consideration for our lawmakers.
The RepresentUs ACA prohibits legislators and regulators from selling off their power in exchange for lucrative lobbying positions, bans lobbying job negotiations while they are in office, and makes it illegal for them to perform any paid lobbying for several years after they leave government.
No donors can hide behind secret-money groups, super PACs
A lack of transparency is one of the greatest obstacles to preventing corruption. Secret donors funnel boatloads of cash through groups, going to ‘Super PACs’ (political action committees that have no donation limit). As stated previously, money often wins elections. A candidate can run more ads, travel to more places, hire the best staff to better their chances of winning.
The cycle of quid pro quo, of course, continues.
The ACA has a provision that legally obligates organizations to file timely online reports when they spend ‘meaningful’ funds on political advertisements.
Increasing transparency is key to the success of the RepresentUs movement, as well as ours. When you don’t know how much theft occurs, you cannot, in effect, make claims that will force reform. That’s why our reports will arm us with the information to expose bad actors.
The Collective Power of RepresentUs and the Zero Theft Movement
The collective power of RepresentUs and the Zero Theft Movement can effect the change most of us wish to see. A government and economy that actually works for the public, not for unethical megacorporations or the corrupt among the rich.
We can band together to fight against political and economic corruption. Our reports bolster all the great work RepresentUs is doing with their Anti-Corruption Act. The more evidence we can gather, the better our chances to eradicate corruption. But we can only achieve a fair and equitable society when you start doing your part to fight for your rightful share.
The Zero Theft community knows that many businesses, including some corporations, act ethically. We are trying to hold the bad actors accountable. The corrupt corporations, lobbyists, and government officials. That way, good people and businesses can properly thrive and enjoy the piece of the pie we’re all due.
The public has spoken! See how much the rigged economy is ripping off from you.
Explore the Problem Hierarchy
We have primers on potential problem areas of the economy. Before you start voting, it’s important you get a basic understanding of the issues at hand, so you can be as helpful as possible to other community members. Take a few minutes and come prepared.
Serve your fellow citizens as a citizen investigator
The success of our movement rests in your hands, the leaders willing to dedicate time to conduct investigations into potentially rigged areas of the economy. Lead the movement and help create an ethical economy.
Commitment to nonpartisanship
The rigged layer causes all of us to suffer, regardless of our political allegiances. If we wish to protect the ethical parts of the economy, we have to set aside our differences and band together against crony capitalists and corrupt officials.
An educated public is an empowered public.
We regularly publish educational articles on ZeroTheft.net, just like this one on RepresentUs They teach you all about the potential problem areas of the economy in short, digestible pieces.
The Zero Theft Movement does not have any interest in partisan politics/competition or attacking/defending one side. We seek to eradicate theft from the U.S economy. In other words, how the wealthy and powerful rig the system to steal money from us, the everyday citizen. We need to collectively fight against crony capitalism in order for us to all profit from an ethical economy.
Terms like ‘steal,’ ‘theft,’ and ‘crime’ will frequently appear throughout the article. Zero Theft will NOT adhere strictly to the legal definitions of these terms (since congress sells out). We have broadly and openly defined terms like ‘steal’ and ‘theft’ to refer to the rigged economy and other debated unethical acts that can cause citizens to lose out on money they deserve to keep.