MoveOn.org Throws a Little Protest in Houston

Local members of MoveOn.org held a rally Tuesday taking aim at corporate control in Washington, delivering petition signatures to the Heights office of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and urging other elected officials to endorse the "Fight Corruption Pledge."

Spurred on by the collaboration of thousands of members of the grassroots group MoveOn and other progressive and reform organizations across the nation, the rally was one of 100 being held as part of a larger national movement set on ending corporate influence on elections and policy decisions.

Representing Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, her district administrator Michael Halpin signed onto the pledge.

"It's an important issue to the Congresswoman, and an important organization," Halpin said. "It's always nice to see this kind of activism in the Heights."

The Fight Corruption Pledge calls for three decisive actions: overturning the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, passing the Fair Elections Now Act to give grassroots candidates a chance to compete with corporate-backed and self-funded candidates, and passing a lobbyist reform act to break corporate lobbyists' influence.

As of now, more than 470,000 people across the nation have endorsed the pledge.

The group's next move is to deliver the petitions to Senator John Cornyn, MoveOn spokesperson Heather Korb told the Houston Press.

We need hundreds of thousands of people going out and showing up, rallying around change, Korb said, and we need to be vetting political candidates very closely.

"We think the people who live in the US should have a voice," Korb said. "The 98 percent majority should join us and lead the charge so that there is more accountability between government and big business. We would like to see an amendment to the ruling that corporations are the same as individuals."

The Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling gives corporations the same First Amendment rights as individuals, which allows for unlimited donations to political candidates, giving the corporate giants undue influence and power over elections and policy decisions, MoveOn says.

Louis Molnar, acting chair of Precinct 139, was the first representative to sign onto the pledge at the rally.

"There are those, like me, who do well for the common good with what we're provided," Molnar said. "But that's not what these tools are meant for."

Make no mistake, Molnar said, these tools are designed for subversion, driven by the greed of shareholders.

"The corporations have no ability to check themselves, and checks must be forced upon them, however great the corporation. It must be forced upon them."

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