A year ago, I said that American democracy was in desperate need of reform. Public trust in our election system and political leaders was at an all-time low. Large factions of the electorate were just beginning to embrace baseless claims about the outcome of the 2020 election. And politicians were considering more than 350 bills suppressing the right to vote for millions of Americans, while lobbying against critical new voting rights legislation that has never been more urgent.
One year later, these challenges have only grown more severe, and the need for reform is even greater. But instead of restoring confidence in our democratic government, protecting voting rights and ballot access, reducing the influence of special interest money in politics, and ensuring accuracy and trust in our elections going forward, political leaders supported by the right wing have opposed the most basic reform proposals.
Now those same factions that are opposing reform are attacking the Sixteen Thirty Fund for not supporting greater disclosure and transparency in our work. If the Judicial Crisis Network and other critics on the right really had concerns about dark money, they would join us in genuinely advocating for reforming the system.
The Judicial Crisis Network, a dark money group that opposes any reform to limit the influence of money in politics, is attacking our organization for following the rules the right created in the first place. Let’s be honest about how we got here. Ten years ago, right-wing ideological forces collaborated with corporate special interests to advocate for what became the Citizens United decision, eliminating safeguards and opening floodgates that have since allowed billions to pour into our elections.
The Sixteen Thirty Fund is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that advances progressive causes through advocacy and fiscal sponsorship. Arabella Advisors, another target of the far right, is hired by our organization to provide compliance and other administrative services to the projects we fiscally sponsor.
We support and will continue to advocate for a massive rewrite of the rules to reduce the influence of special interest money in politics, provide more transparency, and rebuild the trust of all Americans. Until that happens, we will continue to level the playing field to advance our progressive values. That includes fighting tooth and nail to ensure access to safe and secure voting so that every eligible American can make their voice heard.
We hope that the Judicial Crisis Network and other groups on the right will follow up their rhetoric and attack ads with a real commitment to reform. If they do, we might stand a chance of getting it done, and save our democracy in the process.
Amy Kurtz is the President of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization confronting the biggest social challenges in our country through fiscal sponsorship, advocacy, and electoral action.