FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Alli McCracken, CODEPINK National Director, 860-575-5692, [email protected]
Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK Co-founder, 415-235-6517, [email protected]
Two Staff Members from the Peace Group CODEPINK Arrested Alongside Hundreds of Other Activists During “Democracy Spring” Protests in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON, April 11, 2016 – CODEPINK co-founder Jodie Evans and 19-year-old Youth Outreach Coordinator Rebecca Green were arrested today outside the US Capitol Building alongside hundreds of other activists participating in “Democracy Spring,” a two week-long protest against the influence of big money and corporate lobbying in politics. Democracy Spring protesters arrived in Washington over the weekend following a week-long march from Philadelphia, during which they brought the issue of election finance reform directly to voters through conversations and visibility events.
Democracy Spring is a nonviolent, direct action protest organized by a coalition of over 100 organizations, including student groups, labor unions, election reform advocates, environmental organizations, faith communities and civil rights groups. Democracy Spring is intended to pressure Congress to take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in politics and ensure free & fair elections in which every American has an equal voice.
CODEPINK is participating in Democracy Spring to bring attention to the corrupting influence corporate donations – especially donations from weapons manufacturers and military services contractors – have on national funding priorities. Corporate contributions and lobbying have lead the United States to spend more money on the military and advancement of war than any other nation. This happens while schools go unfunded, our infrastructure crumbles and social programs are woefully inadequate to meet the needs of our citizens.
“I risked arrest today because corporate influence over politics and government perpetuates death and destruction through the unrelenting march of the war machine,” said CODEPINK Co-founder Jodie Evans. “The effect of big money and corporate contributions is a national government that prioritizes killing people in other country over the well-being of our citizens here at home. It’s an obscene agenda and one that has become a national emergency. We need to get corporations out of politics and put people-powered politics back in control. That is our path to peace.”
“As a young person, I am horrified by the degradation of our country’s democracy by corporate interests,” said 19-year-old Youth Outreach Coordinator Rebecca Green. “Big money is drowning out the voices of US citizens, and keeping our country in a perpetual state of war that is profitable for weapons manufacturers and corporate interests. I am joining the Democracy Spring sit-ins to call for money out, voters in, no more war, and the restoration of the democracy that our country claims to have.”
CODEPINK points to the failed and massively over-budget F-35 fighter project as an example of the corrupting influence of corporate money on government. The F-35 has been plagued by a continual succession of technical failures and project mismanagement and is currently hundreds of billions of dollars over budget while its delivery is years overdue. At multiple points in the F-35’s development, military officials have indicated a willingness to kill the project, only to be rebuffed by Congressional pressure to keep the project alive as a payback to their military contractor donors. The final cost of the project is estimated to be $1.45 trillion, enough to fund free college education for all U.S. citizens for the next 23 years.