In Brief:

Seeks to broaden, strengthen, and unite efforts to reduce the influence of money in politics through grantmaking, convening, and thought leadership. A strategic funding “hub” for the democracy reform movement, Issue One organizes philanthropists around an investment strategy that expands and strengthens the coalitions of organizations leading the charge for reform, encourages greater alignment between and among efforts, support innovation, and catalyzes new initiatives.

Issue One is committed to putting everyday citizens back in control of our democracy by reducing the influence of money over American politics and policymaking.

Core Assumptions

Everything Issue One believes and does is rooted in the following core assumptions:

  1. This is a problem we must fix. Money in politics has become a crisis for our democracy. Political spending by well-financed special interests has effectively drowned out the voices of millions and made it impossible for our elected officials to govern. If we do not rein in the excessive influence of money, we won’t be able to solve the complex challenges we face.
  2. This is a problem we can fix. Many cities and states have already implemented solutions that have proved to be both effective at restoring the public’s voice and constitutional. These solutions have broad bipartisan support in states and municipalities across the country, and with sufficient political will could be implemented at the federal level.
Cornerstones of Success

If Issue One wants to win, money-in-politics reform must be transformed so that it is seen as:

  1. All-American. This is not a liberal or conservative issue. Restoring and defending our collective right to self-government is the responsibility of each and every one of us, regardless of party affiliation.
  2. A top-tier concern. Americans demand solutions to this problem, and elected officials know their careers depend on following through for their constituents.
  3. Winnable. Effective reforms at the state and local level prove that this is a problem we can fix. When candidates and elected officials realize that their political futures depend on their commitment to pass reform at the federal level, it will happen, no matter which party is in control.
What Winning Looks Like

Issue One measures success via the following measures:

  1. Wins at the state and local levels. Existing reform systems will be strengthened and reforms will be won in new locations across the country.
  2. Wins in Congress. Congress will pass game-changing legislation. Most importantly, we must create new ways of financing politics in America. We must focus on shifting political-money power back to everyday citizens. Legislation will address additional dimensions of reform, from transparency to lobbying to ethics and enforcement.
  3. Changes in the courts. Pro-reform judges will begin handing down pro-reform decisions that validate the importance of rebalancing our democracy so that it works for all of us.