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Wambui Gatheru

"Every single opportunity I have been afforded in this country can be traced back to the ratification of amendments."

Meet the reformer: 10 questions with Wambui Gatheru

'Every single opportunity I have been afforded in this country can be traced back to the ratification of amendments.'

Wambui Gatheru is the outreach manager at American Promise, which advocates for amending the Constitution to regulate the raising and spending of electoral campaign funds. Originally from Connecticut, Gatheru, 24, joined the American Promise staff in 2017 after graduating from the University of Connecticut.

The following Q&A has been edited for clarity and length.

What's the tweet-length description of your organization?

American Promise is a cross-partisan organization committed to getting money out of politics, forever, with a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Describe your very first civic engagement.

Knocking door-to-door in my small town in Connecticut when Barack Obama was first running for president.

What was your biggest professional triumph?

Being a part of the effort that made New Hampshire the 20th state in favor of the 28th Amendment. This was something I'd been working on since I started at American Promise two years ago, and the legislation was just passed in March of this year. It was a surreal victory because it had been such a long fight. It took a lot of coordination on every level of civic engagement, but it's a victory I'm happy to have been a part of here at American Promise.

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Ethics and elections commissioners in Seattle are considering a bill that would limit foreign influence on municipal elections.

Tighter campaign finance curbs start moving in Seattle

Having successfully implemented the nation's first voucher-based system for public funding of campaigns, Seattle is looking at another way to limit big money's influence on local elections.

The city's ethics and elections commission started considering legislation Tuesday that would prohibit corporations owned or operated to a significant degree by foreign entities from spending to influence municipal elections. The bill would also significantly limit how much in "independent expenditures" any business interest could direct toward local races — effectively doing away with super PACs in Seattle.

The proposal comes at a time when Congress is not paying any attention to regulating campaign finance nationwide, creating an opening for state and local governments to fill some of the void.

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Gov. Steve Bullock, now a Democratic candidate for president, pushed the Montana Legislature to enact a political ad transparency law in 2015.

Montana dark money disclosure law upheld by federal appeals court

Montanans advocating for political ad transparency are breathing a sigh of relief now that a federal appeals court has upheld their state's campaign disclosure mandate.

To counteract the unlimited political ad spending allowed by the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, Gov. Steve Bullock pushed the requirement into law in 2015. He has ceaselessly promoted this accomplishment In his long-shot presidential campaign, citing it as evidence he's uniquely positioned in the giant Democratic field to extinguish dark money's influence in Washington.

The Montana law requires nonprofit organizations to register with the state as political committees and file disclosures if they spend $250 or more in the final two months of a campaign on advertising or mailers referring to a candidate, political party or ballot initiative. The educational and social welfare groups known as 501(c)(4)s, which usually evade disclosure requirements and are often behind dark money activity, are covered by the requirement.

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Rep. Joaquin Castro

Single tweet sparks intense debate on campaign donor privacy at a volatile time

A roster of only 44 campaign donors posted online generated one of the most passionate national debates of the summer on Wednesday — a hot mashup of disagreement about campaign finance, government openness, media ethics and the personal safety of the politically engaged.

The arguments were all the more intense because their backdrop is President Trump's own incendiary rhetoric, which in light of the weekend's twinned mass shootings has seemed to push campaign rhetoric beyond abstractly polarizing into palpably connected to violence.

The fire was lit Monday evening when Rep. Joaquin Castro posted on Twitter a list of his San Antonio constituents who have given the maximum allowable to Trump's re-election campaign this year. "Their contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as invaders," he tweeted.

To be sure, all their names and occupations are readily searchable by the public using the Federal Election Committee's robust online database. And many of them are well known and longstanding advocates for conservative causes and candidates in the biggest majority-Latino city in Texas.

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