Subject:         JOIN DEMOCRACY BRIGADE #3--- Help End Campaign Finance Corruption
   Date:         Fri, 11 Feb 2000 17:19:11 EST

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Doris Haddock's February 29 arrival in Washington, DC, promises to be a
crucial turning point in the struggle to achieve full public financing of
federal elections. The Alliance for Democracy, working with six other
national organizations, is working to make February 29 a historic day of
action to end campaign finance corruption. In addition to helping swell the
ranks for Tuesday's march and rally, the Alliance is recruiting participants
for Democracy Brigade #3, which will stage a speak-out in the Capitol Rotunda
after Doris delivers her keynote speech.
Two former Brigades have already performed similar actions, which have
garnered a great deal of enthusiasm and attention. Members of Brigade #3
will, like the first two, protest “the betrayal of democracy” that results
from the private financing of increasingly expensive political campaigns. The
group will unfurl a 30-foot banner in the Rotunda and perform spirited
readings, addressed to members of Congress, about the negative effects of the
current system of campaign financing on American democracy.
The purpose of these well-orchestrated dignified, non-violent actions is to
turn up the heat on campaign finance corruption and send a message to
Congress and the country that the buying of democracy must cease. Brigade
participants are exercising their First Amendment rights to free speech, free
assembly, and the right to petition the government for grievances. And they
are doing so in an appropriate place, the historic Rotunda of the Capitol
Building where visitors are welcomed to the seat of their national
government, where so many historic pieces of legislation have been signed.

However, a DC statute prohibits virtually all demonstrating in the Capitol
Building, and so Brigade participants who ignore the police orders to disband
should expect to be arrested and booked by the DC Capitol Police and charged
with a misdemeanor. Those participants who disband after the police issue
their order will most likely not be arrested. The members of Brigade #1 who
plead guilty to violating the statute were charged with "time served,"
meaning the five hours they spent in the Capitol police station while being
processed. After being booked at the Capitol Police station, members of
Brigade #2 were transferred to the DC Police's jails and, after six hours of
detainment, were released with the charges dropped. So, as you see, the
processing procedures are never uniform, but we do -- and will -- have
attorneys who follow the Brigade members through the system, oversee the
whole process and help with any special needs that may arise.

Former Brigades received media attention in The Nation, The Progressive
Populist, The Progressive, Roll Call, Pacifica Radio and a number of local
publications. This Brigade will possibly receive national mainstream media

These actions are meant to invoke the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement.
The men and women who participate dress semi-formally and the spirited
readings discuss the effects of campaign finance corruption on popular
governance in America. We believe these types of actions have been sorely
missing from campaign finance reform efforts and are necessary if we are to
achieve full public funding of our elections. We must transform the excellent
efforts of the many organizations working on this issue into a real reform

If you are interested in participating -- and we very much hope you will be
-- please contact me (Nick Penniman: 781-894-1179 or

Also, I should mention that there will be a  5-hour nonviolence training and
preparation session for all participants the day before the action -- that
is, on Monday, February 28, in DC. The session is conducted by a professional
trainer from Sojourners and dinner is served to all who attend.

We'd love for you take part in these events and hope to hear from you soon.


Nick Penniman
National Coordinator
Alliance for Democracy

For information more information about February 29 events, visit