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SUR’s statement on the end of the Mueller investigation

After nearly two years of investigations, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report has been submitted to Attorney General William Barr, who has provided his summary of the principal findings. We are thankful that this important investigation was able to proceed to completion, that it was led by a man of integrity and independence such as Mr. Mueller, and faithfully executed by a team of respected professional investigators. America owes the special counsel team our sincere thanks.

We are also relieved that after numerous indictments, plea deals and interviews, the available evidence does not prove that the president was involved in a criminal conspiracy to help Russia attack our 2016 elections. That is a low bar for a president, but one that is nevertheless reassuring to have met.

But while these findings do not prove a crime, the publicly known results of the Mueller investigation prove a dangerous pattern of ethical, financial and political malfeasance by the president, his business associates, and his campaign. Mueller’s findings, as proven through indictments of Trump associates and Russian agents, paint a disturbing picture of a large-scale attack on our democracy, and a host of bad actors who, at best, stayed silent as those efforts progressed.

We already know, for example, that George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Don Jr., Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn, and others all sought out and took meetings with Russian agents. In the case of Don Jr and the Trump Tower meeting, that meeting was an explicit effort to receive foreign intelligence on a political opponent.

At every step of the way, Trump and his campaign played fast and loose with campaign laws, hiding the multiple attempts by Kremlin agents to illegally assist from federal authorities and then lying to hide those efforts from the American people. That pattern of behavior is precisely what spurred Stand Up Republic to first call for an independent investigation.

Now that the criminal question has been investigated and – absent further revelations – resolved, it is time for America to consider the political questions which have been raised since Trump first implored Russia to hack his opponent. Namely, what personal responsibility does the president have for his campaign’s efforts to conceal ongoing attempts by the Kremlin to intervene in American politics. Even if that behavior is not criminal, it certainly fails to meet the standards we should hold for any elected leader.

To ensure the American people can reach a fully informed conclusion on Trump’s behavior and his refusal to act in the best interest of our democracy, we must be able to read Mueller’s full report, excepting any information not permitted to be released under the law. That transparency is essential in empowering the American people to hold our president accountable politically, and to ensure that we are free to promote leaders who serve the public will and national interest.

Without a full, public accounting, we won’t be equipped civically to secure our country from any such attack in the future. Whether that means tightening campaign laws which Trump associates skirted, or simply holding bad actors to account, we cannot begin to tackle these risks to democracy without first knowing the whole truth behind the attacks on our elections.

The Florida Legislature should listen to voters, not undermine their electoral reforms

Last year, Floridians overwhelmingly voted to restore voting rights for many ex-felons (except for the most violent offenders) after they had served their time, including probation. Amendment 4 passed with 65 percent of the vote but now Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature is trying to prevent the measure from going into effect as intended.  

NBC News reported this week that, Florida’s House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, “passed a measure that would require felons to pay back all court fees and fines — even if they are slowly paying those costs back in a court-approved payment plan, for instance — before they can register to vote.” The proposal would directly undermine the will of Floridian voters and create, in essence, a modern-day reimagined poll tax to disenfranchise the very people that were supposed to get their vote back. That’s wrong.

The people have spoken and Florida’s legislature should abide by the wishes of the electorate, rather than seeking underhanded means to ignore their will.

Electoral reform has been a priority issue for Stand Up Republic since our founding. We believe strongly in making it easier for Americans to register and exercise their right to vote. –Read more about our Electoral Reform Agenda here.— There are many reforms that need to be made at the state and national level to make our democracy healthier and stronger. If Florida’s voters want to restore voting rights to former felons who have paid their debt to society, the legislature shouldn’t stand in the way of that.

The president’s words have power, so we must lift our voices even higher

We expect our president to be hard at work, even on weekends. So when Trump spends his weekend tweeting support for islamophobic TV hosts, hate for an American hero, and insane conspiracy theories, we can only assume that he thinks that’s the most important work of the nation.

It’s easy to crack jokes when you see such unhinged rants unfolding in real time. But this isn’t some 2-bit reality TV host anymore, this is the President of the most powerful nation on Earth. When he spreads hate and conspiracy, the world listens. Worse yet, potentially violent people who share that hateful or conspiratorial vision, feel comfort and community from his words.

And he isn’t alone. Sadly, there’s an entire ecosystem built around amplifying, and even influencing, Trump’s dangerous rhetoric. Trump shares messages from the man who invented the pizzagate conspiracy which ended with one devotee shooting up a restaurant. He calls the media enemies of the people, even as several journalists in the US and across the globe are murdered for searching for the truth.

And just days after a murderous, bigoted, white nationalist murdered more than 50 Muslims as they prayed in New Zealand, he demanded the return of a Fox News personality who equated hijabs – a constitutionally protected act of faith – with hatred of America and the constitution.

Trump isn’t responsible for bigotry, hatred, or even heinous acts of violence like that in Christchurch. But his words – both those said and unsaid – give succor to those who wish violence upon those who look, talk, act, or worship differently from them. He makes room for white nationalism and xenophobia by defending their defenders and performing only the minimum, unenthusiastic condemnation.

He sends his spokespeople out to tell the world he condemns violence and hate, while he himself issues public defenses of those who stoke – and in the case of Charlottesville – perpetrate such heinous acts. It is the definition of speaking out of both sides of his mouth, and it gives hope not to victims of such violence, but to those who cheer it on, and who may one day commit it themselves.

But there is some good news. If the careless, hateful, and deceitful rhetoric so regularly spouted by the president, the far right, and his enablers on TV has this kind of power, our words have the power to fight back. The president has a platform we can’t match – the bully pulpit spreads his every word far and wide. But the strength of our words springs from two sources he could never hope to match: our honesty and our numbers.

We don’t have to shout, so long as we all speak together, calmly, clearly and passionately, to declare that America is a nation who embraces all people, and that hate has no home between our shores.

It’s remarkable to think that we are in a place where we the people must speak over our president, making sure that ours are the words people hear, rather than the steady stream of vitriol and lies emanating from the president’s twitter feed and TV surrogates. But if we want to stand up for the principles which ought to define our nation, that’s precisely what we must do.

As a supporter of Stand Up Republic, your voice is already part of that countermessage. We’re working daily to reinforce America’s commitment to liberty, equality, and truth, and to make sure the world knows that we are a nation that respects all life and denounces hate in its many forms.

The president has long been seen as a symbol of America. But in this case, he does not define us. We must define ourselves for all to see. We can only do that by standing up for the principles which we hold dear.

The Senate stands up to Trump’s power grab

Just now, the Senate voted to rein in the president’s wanton abuse of power by voting to block his dangerous, false ‘emergency’ declaration. The decision was a welcome bright spot in a Senate that is often all too happy to give up their power and authority to help a president with no respect for the law or our Constitution. Was this emergency power grab finally a step too far?

While far too few GOP Senators were willing to stand up to the president, enough did to send a powerful message. Their courage was no doubt bolstered by the thousands of meetings, calls, and emails they received from the Stand Up Republic community demanding they put the country over the political whims of the president. In short, this never would have been possible without you.

Round one is a victory for America and our Constitution, but this fight is far from over.

We already know that the president will veto this resolution in order to protect his ever expanding grip on power and control, so we can’t let up. We must make sure that every member of Congress, House and Senate, hears our voices and understands our message.

This is a republic, not a monarchy!

That’s why I’m asking you to take three critical actions as soon as you can:

1: Call Congress again. Whether your Senators and Representative voted for the resolution or not, they need to hear from you. Those who stood up to the president’s dangerous power grab need to know that we appreciate them taking a stand, and expect them to do so again. Those who didn’t need to know they have one more chance to do right by the American people and the constitution, by voting to override Trump’s veto. Call them now (202) 224-3121.

2: Watch our latest video campaign and share it with your friends. There’s a lot of disinformation out there, so counter it with real arguments. It helps to see how this dangerous precedent could be abused not just today, but in the future as well. So help us spread the word by sharing our latest video: “Where does it end?” 

3: Fuel the next fight. The battle over Trump’s veto will be even bigger, and it’ll take even more work. We can’t do it without the support of dedicated Americans like you. Every dollar to donate to the cause is another person reached, another voice demanding action, and another friend in the fight. Help us turn up the heat. 

We should be proud of this victory. It’s proof that we do have the power to stand up for our ideals, norms, and institutions. The fight to strengthen our democracy is one we can – and will – win. But we must stay vigilant and demand our elected representatives honor the principles on which our nation was founded.

Thank You,

Evan McMullin

A big win today for election integrity

The House of Representatives just took one of the biggest steps towards improving our elections in over a generation. They passed H.R. 1, a sweeping bill to address deficiencies in our electoral systems, increase participation across the board, and make sure our voices are heard even more clearly through our votes.

While HR 1 isn’t perfect, it is a momentous effort to strengthen the foundations of our democracy, and one worth celebrating. Stand Up Republic has been engaged in this process from the beginning, working to make sure our own Electoral Reform Agenda was included. We’re excited to see many of those measures move forward, and welcome serious action to strengthen our elections.

Most importantly, we thank you, the countless Stand Up Republic advocates and supporters who have made democracy and electoral integrity a priority.

But the work is far from over. H.R. 1 faces a difficult road through the Senate, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already refusing to let it see a vote. He even said that not one thing in it is “salvageable.” Is there really nothing salvageable about increasing voter registration, reducing gerrymandering, and making it easier for citizens to vote? Shouldn’t the Senate offer their own solutions, and work in good faith to craft the best legislation possible?

We have to press forward, and keep working towards electoral reform at every level of government. That’s why we’re asking you to get involved in three ways.

1: Call Mitch McConnell. The McConnell is acting less like a leader, and more like an obstacle. Let him know that fair elections are a national priority. Call (202) 224-2541 and tell him: “You don’t have to like everything in the bill, but giving up on improving our democracy is unacceptable. Bring H.R. 1 up for a debate, and let the Senate do its job to strengthen our democracy.”

2: Read and share our Electoral Reform Agenda. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to elections. And yet, too few of us think deeply about how our elections work, or how they could work better. Help your friends understand why electoral reform is essential to protecting our democracy.

3: Join Your Local SUR Chapter. Not every reform can, or should, happen at the national level. We need to improve our elections at the county, city, and state level as well. Our state chapters are already advancing our electoral reform agenda in statehouses across the country. Join advocates in your state to strengthen democracy locally in your neighborhoods.

Just three simple actions today could strengthen America for generations. The need for these reforms is urgent. But if the House’s passage of H.R. 1 has proven anything, it’s that they can be achieved. All it will take is a dedicated group of Americans who put our country above party, and are willing to fight for everyone’s right to vote. Thank you for being part of that coalition.

What happened at the National Summit for Democracy

There’s something refreshing – invigorating, even – about knowing that you are not alone in the fight to defend our democracy. That feeling of hope and enthusiasm was on full display last week as Stand Up Republic Foundation hosted the second annual National Summit for Democracy.

Former Congressman Carlos Curbelo addresses the summit.

Leading advocates, policy experts, and philanthropists at the national and state level from all parties united to address core challenges to America’s civic health including divisions across class, ethnicity and ideology, in our communities, the media, and Congress.

Expert panelists debate critical issues facing our country today.

More than 150 leaders, representing over 60 organizations participated in the Washington, DC-based Summit. Among the key working topics were:

  • Advancing electoral reforms
  • Mitigating foreign interference in elections
  • Combating disinformation
  • Improving the politics of immigration
  • Building a multicultural democracy
  • Countering corruption, and more! 

As expected in the public sphere, there was a healthy dose of disagreement and debate. Yet, the National Summit for Democracy stands apart with its earnest focus on working through differences to identify areas of common ground, along with the coalitions required, to advance real solutions. In that regard, this year’s summit was a resounding success.

Working groups address real dangers to American democracy.

At the end of the two-day summit, we asked participants if they thought our democracy would be stronger or weaker in five years. Almost four out of five of them said yes, we would be stronger as a nation. It wasn’t because of what’s happening in politics and news these days. It was because they all knew that, around their tables and around the country, there were patriotic Americans of every stripe, working together for the betterment of our great nation.

Proposals from working groups are deliberated by the attendees.

To all of our partners and participants, thank you. And to all of the supporters, advocates, and volunteers who work daily to strengthen civil society, America is forever in your debt. We rest easier knowing that so many people, from all walks of life, are united in this fight.

Attendees listen to keynote speeches from Senator Chris Coons, Congresswoman Kathleen Rice, Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, and former Congressman Carlos Curbelo.

Next, the National Summit for Democracy may take its show on the road. We want to expand the field of civic leaders engaged in the fight for America’s future, defending core American ideals from the threat of unaccountable government.

Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele speaks Selena Coppa, Stand Up Republic state lead for Washington.

That’s why we wanted to share this update with you, so you could see first hand how this important work is shaping up, and how you can help drive it even further. As you participate in our efforts to preserve our values and strengthen our institutions, you’re putting these thoughts and ideas into action, and creating a real opportunity for change in our country.