Non-profit

Fix Our Senate

Fix Our Senate is a campaign which advocates for changes to the procedures of the United States Senate in order to make it easier for Democratic lawmakers to pass left-of-center legislation, most notably the “nuclear option” to remove the longstanding 60-vote threshold to close debate, known colloquially as the “filibuster.” The campaign cites its dissatisfaction with legislation signed by former President Donald Trump as its motivation. Fix Our Senate singles out Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as an obstacle to left-of-center policy objectives. The campaign claims that McConnell, who leads the 50 Republican Senators in the 100-member Senate, empowers “a partisan minority of the Senate,” and labels Republican voters “an extreme minority of the American people.” [1]

Fix Our Senate states that “the elimination of the legislative filibuster” is its “highest priority.” The campaign cites former President Barack Obama, who in 2020 claimed that the filibuster was connected to Jim Crow racial segregation laws. [2] Obama had previously defended the filibuster in 2005 while serving as a Democratic Senator from Illinois in a Republican-majority Senate. [3] While Fix Our Senate says that it is focused on “rules and procedural changes” such as the filibuster, the campaign emphasizes that it views changes to Senate procedures as part of a broader effort to align the United States government with left-of-center policy and cultural objectives. [4]

According to sources obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Fix Our Senate is a fiscally-sponsored project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, an organization that manages donations to various left-of-center activist groups. [5]

Background

Fix Our Senate launched in January 2020 with a statement accusing then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) of a “coverup” during the unsuccessful impeachment proceedings against then-President Donald Trump. [6] While Trump was in office, the majority of statements from the campaign targeted McConnell, though Fix Our Senate also at times directly criticized Trump. [7] Since President Joe Biden took office, Fix Our Senate has mainly been calling on Senate Democrats and Biden to eliminate the “filibuster,” the customary name for the super-majority threshold to close debate on legislation. [8]

The director of Fix Our Senate is Democratic strategist Joshua Karp. Karp worked as deputy campaign manager for former Tallahassee, Florida, mayor Andrew Gillum’s unsuccessful run for governor. He also worked as the senior advisor to the 2020 campaign of Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA). In an interview with Jewish Insider, Karp said he wanted to help win southern states for the Democratic Party, claiming that they’re “right on the cusp of turning blue and need that extra little shove.” [9]

Activity

Fix Our Senate has paid for advertising in Colorado, Arizona, and Delaware. [10] The campaign also ran a full-page advertisement in the New York Times in January 2021, and claims to have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising in September 2020 and January 2021. [11][12]

In April 2021, Fix Our Senate attacked efforts by Republican-controlled state legislatures to pass laws intended to increase election security. In a Twitter post, the campaign said that advocates of these laws were part of “a mostly white minority of Americans” and claimed that election integrity laws were designed to keep that minority from “losing control of the United States government.” [13]

Fix Our Senate also celebrated President Joe Biden’s April 2021 executive actions purporting to restrict gun rights. [14] Biden instructed the Department of Justice to impose restrictions on certain firearm accessories and to issue recommendations for implementing “red flag” laws, which allow law enforcement to confiscate firearms from people who have not been accused of a crime based on tips from family members or acquaintances. [15][16]

In June 2021, a coalition of over 100 left-of-center activist groups that included Fix Our Senate sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), writing that

The Republicans could not even support a bipartisan investigation into a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol reflects dangerously misplaced priorities: they have chosen party over country, obstruction over progress, and Trump over democracy. In the face of Republicans’ inability and unwillingness to defend our democracy, it is clearer than ever that the filibuster needs to be eliminated. [17]

The letter also referenced the GOP’s attempts to block the For the People Act, which seeks to expand vote-by-mail and establish an “alternative campaign funding system” for certain federal offices. [18] Fox Business pointed out that Fix Our Senate is an affiliate of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, an organization that manages donations to various left-of-center activist groups. [19]

Affiliations

When Fix Our Senate launched, it partnered with a number of left-of-center organizations, including the judicial activist group Demand Justice and the Service Employees International Union. As of April 2021, the campaign listed more than 50 other partnering organizations on its website. [20] In April 2021, the campaign announced that it was coordinating with approximately 150 other left-of-center groups to pressure Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to eliminate the filibuster. [21]

Financials

Fix Our Senate is set up in a way that allows it to avoid disclosing its donors, and the campaign has refused to share its budget. [22] However, the group has stated that it spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising in 2020 and a similar amount in 2021. [23][24]

References

  1. Fix Our Senate. Accessed April 15, 2021. https://www.fixoursenate.org/ ^
  2. Fix Our Senate. April 15, 2021. https://www.fixoursenate.org/ ^
  3. Ewan Palmer, “Barack Obama video defending filibuster goes viral after declaring it ‘Jim Crow Relic’,” March 26, 2021, Newsweek. Accessed April 16, 2021. Barack Obama Video Defending Filibuster Goes Viral after Declaring it ‘Jim Crow Relic’ (newsweek.com ^
  4. “About Fix Our Senate.” Fix Our Senate. Accessed April 15, 2021. https://www.fixoursenate.org/about-us ^
  5. Schoffstall, Joe, and Matthew Foldi. “Dark Money Fuels Push to Ditch Filibuster.” Washington Free Beacon, March 19, 2021. https://freebeacon.com/democrats/anti-filibuster-coalition-leader-is-part-of-progressive-dark-money-group/. ^
  6. “Announcing ‘Fix Our Senate’: New Group Launches to Expose McConnell’s Obstruction and Agenda.” Fix Our Senate. January 28, 2020. Accessed April 15, 2021. https://www.fixoursenate.org/press/release-announcing-fix-our-senate-new-group-launches-to-expose-mcconnells-obstruction-and-agenda ^
  7. “Press.” Fix Our Senate. Accessed April 15, 2021. https://www.fixoursenate.org/press?offset=1585070941434 ^
  8. “Press.” Fix Our Senate. Accessed April 15, 2021.https://www.fixoursenate.org/press ^
  9. Matthew Kassel. “Campaign strategist Joshua Karp reflects on Ossoff’s Senate win.” Jewish Insider. January 20, 2021. Accessed April 15, 2021. https://jewishinsider.com/2021/01/joshua-karp-jon-ossoff/ ^
  10. “Press.” Fix Our Senate. Accessed April 15, 2021. https://www.fixoursenate.org/press ^
  11. “Press.” Fix Our Senate. Accessed April 15, 2021. https://www.fixoursenate.org/press?offset=1603727696073 ^
  12. “Press.” Fix Our Senate. Accessed April 15, 2021.https://www.fixoursenate.org/press?offset=1615136622261 ^
  13. Fix Our Senate. Twitter. Accessed April 15, 2021.

    ^

  14. Fix Our Senate. Twitter. Accessed April 15, 2021. https://twitter.com/fixoursenate ^
  15. Jack Duschlag. “Biden on Second Amendment gun rights: ‘No amendment is absolute.’” Fox News. April 9, 2021. Accessed April 15, 2021. https://www.foxnews.com/us/biden-on-second-amendment-gun-rights-no-amendment-is-absolute ^
  16. Kathryn Watson. “Second Amendment advocates warn Trump over support for ‘red flag’ laws.” CBS News. August 15, 2019. Accessed April 15, 2021. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/red-flag-laws-second-amendment-advocates-warn-trump-about-support-for-gun-reform-measure/ ^
  17. Schoffstall, Joe. “Liberal Dark Money-Led Coalition Cranks up Pressure on Manchin, Democrats to Nuke Filibuster.” Fox News. FOX News Network, June 3, 2021. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/senate-democrats-manchin-filibuster-liberal-dark-money. ^
  18. “HR1, ‘For the People Act of 2021.’” Ballotpedia. Accessed June 7, 2021. https://ballotpedia.org/HR1,_%22For_the_People_Act_of_2021%22. ^
  19. Henney, Megan. “Dark Money Groups Driving Left-Wing Push to Abolish Senate Filibuster.” Fox Business. Fox Business, March 26, 2021. https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/dark-money-groups-abolish-senate-filibuster. ^
  20.        Fix Our Senate. Accessed April 15, 2021. https://www.fixoursenate.org/ ^
  21. Fix Our Senate. Twitter. Accessed April 15, 2021.

    ^

  22. Alayna Treene and Margaret Talev. “Exclusive: New group to focus on McConnell attacks.” Axios. January 28, 2020. Accessed April 15, 2021. https://www.axios.com/exclusive-new-group-to-focus-on-mcconnell-attacks-5303fa7e-5002-4a27-94ce-3a52efba64be.html ^
  23. “Press.” Fix Our Senate. Accessed April 15, 2021. https://www.fixoursenate.org/press?offset=1603727696073 ^
  24.       “Press.” Fix Our Senate. Accessed April 15, 2021. https://www.fixoursenate.org/press?offset=1615136622261 ^
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