This Saturday marks the 2nd anniversary of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. This decision opened the flood gate of corporate money into our election.

This weekend actions are being held around the country to show that we need to break  the chokehold corporate power has on our democracy by getting the corrosive influence of big money out of our political system.

Check below to see if there is an action near you!




Thursday, January 19, Funeral March around the Capitol Rotunda, 10:30am to 11:30am to mourn the death of democracy, on the second anniversary of the Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court.  Wear black if possible (several women will be wearing mourning veils).  Meet near the cafeteria on the ground floor of the capitol at 10:00am to get organized.

Friday, January 20, Occupy the Courts rally, Soapbox, and Raging Granny concert at 4:30pm at the Federal Court Building, 123 E. Walnut Street to further commemorate the 2nd anniversary of the Citizens United decision.  Please come!



Friday, January 20, Rolling Funeral For Democracy.  Meet at 11:30am at the Town & Country Shopping Center, 3607 1st Avenue SE to decorate cars with signs and funeral regalia for driving procession down First Ave to downtown.

Convene for RALLY beginning around 12:15pm across the street from the construction site of the new Federal Courthouse at 8th Ave. and 2nd  St. SE.  A minister will offer services over a flag draped coffin, there will be speeches and songs.  Hold signs and mark the Citizens United Anniversary till 1pm.

CELEBRATE AFTERWARDS… Finish mourning the death of democracy over a warm drink at the BLUE STRAWBERRY at 218 2nd St. SE.



Saturday, Jan. 21st, RALLY on the Pentacrest at University of Iowa at 2pm

Join students and community members to mark the 2nd Anniversary of the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott Decision, CITIZENS UNITED and it’s attack on Democracy.


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A new report released today by Iowa CCI national ally National People’s Action has some alarming statistics for Iowa.





The report shows that:

  • capping payday loan interest rates at 36 percent would save Iowans over $36 million every year. (That’s $36 MILLION that is being stripped away from our local economy!)
  • there are 220 payday lenders in Iowa. (There are more payday lending shops than there are McDonald’s in Iowa!)
  • nearly half of all licensed payday lenders in Iowa have been financed by big banks. Wells Fargo and Bank of America are the top financiers of payday lending across the country.

Payday loans, widely available in 32 states, online, and increasingly by banks as well, are short-term small dollar loans averaging less than $400 but charging annualized interest rates of 400% or more. Efforts to cap the rates on these loans have stalled in the Iowa legislature for the past several years.

“If you want to talk about creating jobs in Iowa, let’s talk about putting more cash in the hands of consumers,” said CCI member Judy Lonning from Des Moines, “Let’s talk about lifting people of out of poverty instead of profiting off their crises.”

Major findings of “Profiting from Poverty”:

  • Record payday loan revenue: Nationwide, revenues for the major payday loan companies (Advance America, EZ Corp, First Cash Financial, Dollar Financial, Cash America, QC Holdings) have risen to their highest level – $1.48 Billion per year- more than before the financial crisis. Revenue from payday lending for the six largest payday lenders nationwide has increased a net 2.6% over the last four years (2007 to 2010).
  • Consumers pay billions in fees: Low and moderate-income borrowers pay minimum of $3.5 Billion in fees annually to payday lenders charging triple digit interest rates on small cash loans. The nation’s biggest banks fund a major segment of the payday lending industry that collects more than $1.5 Billion in fees from payday lending.
  • Stopping excessive interest rates can put money into our local economies: If payday loans charged only 36% in interest rates, instead of an average of 400%, payday loan borrowers could save over $3.1 billion annually.

The Bottom Line:

Because of the economic crisis we are facing, affordable solutions for people who seek and need these types of loans are necessary. Iowa CCI members call on the Iowa Senate Commerce Committee to pass SF 388, a bill designed to cap interest rates at 36%.


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You and I have a key opportunity to elevate our “People First” message in the media and with the political parties Jan. 3.

Since the national spotlight is on us, we are uniquely positioned to drive home – in a big way – a vision of good government that puts communities before corporations and people before profits.

That’s why we’re asking you to print out and take the resolutions below  to your caucuses and work to get them adopted into the party platform.  Our resolutions are woven together by a common theme – that government needs to work for everyday people and the 99%, not big money corporate interests and the 1%.

Step 1: Print out the resolutions

Step 2: Find your caucus location

All caucuses begin at 7 pm on Tuesday, Jan. 3. It is recommended you get there 20-30 minutes early. You must be registered as a Democrat or a Republican to participate in the party’s caucus, but don’t worry you can register or re-register at the door. Just in case bring your photo ID and a document, like a bill, that proves where you live. If you’ll be 18 by election day (11/6/12), you can participate!

Step 3: Attend and work to get your resolution introduced

Resolutions are general presented towards the end. Be prepared to read it aloud. If passed resolutions work their way up through both party platforms. It’s a great way to show party leaders that we’re fed up with business as usual from Washington DC, Wall Street and at our Iowa Statehouse.

Step 4: Let us know how it goes!

Contact us at 515-282-0484 or shoot us a line at iowacci @ to let us know your resolution passed and what precinct you are in. Also, don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions. 


Please click “Like” or “Tweet” below to encourage your friends to take these caucus resolutions to their caucus!


To be able to appeal or stop factory farm construction near you, your County Board of Supervisors must adopt the Master Matrix resolution and mail it in by Jan. 31.


The “Mater Matrix” is a tool counties can utilize to evaluate proposed factory farm construction sites large enough to require permits.  It’s important as it gives counties the right to appeal factory farm permits and in some cases stop factory farms from being built.

While the master matrix is not local control – it allows counties to comment on and evaluate permit applications and requires that factory farm operators meet higher standards for our environment and community.

Call your county courthouse and tell your supervisors to use the Matrix today!


Right now it’s the only defense counties are granted to stop the spread of factory farms.  Counties that choose not to pass the Matrix cannot file formal appeals on permits with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Environmental Protection Commission.

Last year, 89 out of Iowa’s 99 counties passed the construction evaluation resolution in order to use the master matrix. This was the highest number of counties that have passed the resolution. But we need every county to pass it!

1. Call your county courthouse today and ask them to pass the Matrix at their January meeting.

2. Click here for a copy of the Matrix resolution.

3. Follow up to be sure the Matrix construction evaluation resolution gets mailed by Jan. 31 to:

Jerah Sheets, Dept. of Natural Resources
Wallace State Office Building, 502 E 9th St, Des Moines, IA 50319

4. We’re keeping track! Please let us know if your County passes the Master Matrix.


Any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact the Iowa CCI office at 515-282-0484 or iowacci @


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Congratulations!  We are excited to report that your work has taken a slice of The Nation magazine’s Most Valuable Progressive recognition for the third year in a row.

John Nichol’s writes: “What a difference a year makes! … This year we celebrate the remarkable movements that have arisen not just to stem the conservative tide but to build a new vision of progressivism for the twenty-first century. … The events of 2011 did not transform America. But they did confirm that millions of Americans are ready to fight for the 99 percent.”

Read The Nation’s full Progressive Honor Roll of 2011 here.

Iowa CCI’s recognition below:



When Mitt Romney came to the Iowa State Fair, he tried to peddle the fantasy that entitlement cuts are needed because the only alternative is to raise taxes on Americans. But his framing of a false choice failed when activists from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement hollered that we should “tax corporations.” Unnerved, Romney shot back, “Corporations are people, my friend.” “No, they’re not!” shouted the Iowa CCI crowd. “Of course they are,” replied Romney, who didn’t seem to realize he was embracing his own stereotype. In 2011 conservative candidates thought they could use Iowa as a backdrop for their extremist pitches. Iowa CCI didn’t let them get away with it—providing a model for how grassroots activists can mic-check even the most powerful politicians.

We’d like to think The Nation feels this way because they know, like we do, that the history of significant change in this country is based on organized action. And organized action is what Iowa CCI does best. Thanks to you our members and supporters for being a part of it.


CCI allies made the Honor Roll, too!:

  • The New Bottom Line coalition, of which Iowa CCI is a member, was recognized as Most Valuable Coalition for their work to build a broad and powerful push for a “new bottom line that puts the economic interests and financial security of working American families first” — before Wall Street profit that is.
  • And, Beat the Press, the work of populist economist Dean Baker, who spoke at our statewide convention in July was named Most Valuable News Source.


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With Pre-Caucus Focus on GOP Race, Occupy Movement Steps Up Activism in Iowa


CCI Executive Director Hugh Espey was interviewed on the Dec. 21, 2011 edition of Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman. Watch the video here:


From the Democracy Now! website:

The Occupy movement is making its presence felt in Iowa ahead of the Iowa caucus, the nation’s first nominating contest for the 2012 presidential elections. Demonstrators have targeted the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters and the “Obama for America” office in recent days, protesting measures being considered in Washington dealing with defense spending, a planned oil pipeline and jobless benefits. Next they plan to focus on Republicans who will be crisscrossing the state in the next two weeks seeking voters’ support. “We think that we have a right to—a constitutional right to state our purpose and to call for and to address grievances that we have with the government and the corporate control over the government,” says Hugh Espey, the executive director of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a 36-year-old grassroots organization with some 4,000 members. “These sorts of protest are going to continue, until we have a system that puts people before profits and communities before corporations.”

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