Who runs Un-PAC?

Un-PAC was co-founded by Senior Advisor Shana Gallagher, Executive Director Joseline Garcia, and Partner Caleb Wilson. We acknowledge that our origins are on the political left, but Un-PAC is fiercely non-partisan, and committed to working with every single young person who agrees that corruption is bad and democracy is good.

What is the Youth Power Summer Academy and how can I apply?

Click here to apply!

Starting in mid-June 2022, students will learn about the history of campaign finance, voting rights, lobbying, and how lobbying by special interests and wealthy corporations blocks action on the issues we care about. Education and training are crucial for preparing young people to become advocates of change and learning history can help young people feel part of the larger legacy of activism and social change. Participants in our program will study past social movements and, in turn, gain the valuable, transferrable, lifelong organizing skills they’ll need to fight to realize the promise of American democracy.

  • Students are expected to attend nine online training sessions over the course of the summer and complete assignments that will prepare them to become successful political organizers.

Upon graduation, student participants will be transitioned into roles as Un-PAC Student Organizers and become the leading force behind pro-democracy campaigns on their college campuses. Youth organizing is not just about mobilizing young people to turn out for a specific issue; it’s about building them up as leaders, providing them with the skills, resources, and infrastructures to continue the work wherever they go.

  • As Un-PAC Student Organizers, students are expected to work 10 hours per week and complete goals that will help them build student organizing infrastructure at their school and mobilize their peers for their respective campaigns.

Both the Youth Power Summer Academy and the Un-PAC Student Organizer role pay $15/hr.

What is Un-PAC’s current campaign?

Once the Fall 2022 semester starts, Organizers will begin Youth Power Campaigns on their campuses. These campaigns are designed to allow organizers to both make a tangible impact in improving representation on campus by targeting their institutions, and also increase youth voter turnout in the midterm elections.

Universities often leverage their financial and institutional power to influence politics, legislation, candidates and organizations. Students have long been kept out of the decision making process of how our tuition dollars are spent in politics. Given that our tuition dollars are used to build a university’s political influence, our institutions have a responsibility to use that influence to safeguard our freedom to vote, enhance youth voter participation, and ensure that state and federal legislators act in the best interests of young people. Without greater transparency, our universities will continue to be complicit in a broken system that allows big money to determine policy outcomes instead of what young people need. Our generation has the most to lose in this fight and we have the numbers and power to put effective pressure on our university administrators to advocate for our futures.

We are targeting our universities with the following demands:

  • Campaign Finance Reform:
    • Full transparency on the university’s lobbying and political spending endeavors, including within trade associations.
    • No campaign contributions to candidates or legislators who are anti-voter (have voted or indicated support for overturning election results, deny the legitimacy of the 2020 election, or support anti-voter policies that create barriers to voting).
    • Cut ties with corporations who are funding anti-voter candidates or elected officials:
      • No investments in these corporations
      • No physical presence of these corporations on campuses or contracts with these corporations
      • No recruiting of students by these corporations

Voting:

  • Requiring voter registration at freshman orientation
  • No class on Election Day so students have the time and capacity to vote
  • Administrations should petition the state legislature t to get a polling location on campus, ideally for both early voting and on Election Day

What was H.R.1/S.1, the For The People Act?

This powerful democracy reform legislation, introduced by Representative John Sarbanes from Maryland’s third district in the House and Senator Merkley from Oregon in the Senate, and includes a wish list of reforms that would ensure a healthy, functioning democracy. A full annotated guide to the bill can be found here, and if passed, would implement the following reforms:

Clean and fair elections

  • Improve Access – H.R. 1 will create automatic and same-day voter registration across the country; re-enfranchise former felons; expand early voting and simplify absentee voting; and modernize the U.S. voting system.
  • Restores the Voting Rights Act
  • Ends Gerrymandering – H.R.1 will prevent politicians from picking their voters
  • Promote Integrity – H.R. 1 prohibits voter roll purges
  • Ensure Security – H.R. 1 enhances federal support for voting system security, especially paper ballots, increasing oversight over election vendors, and developing a national strategy to protect democratic institutions.

End the dominance of big money in our politics

  • Guarantee Disclosure – H.R. 1 shines a light on dark money in politics by upgrading online political ad disclosure and requiring all organizations involved in political activity to disclose their large donors. H.R. 1 also breaks the so-called ‘nesting-doll’ sham that allows big-money contributors and special interests to hide the true funding source of their political spending.
  • Empower Citizens – H.R. 1 gives political power to everyday Americans, creating a multiple matching system for small donations, thereby allowing the American people to exercise their due influence in our politics. This will break special interests’ stranglehold on Congress and lay the groundwork for an agenda that serves the American people. H.R. 1 also pushes back on the Citizens United and Buckley decisions by the Supreme Court.
  • Strengthen Oversight – H.R. 1 tightens rules on super PACs and restructures the FEC to break the gridlock and enhance its enforcement mechanisms. It also repeals Mitch McConnell’s riders that prevent government agencies from requiring common sense disclosure of political spending.

Ensure public officials work for the public interest

  • Fortify Ethics Law – H.R. 1 expands conflict of interest law and divestment requirements, slowing the revolving door, preventing Members of Congress from serving on corporate boards and requiring presidents to disclose their tax returns.
  • Impose Greater Ethics Enforcement – H.R. 1 overhauls the Office of Government Ethics, closing loopholes for lobbyists and foreign agents, ensuring watchdogs have sufficient resources to enforce the law and creating a code of ethics for the Supreme Court.

Where does my money go?

Contributions to Un-PAC will be used to pay student organizers $15/hr, so that they can make an adequate living wage, while they work to organize their communities and educate their peers on the importance of democracy reform. 90% of your donation will go directly towards youth organizing efforts. The final 10% is used on operations.

Un-PAC Action is a federal 501(c)4 (a political nonprofit) that funds youth organizing efforts working to increase awareness and provide pressure on elected leaders to support American democracy reform.

Is my donation secure?

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Any and all sensitive information is tokenized and transmitted over encrypted tunnels. We use the same system trusted by organizations like Robinhood, Acorns, Betterment, Wealthfront, AmericanExpress, and Venmo. We’ve got you covered.

Do you charge any fees?

Nope, Un-PAC doesn’t charge any platform fees— ActBlue is free to use. Donors can choose to add a voluntary tip if they would like. The payment processor charges a standard credit card fee of 2.9% plus $0.30 per withdrawal (once per month).

Is my contribution tax deductible?

Like other political contributions, contributions to Un-PAC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

Who can donate to Un-PAC?

Only US citizens or Green Card Holders can donate to Un-PAC Action because Un-PAC is a federal 501(c)4. We cannot accept contributions from foreign nationals (but we still appreciate your support!).

How else can I support Un-PAC?

In addition to taking our pledge and/or making a donation, you can also help us spread the word! To change everything— we need everyone. If you agree that corruption is bad and democracy is good, we want you on our team!

Share the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, email and text your friends, and tell your neighbors! Use the hashtag #UnPAC when you share on social media.

What's the problem?

Right now, there is zero correlation between a politician acting in their constituents’ best interest and their chances of winning re-election. Zero. What matters is how much money they raise, and that money doesn’t usually come from everyday, working people and voters. Instead, politicians are accountable to their wealthy donors, not the communities they represent. Many policies that will help the general public would in turn hurt corporations and industries, like the healthcare insurance and fossil fuel industries, who therefore lobby to block their progress at all costs.

What's the solution?

As young people, we’ve had enough! The only way we will see action on the issues we care about is by passing reforms that reduce the role money plays in politics, and protect the voting rights of low turnout communities like our own. We recently missed a once in a lifetime opportunity to pass federal democracy reform, otherwise known as the Freedom To Vote: John R. Lewis Act. Now, our best chances at doing so are at the state and local level.

How do we do it, again?

Corruption is at the root of all the problems our generation cares about, and passing legislation that cracks down on that corruption will put us on the path to addressing all of them. It’s now or never. Students and young people are organizing and demanding that our elected officials fix our broken democracy.

Will you join us?