Who We Are
March On Harrisburg is a nonpartisan, statewide, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to ending corruption and taking our democracy to where it’s never been by advocating for pro-democracy legislation that will move Pennsylvania from the 45th most corrupt state in the country to the most democratic. Currently, we are working to pass legislation that would end legalized bribery and end gerrymandering. To win on these issues, we lobby, march and engage in nonviolent civil disobedience.
To end corruption and restore democracy in Pennsylvania
The Problem: Corruption Of State Officials
Pennsylvania consistently receives failing grades in terms of electoral integrity, jeopardizing our ability to actually call our commonwealth a ‘democracy’. Pennsylvania ranked 45th in the country on electoral integrity by the Electoral Integrity Project and received an “F” grade in electoral integrity by the State Integrity Investigation.
- Pennsylvania is one of only ten states that does not have any gift limitations on public officials; that means that our legislators are able to be bought and sold by moneyed interests.
- Pennsylvania is one of only ten states that does not have any private campaign finance contributions, which means our elections are bought and sold.
- And, Pennsylvania has some of the most gerrymandered state legislative districts in the country.
End Legalized Bribery
In Pennsylvania, it is completely legal for paid lobbyists to “gift” (bribe) anything to our state representatives. These lobbyists – from firms like American Legislative Exchange Council – routinely gift luxury vacations, cars, concert tickets, sports tickets – and of course, endless wining and dining, every night in Harrisburg. Even cash gifts are legal. In this culture of corruption, legislators are not accountable to their constituents – only to their donors.
Legislators have been introducing solutions to the issue of unlimited gifts for decades. Most recently, conservative Republican Rick Saccone introduced HB 39, which places common sense gift limitations on what legislators can accept. Its counterpart in the house, SB 132, was introduced by Republican John Eichelberger. This legislation is not a total gift ban. Legislators could still accept Items of nominal value – things like pens, tote bags, or t-shirts – gifts that are unlikely to sway their vote. However, gifts likely to sway a legislator’s vote – items like vacations, cars, tickets, and endless dinners – would be made illegal.
Gerrymandering is the insidious way in which political parties draw absurd legislative districts to their own advantage. Gerrymandering distorts our democracy by allowing for politicians to choose their voters, instead of voters choosing their political leaders. In 2012, Pennsylvanians cast 83,000 more votes for Democrats than Republicans. Yet, Republicans won 13 out of 15 Congressional seats.
The leadership of both parties in Pennsylvania is currently refusing to give up their ability to gerrymander the map in their control. Democratic House Minority Leader Dermody’s staff told MarchOnHarrisburg in a meeting that they “look forward to gerrymandering” in 2021. The current plan of the leadership of both parties is to gerrymander their map as much as they can.
HB 722 introduced by Representative Samuelson (D) and Representative Roe (R) (SB 22, introduced by Senator Boscola (D) and Senator Scavello (R)) would end incumbent control of the redistricting process. It would set up an Independent Redistricting Commission made up of 11-non-legislators (4 Republicans, 4 Democrats, and 3 Independents) that would draw congressional and state districts using only census data — not personal preferences.
The original language of HB 722. a bi-partisan bill, currently has 110 co-sponsors which is MAJORITY of the House. In April, House State Government Chair Representative Daryl Metcalfe gutted the language of HB 722 removing an indepependent commission. It is imperative that we remove the ammendment and return the bill to its original state.
March On Harrisburg has met with every Representative and Senator in Harrisburg willing to take a meeting with us. In 2017, we lobbied over 230 of the 253 legislators in Harrisburg on behalf of our bills.
Marching raises awareness about our bills and the democracy movement. When we march, we practice democracy. With each footstep, over the miles, marchers organically plan, talk, organize and form the community necessary to sustain this movement. In 2017, we marched almost 150 miles across Pennsylvania during two political pilgrimages to the State Capitol.
Non-Violent Civil Disobedience
The goal of nonviolent direct action is to force an encounter between citizens and their government. The goal of our nonviolent direct action is to confront our public servants and insist that they see themselves as human beings obligated to serve the public. Our direct action also serves as a reminder that we are human beings who deserve to more fairly participate in making the collective decisions that govern our lives. Nonviolent civil disobedience In 2017, we organized six actions that resulted in 42 arrests at the State Capitol.
March On Harrisburg is proud to be partnered with Represent.Us who has offered to help build and export our model and tactics to state capitals nationwide.
For every recurring donation you make to March On Harrisburg, Represent.US will match your donation 4 to 1! That means every $20 recurring donation generates $100 a month we can use to end corruption and restore democracy in Pennsylvania.