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Ben and Jerry's new flavor: Campaign finance reform

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They have pushed progressive politics for decades. That would be Vermont-based ice cream makers Ben and Jerry’s, home of flavors like “Chubby Hubby” and “Phish Food,” along with agile activism.

Now they want to stamp paper money with political phrases of their choice, preferably in red ink.

The manufacturer has launched the Stamp Stampede, a grass roots advocacy campaign promoting campaign finance reform that will “stamp money out of politics,” says ice cream guru Ben Cohen. He also pines for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, affirming “that corporations are not people, and money is not free speech, and that, in fact, huge donations by corporations, Super Pacs, and the super wealthy drown out the voice of ordinary Americans.”

Mr. Cohen contends that polls indicate eight-out-of-10 of us agree with this.

But on to the stamps. Ben and Jerry’s will now sell rubber stamps, sold at cost, bearing campaign finance reform slogans that can be legally stamped onto paper currency. Based on Federal Reserve estimates, the company envisions that many, many folks would see the messages.

The slogans include “Not to be used for bribing politicians,” “Stamp the money out of politics,” and “Corporations are not people,” among others.

“This is a petition on steroids. The average dollar that is stamped gets seen by over 800 people,” Mr. Cohen reasons. “If one person stamped five bills a day for a year, that would result in a million-and-a-half impressions. If 1,000 people did that, it would be a billion-and-a-half over the next two years. It’s economic jiu jitsu, using money to get money out of politics.”

Fellow hippie-era rockers Crosby, Stills and Nash will also promote the effort.

“People have been fighting to get soft money out of politics for decades,” says lead man David Crosby. “The McCain-Feingold and Shays-Meehan bills are good examples, but the reform hasn’t gone nearly far enough, and the stakes keep getting higher.”

And of course there’s a website: Stampstampede.org

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