Ben from Ben & Jerry's Explains Why He is on a Crusade to Stamp Every Dollar Bill He Can

October 27th 2014

Ben Cohen is the co-founder of the eponymous Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream company and genius behind beloved flavors such as Cherry Garcia and Phish Food. It's pretty well known he's a cool dude. What you may not know about Ben is that he's also a political activist on a mission to stamp every dollar bill he possibly can. The founder of Stamp Stampede, Ben is sick and tired of the influence of money in politics. We asked him about the idea behind his campaign, its goals,and his vision for a more productive political environment. His answers are below.

Ben, How did getting money out of politics became such an important cause for you?
Because big money in politics is the root of injustice.  When Corporations and wealthy donors fork over big bucks they are bribing politicians to pass or defeat legislation for the benefit of themselves at the expense of the rest of us.  “Contributions” from weapons manufacturers lead to endless war. “Donations” from the fossil fuel industry prevents sane energy policy and environmental regulation. And a flood of political money from the Health Industrial Complex prevents single payer health care.
What will it take to ensure money no longer has such a strong influence in our electoral process?
We need a Constitutional amendment that says: corporations are not people and money is not free speech. The movement to pass the amendment is growing rapidly, but it’s gonna take a while.  In the meantime there is proposed legislation at the state and federal that will help improve the situation.
What is the Stamp Stampede?

The Stamp Stampede is a petition on steroids. There’s now over 25,000 of us that are using rubber stamps to  turn paper money into millions of miniature billboards with messages like “Not to be Used for Bribing Politicians” and “Stamp Money Out of Politics.”  Every stamped bill reaches 875 people over the course of its life.  That means if one person stamps 3 bills a day for a year, the message will be seen by 1 million people.

Is the Stamp Stampede associated with any particular legislative effort? How are you measuring success? 
Over 3 million citizens have signed petitions in support of an amendment. 16 states and over 550 cities and towns have passed resolutions calling for an amendment to get money out.  Over 165 members of Congress support the amendment strategy. Momentum for a Constitutional amendment is not just growing, it’s snowballing.  And more and more people are finding Stampede money. 
Are there any opponents of your project? What do they say?
Polls show over 80% of Americans –Republicans, Democrats, independents -- think there’s too much money in politics.  So there aren’t too many opponents out there.  But Senator Ted Cruz is one.  He mostly just makes up lies about the amendment, like:  “Lorne Michaels could be put in jail under this amendment for making fun of any politician.”  That’s crazy.  But Sen. Cruz is the same guy who wants a constitutional amendment to allow states to ban marriage equality. 
How can one get involved?
The great thing about the Stampede is that anyone can do it--, anywhere, anytime. We already have over 25,000 stampers and hundreds more are joining every week.  Visit StampStampede.org to get your stamp.  They cost $6.50 – 10.50. We’re a 501c3 nonprofit org and we reinvest every dollar in the movement to #GetMoneyOut of politics.