Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 1 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 4 (5 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   3 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Trying to Slay the Citizens United Dragon

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Valuable 2   Must Read 1   Supported 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 8/10/11

Become a Fan
  (11 fans)

If you think the insanity of money spent on political races is at an all time high, you are correct. In the wake of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, many believed that the unlimited amount of money pouring into political campaigns would be "over the top." But even those "in the know" are finding the spending frenzy amazing.

Take the Wisconsin state senate recall elections that came to a dramatic close Tuesday night. Mike McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonpartisan group tracking the flow of money in Badger state politics, said, "This is so out of whack from everything we've ever seen." On the weekend before the recall elections were held, it was estimated that nearly $31 million (that's right, $31 million for state senate races) was spent. That compares with $3.75 million for the entire slate of all Wisconsin senate races in 2010.

That's just one example of what Citizens United unleashed.   The same scenario is being repeated across the country and serves as a harbinger of what to expect on a national level in 2012.   One wonders if the electoral system can sustain itself with this type of financial lunacy at play. 

Campaign Finance Reform.   The end of Citizens United.   Those two phrases cannot be repeated enough by those concerned with our democracy. In a nutshell, Citizens United (in a sharply divided 5-4 ruling) decided that the American people are powerless to stop corporations from using corporate funds to influence state and federal elections. The ruling overturned two previous cases where the Court ruled that Congress and the States may try to keep corporate money out of politics.


John Bonifaz of Free Speech For People by Joanne Boyer

Free Speech For People (http://www.freespeechforpeople.org), a national non-partisan organization, is one group diligently working since the day of the Citizens United ruling to educate American voters about its devastating impact and what can be done to overturn it.   The group is pressing for a 28th Amendment to the Constitution to restore democracy to the people and to ensure that people, not corporations, govern in America.

It may seem like a daunting task, but one that must be pursued, according to John Bonifaz, co-founder of Free Speech For People.  

"The Citizens United ruling presents a serious and direct threat to our democracy, unleashing a torrent of corporate money in our political process unmatched by any campaign expenditure totals in our history," Bonifaz said. "The ruling also marks the most extreme extension yet of a corporate rights doctrine that has placed corporations over people.  

"We must begin the process of restoring the Constitution and fair elections to the people. While there are many calling for legislative fixes--including public funding of elections, which we support--we must face the reality that only a constitutional amendment will enable us to reclaim free-speech and other constitutional rights for people, not corporations."

"For the first 200 years of our nation's history, corporations were never defined by the courts as persons with free speech rights under the First Amendment. Only in recent years have we witnessed this corporate takeover of our First Amendment, culminating in the Citizens United ruling."

Bonifaz and Free Speech For People take an historical look at amending the Constitution to keep them energized as they continue the battle.   "Americans have amended the Constitution repeatedly since the Civil War to expand rather than dilute democratic participation of people in elections," Bonifaz said. "Most of the 17 amendments that followed the 10 amendments of our Bill of Rights were adopted to defend and expand our democracy."

In case you need a refresher: Constitutional amendments ended slavery; guaranteed liberty, due process, and equal protection for all; guaranteed the right to vote regardless of race; empowered the people to elect senators, who previously were appointed by state legislatures; guaranteed the right of women to vote; eliminated the poll tax, previously used to block poor people, often African Americans, from voting; and established a standard voting age.

How Does One Amend The Constitution?

Other than via a constitutional convention, a two thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress begins the process. The proposed amendment must then be approved by three-fourths of the states; in other words, through the support of engaged, educated American citizens.  

It appears a strong basis of the support is already there:   According to a Hart Research Associates poll released by Free Speech For People, 82% of American voters believe Congress should take action to limit corporate spending in elections, and 79% of voters would support an amendment making clear that corporations do not have the same rights as people under the Constitution. The survey also revealed that support for an amendment transcends party lines, with large majorities of Democrats (87%), Independents (82%), and Republicans (68%) supporting its passage.

What Can One Person Do?

Next Page  1  |  2

 

www.WisdomVoices.com

Joanne Boyer is founder and editor of Wisdom Voices Press and www.WisdomVoices.com. Her first book is "Wisdom of Progressive Voices." Joanne has worked in professional communications for more than 30 years. Her career includes being the first (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Can Occupy Wall Street Push Us To Single Payer?

Doing The Work For The Real Health Care Victory: Single Payer

The Breadth and Depth of Voter Suppression Should Scare Us All

The Fraud of 'Voter Fraud'

Too Early To Chill The Champagne? Action Heats Up On Overturning Citizens United

On, Wisconsin: The Legacy of "Fighting Bob" LaFollette

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Excellent analysis Joanne. Wisconsin was the Koch ... by Howard Schneider on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 9:20:32 AM
isn't going to do anything to cross his corporate ... by comncents on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 12:26:20 PM
A constitutional amendment will not happen.  ... by Larry Kachimba on Thursday, Aug 11, 2011 at 2:39:53 AM