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Forum Post: A way to overturn Citizens United.

Posted 5 years ago on May 6, 2012, 1:06 a.m. EST by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Corporations, special interest groups, and individuals have the ability, since the Citizens United ruling, to contribute unlimited amounts of money to superpacs. Since the money does not go directly to the candidate, there is no limit to the amount that can be contributed because it is considered a form of free speech protected under the first amendment.

A person or entity can run commercials or other forms of communication for or against a candidate as long as the person or entity does not consult or plan with the candidate they support.

Free speech is a difficult area to limit, even when it is unfair. We can't just say a group of people has no right to run an ad in support of a politician. One possible solution is to limit all political speech, in support of or against a candidate, to a fixed dollar amount per campaign. Maybe $100 or so. By this method, a corporation, a union, a political party, a wealthy individual, and even a poor one, would all be limited to the same contribution limit, while at the same time all would keep their right to free speech, even their personhod. Each of our votes would be relatively equal, with no person or group having a clear advantage over another, the basis of Democracy. Free speech means nothing if it is not also fair speech.

Any ideas or comments?



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[-] 1 points by penguento (362) 5 years ago

Full disclosure would help. Right now politicians and PACs get a lot of money from places and people unknown, because the source of the money can be hidden behind special interest groups with misleading names. Force all of them to disclose the amount of every donation and the identity of the donor, and people would get to see who's donating money to whom. That would make a lot of politicians very uncomfortable.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 5 years ago

I wish disclosure alone would be effective but it depends on the voters being even more informed. We need an amendment that does not depend on the embarrassment of congress or the peoples awareness of political finances.

It must be set a limit on contributions, without exceptions.

[-] 1 points by penguento (362) 5 years ago

I agree, it's not a full solution by a long shot. It would help some, though, particularly in tandem with other reforms.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 5 years ago

I've been involved in many discussions over this issue, and speaking for myself, we should do something to overturn the Citizens United ruling, even if it only overturns the most offensive aspects of the ruling (and nothing else), like S.J. Res. 29 (which is much less controversial, compared to more far reaching proposals like the Sanders Amendment).

We also need legislative reforms, like for example many of the "Abramoff proposals" (banning "all" gifts to politicians, ending the revolving door between politicians, their staffers, and lobbying firms, etc.).

Most importantly, we need a mechanism that would incentivize greater participation in our democracy, like perhaps a Constitutional amendment that makes recall elections a "right" enjoyed by all citizens.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 5 years ago

SJR 29 puts the wolves firmly in charge of the hen house as do most of the other amendments. Power must be taken from Congress, not more given to it.

The Abromoff proposals are good, although he doesn't set limits on political donations. He still doesn't understand, even after spending years in jail, that a rich person does not have the right to greater speech in elections.

Yes, we definitely need to have the power of recall in federal elections, We also need the ability to have a national initiative process where the people themselves can introduce legislation. Both of these are currently used in California and haven't caused our political system to slide off into the ocean.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 5 years ago

I mean, SJR 29 simply overturns CU (though admittedly, it does no more and no less). If it were up to me, I might say that an amendment that precisely spells out how campaign financing should happen might be more effective, but the way I see it is like this. An SJR 29 (giving us the ability to reenact the overturned provision in McCain Feingold), coupled with the ability to recall elected officials (including members of congress), and enacting some of Abramoff's ideas .... is a very robust combination of reforms. To a certain extent we shouldn't take an "all or nothing" approach. I'm a proponent of gradualism, if for no other reason, it gets us moving in the right direction, resets our trajectory, and it can compliment bottom up societal change; and (importantly) it's realistically doable in the near term (giving us the ability to accomplish the deeper changes necessary for long term sustainability).

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 5 years ago

SJ 29 does not overturn CU. It gives congress total control on what limits to set on campaign financing. Why would congress who after decades has not enacted effective legislation to restrict campaign financing do it now?

This resolution and the others amendments that keep finances under congressional control are pure unadulterated candy coated bullshit. They look sweet and delicious on the outside, but once you bite into them, you will spew them out in a flash.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 5 years ago

Okay, and btw I agree with your list of proposed reforms, but my question is, how else do you propose we get meaningful limits on campaign contributions?

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 5 years ago

The $100 limit applies to all contributions, direct or indirect, by rich or poor, and all groups, whether political, corporate, financial, union, or superpacs. Everyone is on a relatively even playing field, without losing their free speech. CU is effectively overturned.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 5 years ago

You might also want to consider banning the bundling of contributions, each donation at whatever cap you set must come from an individual.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 5 years ago

Since every group is also limited in their political contributions they can't bundle more than $100 total per candidate. A poor persons contribution is always within $100 of the wealthiest person or group.

[-] 0 points by cooperbl (-88) 5 years ago

really????? corzine is still bundling millions for obama.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 5 years ago

Please read the body of the post again.