Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr

Forum Post: Getting the money out of politics by overturning Citizens United & Buckley

Posted 6 years ago on Feb. 7, 2012, 3:59 p.m. EST by bensdad (8977)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

83% of Americans already agree on it
ABC/Washington Post poll


In the the PFAW Poll -

85% of voters say that corporations have too much influence over the political system today.
77% think Congress should support an amendment to limit the amount corporations can spend on elections.
74% say that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate for Congress who pledged to support a Constitutional Amendment limiting corporate spending in elections.

For all of the reforms we ALL want, getting this done - getting the money out and the greed out
will contribute more to ALL of our goals than any other action




Read the Rules
[-] 3 points by ThunderclapNewman (1083) from Nanty Glo, PA 6 years ago

I agree, though I have to say that I don't know to what extent an amendment would lessen corporate influence in politics. The only way we could find that out is to radify said amendment and proceed from there.

We've all heard the mantra "corporations are people", which we know full well isn't true. Corporations are entities comprised of people. Those people already have the right to contribute to political campaigns. And so it would seem that corporate personhood allows for a sort of "doubling down", if you will, of financial support of a candidate.

[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 6 years ago

I strongly agree. But I think it will not, by itself, solve the problem, because the the problem is multilayered. While campaign finance is one part, the flow of money to already elected officials is at least as big, if not bigger, a problem. Insider trading, which has come to light recently in the media, is just one example of the perks congressmen receive from their moneyed friends, incentivizing congressmen to make such friends. Multi-million dollar, virtually no show jobs by lobbying firms or businesses that are effected by legislation, are given to lawmakers upon leaving office. The tentacles of money have interwoven with lawmaking it many ways and the degree of influence is unprecedented.

So, campaign finance reform is an absolute must, but it has to be accompanied by other measures to extricate the political process from moneyed interests. The good old boy network will not dismantle itself and will find ways of operating even if corporate election spending is eliminated.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 6 years ago

I agree - but consider that almost all of our goals CAN be achieved thru legislation - but corporate personhood and money=free speech can ONLY be solved with an amendment.
Lobbying, for example, can ONLY be stopped via legislation IF the amendment says money is not free speech. Ditto, the revolving door.

Our power is in the 83% who want a constitutional amendment. It is the FIRST step to people power. Do you agree?

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 6 years ago

I MOSTLY do. I believe that we should fully publicly fund all campaigns, that not one thin dime come from the private sector, except possibly for an initial petition drive to get a person's name on the ballot.

As to corporate personhood, you and I both know what we mean, but as a legal concept, corporate personhood allows corporations to be sued, and that's important. There needs to be a mechanism to permit that to happen if personhood itself is stripped.

I'm also not completely convinced that the stopping revolving door can be handled only legislatively. As it stands, it might be unconstitutional to bar someone from employment, including an ex-congressman.

Despite all that, I fully support a constitutional amendment that would effectively overturn Citizens United and Buckley. And it's as good, if not better, a place to start as anywhere. It's only that the wording would be critical to avoid unintended consequences.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 6 years ago

You can publicly fund all campaigns - but without an amendment, we cant STOP koch or GE from giving millions. Suing corporations is not a constitutional issue. If a plumber comes to your house and he causes a flood, you can sue regardless of whether or not he is incorporated.
The revolving door already is handled legislativly - the law demands certain delays between employment - so banning it can be handled by the same process.
Note that the legislative process can give corporations any rights the people want. And it only requires a majority vote.

Here is my wording :

Section 1 {A corporation is not a person and can be regulated}
The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons { human beings } only. Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law. The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.

Section 2 { Money is not speech }
Federal, State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure. Federal, State and local government may implement a public financing system to supplement or replace other financing systems. All political contributions shall be (temporarily)limited to $2500 per candidate per contributor unless changed by the appropriate legislative process. As above, all foreign contributions are forbidden.

Section 3 { Transparency & Disclosure }
Federal, State and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed less than 60 days after the transaction and before the election.

what do you think ?

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 6 years ago

It looks pretty good. I don't think it meets the standards for legal language, ("Temporarily", for example, is too vague to have meaning; it can be defined as 1000 years.) but the intent is pretty clear. I would also eliminate the "may implement" in favor of "shall implement" or something to that effect. Otherwise, the barn door stays wide open.

I think that "no rights" for corporations is a bit off. If they have no rights, they can't trademark inventions, they have no protection from theft, etc. But it seems you cover those issue pretty well with how their privileges are determined.

I also don't understand your 60 day rule for disclosure. Disclosure need not, and should not, take more than a a day or two.

I think you're on the right track, but feel it needs a lot of tweeking.

Are you sure about the ability to sue? You can certainly sue an individual like a plumber, but can you sue Monsanto or Exxon? (I'm not an attorney, so I'm a bit unclear.)

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 6 years ago

I'm not a lawyer, but mich of the language is from the MANY amendments already proposed in congress. The key difference to my propoal is that all of the amendments in congress hit cu or buckley - not BOTH. The temporary clause is there to put a ceiling - adjustable by legislation. If we set a time frame, there will be no $ limit when it expires. All corporate rights that the people's legislature set will be given to them - as non-people. 60 day disclosure is somewhat random, but it seems reasonable - since all disclosure must be done before the election. Suing - good point - I checked with a good lawyer - corporate personhood does NOT eliminate corporations, or inhibit your ability to sue them or their ability to do business.

[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 6 years ago

All good to know. Sorry if I brought up extraneous stuff. As I said, I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know what's required.

I wish your effort the greatest success!

[-] 0 points by BlackSun (275) from Agua León, BC 6 years ago

Exactly. It would be but one small step.

[-] 2 points by Skippy2 (485) 6 years ago

If 83% of Americans would vote out all incumbents, this problem could be solved.

[-] 0 points by bensdad (8977) 6 years ago

And your point is all incumbents are the problem ?
Thats like saying all Muslims are terrorists.
Or all xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx are zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
I agree, gray is much more complicated than
black and white

[-] 2 points by 1sealyon (434) 6 years ago

OWS is a corporation (Incorporated in October, 2011). Are they not a corporation of people? Should they not be able to voice their opinions?

[-] 2 points by LetsGetReal (1420) from Grants, NM 6 years ago

No. Corporations don't have opinions. They aren't real. They are a legal fiction.

[-] 1 points by 1sealyon (434) 6 years ago

OWS is a corporation.

[-] 1 points by SparkyJP (1646) from Westminster, MD 6 years ago

What politician have they bought? Have they donated to a campaign? Do they have a super pac?

[-] 2 points by 1sealyon (434) 6 years ago

OWS has influence, and that influence is greater than the sum total of its individual members. This is the mechanical advantage that any group has over an individual. You can stand in front of your house an voice your concerns but who will show up and listen? The coverage of OWS is broadcast world-wide. That is the whole point of any organization, corporation, pac, trade union, etc.

OWS has more influence on what happens in Gov than you do, as an individual.

[-] 1 points by SparkyJP (1646) from Westminster, MD 6 years ago

In the absence of money ....... reason prevails. Money distorts reason.

[-] 2 points by 1sealyon (434) 6 years ago

When has the ever been an absence of money?

Money is actually a very clarifying metric. It forces us to reason. For example, every newspaper article that warns us of the next big thing about which we need to worry should also include a monetized risk factor. In other words how much will it cost me to prevent this bad thing from happening and how likely is the fix to be successful. Then we look at how much money we have to spend on problems and allocate it based on the risk/benefit.

That said, emotion is a much greater distraction from reason than money. That old saying that you should count to ten before you act has a lot of value. Wait for the emotion to subside. Think of the number of bad decisions that you have made in your life that were done in the heat of the moment.

[-] 1 points by LetsGetReal (1420) from Grants, NM 6 years ago

If it is, my point still stands.

[-] 2 points by 1sealyon (434) 6 years ago

Do you not agree that a corporation has more of a voice in the government decision making process than an individual?

[-] 0 points by LetsGetReal (1420) from Grants, NM 6 years ago

No. The amount of money used to influence the political process is a larger factor than the type of legal entity involved.

[-] 1 points by 1sealyon (434) 6 years ago

So a corporation with $1 M to spend on pacs has more influence than an individual with only $ 1000 ?

[-] 1 points by LetsGetReal (1420) from Grants, NM 6 years ago

Overall, it appears that they do. Not to mention the majority of people who can't even give $1,000.

[-] 0 points by 1sealyon (434) 6 years ago

But a corporation with 10000 shareholders (owners) that gives $1M to pacs has less influence per person than the individual that gives $1000. That seems unfair to the corporation.

Similar problem with Trade Unions. The donation per union member is actually quite small. But since they act as a team they can amplify their influence. OWS has the same effect. If they would work as a unit with a few specific goals they would be more effective.

[-] 2 points by LetsGetReal (1420) from Grants, NM 6 years ago

Corporations only exist because the laws of the various states allow them to be formed. People exist because we were born and we live and breathe. Our government is for 'we the people'. Under the Constitution our representatives are elected by the people and it is the people, not the corporations, who are supposed to be the constituency of our elected representatives.

Any person who is a shareholder who wishes to advocate for their business interests, is free to do so. It is unfair for their voice to count twice - once as an individual, and a second time through corporate form.

How can we be 'unfair' to something that isn't even human anyway? The very suggestion shows how deeply our minds have become infected with this idea that corporations exist on a par with human beings.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 6 years ago

Remember- all corporate personhood rights came from activist judges since 1886 - NO LEGISLATION.
The amendment will get rid of this judicial fiction and let the peoples' legislatures grant corporations the rights they deserve

[-] -1 points by 1sealyon (434) 6 years ago

Corporations should not require government approval to exist. That is the first mistake that we make. We are too quick to let the government tell us what we can and cannot do.

Corporations are an assembly of people. They come together as a team and do great things because of the mechanical advantage. That is the purpose of a team. 10 people together can do what is impossible for 10 individuals. A single carpenter can assemble a wall on the ground but cannot raise it alone. It is an easy task for 10 carpenters.

Any team will amplify the effect of an individual member because of the mechanical advantage. This is why people form political parties, trade unions, and football teams.

It may seem unfair that a trade union has more political influence than an individual but the issue is not fairness, the issue is liberty. We have to stop letting the government chip away at our freedom.

[-] 2 points by LetsGetReal (1420) from Grants, NM 6 years ago

Teams, groups of people, can exist without government approval. The legal advantages conferred upon corporations, primarily limited personal liability, can not exist without statutes authorizing it.

I'm not anti-corporation or teamwork or organizations. I'm against the US government being controlled by large monied interests. Every person should be treated equally, without regard to their ability to buy influence.

[-] -2 points by 1sealyon (434) 6 years ago

But people are not equal.

Who has a better chance to get into Yale, Mit Romney's son, or the daughter of a black, single working mom from Mississippi?

Let's stop waiting and begging the government to confer things on us. Get them out of our lives. The US has been successful because we have until recently enjoyed limited government. We fought a revolutionary war to avoid having Kings confer things on us like dogs waiting for scraps from the table.

[-] 2 points by LetsGetReal (1420) from Grants, NM 6 years ago

Standing up for the principle that every American, rich or poor, should have their interests taken equally into account by their representatives is not begging.

[-] -1 points by 1sealyon (434) 6 years ago

We should not be willing to give up our freedom in exchange for some Gov scheme to achieve equality, which is not possible because people are not equal.

If Barack Obama has to make a decision about an issue that you are interested in who will have more influence over his action, you or his wife? You cannot begin to match her un-elected-to-any-office influence. People are not equal.

[-] 2 points by bensdad (8977) 6 years ago

Under TODAY's law - yes.
If corporate personhood was "eliminated" , corporations would have whatever rights the people, thru their legislatures granted them.
Do you know that virtually every "corporate personhood right" was NOT from any legislature - but via lawyers suing in a court - since 1886

[-] 0 points by 1sealyon (434) 6 years ago

I like corporations. They are just a group of people that join together in order to achieve some great thing. Like Google, or Apple, or the Church of Latter Day Saints (Yes, they are incorporated). The good news is that if a corporation does a lousy job their competitors eat their lunch and they go out of business. Government, on the other hand, can go on day after day producing the same crappy product, charge outrageous prices, deliver poor service and continue in business forever. Or what seems like forever.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 6 years ago

I am not anti-corporation...............Ben & Jerry good............Newscorp bad
I am not anti-war............WW II good................Vietnam bad
I am not anti-police...........99% good
I am not anti-gun........licenced & registered

REGULATION inside of human beings, and
REGULATION by independent control is the only thing that will restrain GREED and SELF INTEREST

The exercise of monopolistic crapitalist power hurts people

[-] -1 points by 1sealyon (434) 6 years ago

What right does the government have to restrain the pursuit of self interest? What other pursuits should we let the government restrain?:

The pursuit of happiness? The pursuit of a marriage partner? The pursuit of free movement? (Like in China) The pursuit of an education?

BTW, the problem is that we let let the Gov issue their permission to allow us do things. Like the license that you had to get for your gun. Or the license for your: dog, cat, business, car, boat, to paint your neighbors fingernails (yes you need a license to paint nails), the list is endless.

[-] 2 points by bensdad (8977) 6 years ago

"What right does the government have to restrain the pursuit of self interest?"
Ask john dillinger or osama or bernie madoff or enron or halliburton or blackwater
I hope you are voting for your racist friend - rp

[-] 0 points by 1sealyon (434) 6 years ago

The Gov likes rules for two reasons. They use them to control people and because they are lazy.

They like to put rules in place that punish the innocent for the sins of the guilty. This is the easy way to attack the problem. Kings did this hundreds of years ago. Instead of writing laws describing what you can't do they wrote a smaller set of laws describing what you are allowed to do.

Take your gun license for example. A gun license requirement does not exist in every state and is a relatively new requirement in the US. Licenses started to be issued when a very small number of people (Like Dillinger) used them to commit crimes. So rather than just punish the guilty the Gov used that as an excuse to take liberty from millions of law abiding citizens.

Why do we let the Gov exert so much power over us? They work for us. They are our employees.

[-] 2 points by brightonsage (4494) 6 years ago

I agree and believe there are some other anti-corruption steps that could and should be included.

[-] 1 points by SparkyJP (1646) from Westminster, MD 6 years ago

ALL money needs to be removed from politics ...... not just corporate money. 100% taxpayer funded and stop the auction of our country.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 6 years ago

B.A.R.A.C.K...O.B.A.M.A. advocates a constitutional amendment
what are we waiting for ????????????????????????????????

the OWS Restore Democracy Working Group at

..███░░ ░███░..░███.░.█░░░█░░░░.████░.░███░░░

[-] 0 points by mako (42) 6 years ago

We also get union money out of politics as well right?

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 6 years ago

If I said yes, would you agree to this amendment?

[-] 1 points by mako (42) 6 years ago

absolutely. unfortunately, there will always be influence of one kind or another so the point is futile.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 6 years ago

NO!... I say YES!... We are together! All corporate personhood -
that was granted ONLY by courts must end.
ANY rights re-established for corporations and unions must come from peoples' legislatures.
Almost all of the anti-CU amendments follow this concept.
Thank you for joining us.

[-] 1 points by mako (42) 6 years ago

and then what? you think there are not other forms of influence? It's a futile exercise. Just organize the vote to oust the rep you dont like.