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Forum Post: Rep. Deutch Introduces Constitutional Amendment To Ban Corporate Money In Politics

Posted 2 years ago on Dec. 4, 2011, 5:47 p.m. EST by Rico (3027)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

From http://thinkprogress.org/special/2011/11/18/372361/rep-deutch-introduces-occupied-constitutional-amendment-to-ban-corporate-money-in-politics/


Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) is tackling corporate money in politics head on. In one of the greatest signs yet that the 99 Percenters are having an impact, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, today introduced an amendment that would ban corporate money in politics and end corporate personhood once and for all.

Deutch’s amendment, called the Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy (OCCUPIED) Amendment, would overturn the Citizens United decision, re-establishing the right of Congress and the states to regulate campaign finance laws, and to effectively outlaw the ability of for-profit corporations to contribute to campaign spending.

“No matter how long protesters camp out across America, big banks will continue to pour money into shadow groups promoting candidates more likely to slash Medicaid for poor children than help families facing foreclosure,” said Deutch in a statement provided to ThinkProgress. “No matter how strongly Ohio families fight for basic fairness for workers, the Koch Brothers will continue to pour millions into campaigns aimed at protecting the wealthiest 1%. No matter how fed up seniors in South Florida are with an agenda that puts oil subsidies ahead of Social Security and Medicare, corporations will continue to fund massive publicity campaigns and malicious attack ads against the public interest. Americans of all stripes agree that for far too long, corporations have occupied Washington and drowned out the voices of the people. I introduced the OCCUPIED Amendment because the days of corporate control of our democracy. It is time to return the nation’s capital and our democracy to the people.”


ZenDog chased down a direct link to the legislation at http://teddeutch.house.gov/UploadedFiles/DEUTCH_036_xml.pdf and also provided the text in his comment below. Lockean also found the Senate version introduced by Senator Sanders at http://sanders.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Saving-American-Democracy.pdf . See the discussion of the Senate version at http://occupywallst.org/forum/sign-bernie-sanders-petition-in-support-of-his-fir/ .

Several folks are already pointing out limitations in the legislation, but we all need to remember this is only the initial version. The Republican red states will likely add language to limit money from Unions, for example, and that's a good thing in my opinion; I want all money out. I don't care how noble the cause, if someone has a case to make, let them make it to us rather than to our elected officials in a dark room with money changing hands. I hope we all agree.

Speaking of ratification, we are all going to have to fight very hard for this because the media outlets will use all their power to stop it; a very large portion of the money flows through them, and they book election years as financial events just like the Olympics. I actually read an investment column pointing out, "Don't forget to move some money back into the media houses, they're predicting even larger reviews from the 2012 election than from the 2008 election."

I hope we can drop the other issues that both divide us internally and separate us from the rest of America to get behind this as a primary objective. As long as we keep fighting over our minor differences, we become factions with no power, just like the status quo desires. Once we have an uncorrupted Democracy, we can use it to settle our differences the way our Founders desired and implement real change in how our government operates.

Everyone take a moment to celebrate ! Our voices are heard, and we can effect change.

Don't celebrate too long, however, we have a lot of work to do !

83 Comments

83 Comments


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[-] 5 points by nucleus (3291) 2 years ago

EPIC FAIL

Proposed legislation does not prohibit, limit, or otherwise effect money in politics. Individuals and non-profits (political groups, churches, unions, etc.) can give unlimited amounts through PACs, SuperPACs, 503c's, etc. Lobbying system remains in place. Revolving door between DC and private sector untouched. This is simply more "hope and change" that you can't believe in.

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 2 years ago

It definitely isn't perfect. Comments at the above link agree, but I think ending corporate personhood is still significant.

[-] 1 points by RedBaaron (54) 2 years ago

I disagree. In the current language, it has the potential to have an enormous impact (though ultimately how much would depend on how closely the final draft adheres to the outline at http://teddeutch.house.gov/UploadedFiles/OCCUPIED_Amendment_Information.pdf ). Section 3 would explicitly prohibit campaign donations from corporations, while Section 4 explicitly gives Congress the authority to further regulate all campaign contributions through whatever vehicle they take---501's, PAC's, Super PACS or just straight out of the pockets of wealthy individuals.

This amendment would not remove money from campaigns, because it takes money to HAVE a campaign. But individual contributions of $20 or even $200 are not the problem. Industry-created lobbying PAC's that funnel thousands and millions of dollars in support of a candidate are the problem.

Most importantly, it must be remembered that this a constitutional amendment. It could not easily be undone, and it would give Congress a solid foundation from which other regulatory structures could be be built. Congress needs to have the ability to adapt reflexively to the evolving ways special interests can creep into politics. This bill offers the sure hope in making sure that foundation is laid properly.

[-] 1 points by nucleus (3291) 2 years ago

Read between the lines, understand what is missing, and realize that congress uses its EXISTING power to regulate these things in ways that help them and hurt us.

[-] 1 points by rascal (42) 2 years ago

EPIC FAIL

I absolutely agree and until the provision:

The constitutional rights of other non-profit corporations, such as charities, churches, schools, hospitals, clubs, unions, and environmental groups remain in place.”

is removed this is not workable.

Too often we are in such a hurry to fix a problem we overlook something that continues to fume in the background.

The only provision that should be proposed to solve this is:

The rights protected by the Constitution belong to human beings (natural persons).

and this only. As it is written it does not solve the problem, only part of it.

Until it reflects this no one should sign the petition.

Rep. Deutch’s amendment covers the following:

The rights protected by the Constitution belong to human beings (natural persons).

Constitutional rights do not extend to for-profit corporations or other business entities, nor do they extend to chambers of commerce that promote business interests.

The constitutional rights of other non-profit corporations, such as charities, churches, schools, hospitals, clubs, unions, and environmental groups remain in place.

Immediately upon adoption, this amendment would prohibit business corporations and their associations from using money or other resources to influence voting on candidates or ballot measures anywhere in America—at the federal, state, and local levels.

Counteracting the 2010 Citizens United case and the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo case, Congress and the states would once again have the authority to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures, by any group or person.

This would empower Congress and the states to control election spending by CEOs and other wealthy individuals, including those rich enough to pay for their own campaigns.

[-] 1 points by RedBaaron (54) 2 years ago

The key word here is NONPROFIT. We don't need to worry nearly as much about nonprofit institutions trying to influence politicians because the politicians accepting their money do not then go out and support regressive tax measures or award government contracts because of that support. If Grandma's church bingo club wants to tip Mitt Romney for saying a fetus has soul, I could care less; so long as my credit card company doesn't get hiked up 10 percent and my mortgage foreclosed. There are exceptions to the rule here, but give credit where credit's due: this bill would have enormous consequences. And most importantly it would give the government the flexibility it needs to be able to respond to Campaign finance issues going forward.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

I disagree. The AARP is non-profit. I want all money from corporations, unions, "non-profits", etc, out. I also want a Federal Election fund to pay for elections; the poor can't afford to contribute, and it's mighty easy to 'bundle' individual campaign contributions. See http://occupywallst.org/forum/we-the-people-in-order-to-a-proposal/

[-] 1 points by RedBaaron (54) 2 years ago

Ok, I admit: nonprofit's are a problem. But how do we reconcile that with freedom of speech? If a group is told they can't make direct contributions, what is to stop these same groups from sending fliers or emails and having their members support the candidates directly?

I think the NRA is a better example of the conundrum because it's not as easy to see what the AARP stands for aside from being "pro-old."

So let's say the NRA. If individuals are committed to the idea of gun ownership, shouldn't they, in a perfect democracy, have a right to make their opinions heard and support a politician who shares their philosophical commitment to gun ownership?

Regardless of what one things about the so-called right to bear arms, it does seem like an organization formed around a specific, deeply-held political belief should be able to make their opinion heard.

You could dismiss that by pointing out that "making your voice heard" doesn't mean making a dollar donation, but isn't that precisely what individuals who make a direct donation are doing? It seems that to follow this logic to it's conclusion, we would have to ban campaign contributions altogether to make this process truly fair. And if we do that, it's hard to see how campaigns could even be conducted.

BTW....you missed the post I was talking about below ;0) ! I wanted your opinion on the comment with Puffy! About how to improve the bill.

In all seriousness, I respect and want to hear you opinions about a solution, if you have them. I don't have them. That's why I was asking. I'm a young fellow (early thirties). You guys seem a little older and maybe more matured. Gawd knows these are cluster %#% of a problem, so I'm just trying to figure out what the bill or the pledge should look like, and whether we've thought through some of the most nagging complications.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

My post at http://occupywallst.org/forum/we-the-people-in-order-to-a-proposal/ would ban all contributions to candidates at any time (not just elections). Elections would be funded by a Federal Campaign fund using tax dollars. This prevents the poor, who can't afford to contribute, from being disenfranchised. I believe we can use C-SPAN and PBS as well as some of the broadcaster's "public service" time to provide affordable television time, and we could even use some of the zillion jets the USA owns to ferry the candidates around.

Once we have banned all contributions, all that remains is the free-speech issue. There is no way or desire to ban political speech. Organizations can still pay for ads supporting their positions, and people can still give to PACs supporting theirs. The ads, however, have to identify who funded the message (just like today). AARP lobbies hard for Social Security and Medicare. Both AARP and NRE can run ads all day long, they just can't "buy" our elected officials by funding their campaign or giving them money after elected.

Money is not "speech." As soon as we allow folks to given money to candidates and elected officials, we're saying folks with lot's of it have a louder voice than the poor. Ban it all except for whatever ads people want to pay for to advocate their position and/or candidate.

[-] 1 points by rascal (42) 2 years ago

If Grandma's church bingo club wants to tip Mitt Romney

I disagree and I see no difference whether a group is profit or nonprofit. It is still a group and wields a whole lot more power over the individual. This does not make for a level playing field. I do not want some organization having the power through their membership having the rights of individual constitutional rights as a sovereign. They have a right to exist but political deciding power no. An example is AARP and look at the power they wield with lobbyist in D.C. now.

[-] 1 points by RedBaaron (54) 2 years ago

Well, to me, there is somewhat of a difference in that a for-profit organization stands to see its own financial interests furthered by making donations to a candidate. For instance, you can bet big Pharma will always be willing to spend big to prevent Canadian-style price limits in the US. And their resources are a bottomless well.

There are some borderline cases--groups like the AARP and the NRA. Still, while I have a vaguely, unfavorable view of the NRA, I don't know that there is any reason why they should be kept from representing people with a philosophical commitment to gun ownership. If they is not defrauding them of their money and are just making campaign donations, sending out flyers, buying air time, etc, it seems pretty much the same as if their millions of constituent members were making donations directly. To really remove that influence from politics completely, you'd have to prevent the individual members from making direct contributions themselves. Campaign contributions would have to be altogether across the board. Sounds great until you try running a campaign with no money and square off against a rich guy with lots of it.

With the for-profits, it is the corporations themselves that give and they're not making the donation based on philosophic considerations so much as the bottom lines of their stockholders. For the same reason, I think the trade unions would have to be controlled in the manner of for-profit orgs (but I'm willing to bet that was specifically left out to be worked in as a compromise with the Republicans). In both cases, vigilance is needed to ensure that the money is not simply funneled through businesses to some sort of shadowy front organization. Luckily, the fourth section of the Occupy Amendment allows for that flexibility.

I admit, it would be nice to eliminate the power of groups to make donations altogether; I just don't see how that can be reconciled with freedom of speech in instances where the group is simply acting as a spokesperson. Maybe I'm just splitting too fine a hair here; I don't know.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

I expect the Republican's in the red states will fix the 'oversight' of the Democratic author in regards other sources of money.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

Agreed. There are legal issues as well. Nevertheless, this shows we are having an impact and our message is being heard. This should do wonders for morale!

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

so . . . should corporations be subject to unreasonable search and seizure?

Should churches?

The Sierra Club?

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

But they are property . . . of the stockholders.

[-] 1 points by rascal (42) 2 years ago

This should do wonders for morale!

National General Assembly to Meet in July in Philadelphia

Please support our objective to hold a National General Assembly the week of July 4th 2012 in Philadelphia. The content of the Petition for a Redress of Grievances will be left TOTALLY up to the 876 delegates. Our group, www.the99declaration.org is only a facilitation group which is organizing an open and transparent election of the delegates to the National General Assembly and then will pay for the venue space for the National General Assembly to meet and come up a with a Petition for a Redress of

Grievances as authorized by the Constitution. We need your help to make this happen! Email us if you have any questions at the99declaration@gmail.com because this cannot happen without your support.

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[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5866) 2 years ago

Although the personhood and undemocratic influence of corporations needs to be dealt with, an amendment that specifically targets them continues to leave the doors wide open to other avenues of undemocratic influence that have facilitated current conditions. A broader amendment could address some of the issues that a coporation targeted amendment does not. This doesn't mean that a broader amendment would automatically relieve the need for dealing with corporations in another amendment. Only that a greater problem should have primacy in being addressed before narrowing the focus to a more specific issue.

Free Democracy Amendment

  1. Subject to the Fourth Amendment and barring violation to the rights of others, the right of a free people to be secure in their decisions of personal safety, activity, association, and property, shall not be violated.

  2. The right of a free and democratic people to engage in Initiative, Referendum, and Recall, shall be exercised at all levels of government.

  3. The provision of Patriot Dollars to voters for the sole funding of campaigns at all levels of government shall be enacted to keep campaigns free from the undemocratic influence of wealthy entities.

  4. The offering or acceptance of any item or service of value including the offering or acceptance of future employment involving a public official or candidate for public office of any branch or level of government shall be prohibited and punishable with equivalence to an act of treason.

  5. Any communication between a lobbyist and a public official shall be public and open to the press.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

I agree with most, but let me caution you a little regarding the original post and your first item above.

Most of us agree that unions should be able to negotiate labor contracts and businesses should be able to enter into contracts. What few people understand is that these abilities derive from the law stating that an association of people inherits the rights of the people who chose to associate. In other words, an association of people inherits the right to free speech allowing unions to run political ads as well as the ability to collectively enter into labor contracts, be sued, etc. It simply makes sense that associations of people should inherit the rights of the people choosing to associate. This includes speech, contracts, equal protection, etc.

Unfortunately given the perspectives of most OWS supporters, a company or corporation is simply an association of people under the law.

You probably see the problem so I won't elaborate more. If you'd like the elaboration, see my comment at http://www.themultitude.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=4387#p4387 . Note my position is none too popular, but I believe it more fully addresses the legal issues than most discussions of the topic. In the CItizens United case, the majority

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

We, in the Restore Democracy Working Group will help Rep Ted Deutch
WILL YOU JOIN US ?
We need to pick an issue that is proven popular -
that 83% of Americans already agree on -
That even 56% of TP already agree on -
that will bring together the people in OWS
with the people outside of OWS.
Everybody wins!

YOUR ACTION ----> JOIN US TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Our only immediate goal should be to pass a constitutional amendment to counter Supreme Court decision Citizens United (2010) , that enable unlimited amounts of anonymous money to flood into our political system.
“Corporations and organizations are not a persons &
have no personhood rights”

We don’t have to explain or persuade people to accept our position – we only have to persuade them to ACT based on their own position. Pursuing this goal will prove to the world that we, at OWS, are a serious realistic Movement, with serious realistic goals. Achieving this goal will make virtually every other goal – jobs, taxes, infrastructure, Medicare – much easier to achieve –
by disarming our greatest enemy – GREED.
YOUR ACTION ----> JOIN US TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE


THE SUCCESS STORY OF THE AMENDING PROCESS The Prohibition movement started as a disjointed effort by conservative teetotalers who thought the consumption of alcohol was immoral. They ransacked saloons and garnered press coverage here and there for a few years. Then they began to gain support from the liberals because many considered alcohol partially responsible for spousal and child abuse, among other social ills. This odd alliance, after many years of failing to influence change consistently across jurisdictions, decided to concentrate on one issue nationally—a constitutional amendment. They pressured all politicians on every level to sign a pledge to support the amendment. Any who did not, they defeated easily at the ballot box since they controlled a huge number of liberal, and conservative and independent swing votes in every election. By being a single-issue constituency attacking from all sides of the political spectrum, they very quickly amassed enough votes (2/3) to pass the amendment in Congress. And, within just 17 months, they were successful in getting ¾ of the state legislatures to ratify the constitutional amendment into law. (Others were ratified even faster: Eight —took less than a year. The 26th, granting 18-year-olds the right to vote, took just three months and eight days.)


If they could tie the left and right into a success -
WHY CAN'T WE ??????????

YOUR ACTION ----> JOIN US TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE


I feel that we should stay with this simple text to overturn CU:
”corporations are not people”
for four simple reasons and one – not so simple:
1
83% of Americans have already opposed CU in the ABC/Washington post poll and the above
IS THEIR POSITION ALREADY.
2
We don’t have to work to convince people on the validity of our position.
3
Simple is almost always better.
4
This simple Amendment is REQUIRED to overturn CU.
And all other electoral reform can be passed through the normal legislative process.

5
OWS and these pages are chock full of ( mostly ) excellent ideas to improve our country.
All of them have strong advocates – and some have strong opposition.
None of them has been “pre-approved” by 83% of Americans !
Pursuing this goal – without additional specifics is exactly what Americans want.
What do we want? Look at that almost endless list of demands – goals - aims.
Tax the rich. End the Fed. Jobs for all, Medicare for all. So easy to state! Can you imagine how hard it would be to formulate a “sales pitch” for any of these to convince your Republican friends to vote for any of them?
83% of Americans have ALREADY “voted” against CU. And 76% of the Rs did too.
All we have to do ask Americans is to pressure their representatives – by letters - emails – petitions.

Wanna take your family on vacation?
Convince the 7 year old and the 10 year old to go to Mt Rushmore.
Then try to convince them to go to Disneyland.
Prioritizing this goal will introduce us to the world – not as a bunch of hippie radical anarchist socialist commie rabblerousers – but as a responsible, mature movement that is fighting for what America wants.
YOUR ACTION ----> JOIN US TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE


I feel that using the tactics of the NRA, the AARP an the TP – who all represent a minority – who have successfully used their voting power to achieve their minority goals - plus the Prohibition Amendment tactics – bringing all sides together - is a straight path for us to success that cannot fail to enable us to create and complete one task the MAJORITY.


Join the OWS Restore Democracy Working Group at
............. http://www.nycga.net/groups/restore-democracy__
Plan details with supporting documentation at: http://bit.ly/vK2pGI
regular meetings 6-8PM @ 60 Wall St @ Wednesdays__


YOUR ACTION ----> JOIN US TO PASS THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

TO END CORPORATE PERSONHOOD


Whereas --

The OWS Declaration of the Occupation of New York City states that
"a democratic government derives its just power from the people,
not from corporations."

and --

the ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 83% of the entire US population
opposes the Supreme Court Citizens United decision,
which affirmed that corporations are people.

and --

by supporting the overturning of corporate personhood,
OWS clearly aligns itself with the vast majority of the American people
who support ending the fundamentally flawed and anti-democratic concept
that corporations are people.

therefore --

We support a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood.


[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

Awesome ! Thanks for the link !

[-] 1 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Sure thing.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

OK, I just inserted a link to your discussion of the Senate version in the original post above.

[-] 2 points by puff6962 (4052) 2 years ago

I think that half measures will avail us nothing. I am encouraged that this bill was presented, but I think that the opposition will fight a war of attrition and only a frontal assault upon all corporate money in our political system will solve the issue.

This means, however, that a well crafted, more extensive, bill could go down in flames when it is first voted upon. But, sometimes you have to lose to win.

The fact that the broader bill gets blocked or voted down will only galvanize support for the measure. Ordinary citizens will see the bill's failure as even more evidence of the influence of big money on our politicians.

Sometimes you have to lose to win.....and, sometimes you must be very patient to get everything that you desire.

McCain-Feingold taught us the dangers of leaving any loopholes in campaign finance reform and I'm afraid that, by the time this one gets watered down, OWS would likely be unable to support it.

The irony is that, if Occupy then came out and denounced the final legislation or Amendment, we would be seen as whiny little spoiled brats.

Politics is a game of Chess....and you're going against Grandmasters.

If there are those among us who are very well educated in legal speak and government, it would be ultimately better for OWS to put out its own version of such an Amendment in the form of a Pledge to be presented to both Democratic and Republican Congressional primary candidates. I wouldn't expect too much support from the Republicans, but who knows.

If you become strong footsoldiers for primary candidates....where every vote's impact is most felt due to low turnoout....you will gain disproportionate influence upon your representatives and a great bill will have a chance.

Get the Pledge done and then get it signed by every contestant you can. This is a strategy that has been working against you for years (can anyone recall the last time a Republican member of Congress voted for a tax increase?). Now, it's time for the strategy to work for you.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

I agree with everything you say.

We do need people who are savvy and have a legal support staff to help refine this legislation. I see know reason why McCain and Feingold (who you recommended as a good leader in another post) wouldn't come on board to help refine and nurture this. Do you ?

I also wonder whether the ACLU would be willing to help. Thoughts ?

Don't dismiss republicans too quickly, at least not the Tea Party folks. Someone said the Tea Party had proposed something similar, but it didn't go anywhere (I asked him to get me their names). I'm a Republican, and so are most of my friends, and all of us want the money out too. They will not however side with OWS's broader agenda, so this needs to be left out there as a bi-partisan effort separate from all other OWS demands. In my opinion, this should be our only demand, but I tried proposing that in several posts, and most OWS folks have a much broader agenda. I pointed out that with an uncorrupted Democracy, we can later push other reforms, but they're eager for immediate action.

[-] 1 points by RedBaaron (54) 2 years ago

Please see my post to Puff6962 below. I'm interested in your perspective on what could be added to this bill to strengthen it, or to the pledge, if that's the best route.

[-] 1 points by puff6962 (4052) 2 years ago

Exactly.....if you get big money out of politics, the half of what OWS falls in place. If you do not address the issue of big money in politics, everything will ultimately fail.

There is not going to be a revolution in this country, nor a viable third party, so it is essential to find spots where you can leverage the existing governmental structure to your ends.

That leverage can be most aptly applied at the primary level with The Pledge.

[-] 1 points by RedBaaron (54) 2 years ago

Puff, first I'd just like to extend my gratitude to you and Rico for raising the bar as far as dialogue is concerned. One can only read so many postings from wannabe guerrilla fighters and Anti-Zionist wingnuts before getting the feeling it's time the teacher blew the whistle and brought us all in from recess....

I'll admit to being a little discouraged that this proposed Bill is not getting more visible support from OWS. I understand your point about the need to close the loopholes, but it doesn't seem to me that the far-reaching impact of this bill is being given it's due recognition. I'm interested in hearing what you think can or should be added to this bill to make it more complete. I agree with Rico that this needs to be made separate from the broader OWS agenda, because it's one of the few items that can get the necessary support from across the isle. And I agree with your assertion that getting rid of moneyed influence is the essential first step.

So what more does this bill need? Someone has mentioned applying the same sort of restrictions to nonprofit organizations, but it's hard to see how that could be reconciled with the right to freedom of speech. Others have suggested outlawing donations altogether, but it's hard to see how that wouldn't just provide an ever greater advantage for candidates of means. If the Norquist strategy is the answer, then what would, in concrete terms, be the things we would demand of our representatives? I'm not trying to trip you up; I'm just trying to pick your brain a bit.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

Agreed, and I can speak from some experience in discussing this with my conservative friends that they will support this as well. If we can focus on this, I think America's view of OWS will shift and we'll see very broad support. I'm pretty sure the Tea Party folks would come on board as well.

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 2 years ago

In one of the greatest signs yet that the 99 Percenters are having an impact, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, today introduced an amendment that would ban corporate money in politics and end corporate personhood once and for all.

Deutch’s amendment, called the Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy (OCCUPIED) Amendment, would overturn the Citizens United decision, re-establishing the right of Congress and the states to regulate campaign finance laws, and to effectively outlaw the ability of for-profit corporations to contribute to campaign spending.

...

Thanks Rico, for posting. Everyone should contact their representative and tell them to support and co-sponsor this amendment.

A little refresher on the amendment process: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/constitution/

And here's the tack opposition will take: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/11/30/occupied-constitutional-amendment-would-eliminate-due-process-for-corporations/

A constitutional amendment offered in the House of Representatives would strip American companies of all protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. While the amendment is aimed at curbing free speech rights afforded third party groups by the Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC, it would, whether intended or not, open the door to a host of gross violations of Americans’ civil rights.

The proposed amendment, offered by Rep. Theodore Deutch (D-FL) on Nov. 18, is wholly a product of the violent and subversive “Occupy” protest movement currently unwinding across the country. In a news release, Deutch made specific reference to the protests, and stated, “the days of corporate control of our democracy must end.” Branded with the acronym OCCUPIED, the amendment states:

The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons and do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities established for business purposes or to promote business interests under the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state.

...

[-] 0 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

so what is this - an opening gambit?

The amendment gets rewritten - in that process, do the protections it seeks to provide get eliminated? Verbally obscured such that they may be subject to Supreme Court action based on the interpretation?

Can the Occupy Movement provide the substance that satisfies reasonable objections to the amendment as written?

If we do not, can we capitalize on repelican instability this issue generates to both a) bring down the repelican party, and b) will the amendment be rewritten in a way that meets the needs it is intended to address?

It seems I only have questions . . ..

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 2 years ago

This particular amendment is probably a dead end, but maybe an opening gambit in a larger reversal of the trend towards corporatocracy. A groundswell of support for it would be good anyway, to clue-in the powers that be that change is inevitable.

You and Rico pretty well cover the rest below.

[-] 0 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

So you don't think this amendment is going anywhere - even with a rewrite?

Then how do we get the money out of politics? It needs to be done both quickly, and effectively.

A "groundswell of support" - the result? When people come to understand it was only a gambit? It will deepen the cynicism.

It will provide justification to the belief that we need to raze it all and start over.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

I think we can capitalize on the disillusionment in Obama, who is now accepting Big Money, the awful ratings of Congress, the recent 'Insider Trading' scandal. I think we will also be able to count on the support of the Tea Party folks if we adopt this alone as our agenda... it has very wide appeal, and we will need everyone supporting us; we can't do this alone.

I have long said that if OWS can make this one thing happen, we will have changed the course of America in historic terms. Once we have our government back, we can work everything else out. We need to unify America behind this.

[-] 0 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

I don't think the President really has a lot of choice in terms of donations. He has to be able to outspend his opponent, that is how the system is set up.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

Sure, but he did start out saying he wouldn't take anything but small donations and he is a Constitutional scholar who has to see how the money is destroying the Democracy. Though I disagree with his view of the role of government (I am after all a Repelican), I actually like and respect him. I think he's simply resigned himself to the "system." He also needs to "own" OWS or he's going to lose a lot his left. A skilled politician and speaker such as he will easily sidestep the fact that he takes money by saying, "We must all stop accepting this money at the same time, and that requires a change in law. To do otherwise is suicide for the one that takes the first step, and I'm not willing to leave the country in the hands of the Republicans just to prove a point."

[-] -1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

Now you're just fuckin with me. You really don't have any political commitments, I can tell. No repelican worth his salt would dare touch this proposed amendment, let alone admit the President has a chance in public -

or chit chat with me about restoring the Republic . . .

I don't believe it.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

Well it would be more accurate to say I used to be a Repelican. See my very first post here at http://occupywallst.org/forum/what-has-happened-to-us/ then compare it to my recent comments at http://occupywallst.org/forum/the-rise-of-the-machines/#comment-463675 and http://occupywallst.org/forum/the-rise-of-the-machines/#comment-466721 to understand how much my interactions here have changed my views. Civil discourse is good. That's why we need more of it.

Even as a Repelican, I was never happy with the religious right because I've always been a social libertarian. Unfortunately, AynRandRonPaul hijacked the term "Libertarian" and redefined it to say "Gold, the Articles of Confederation, and Robber Barrons are what we need !" I remain a social libertarian in the true sense of the word, and I remain a fiscal conservative, but I like the Federal Reserve, and my interactions here have made me realize there are people who simply cannot advance through society as I have for a variety of reasons.

I'm still registered as a Repelican, but I'm really a guy in the middle with no party or candidate. I think "Blue Dog Democrats" are likely the closest to my views, and I'd vote for Hilary Clinton if she ran.

The good news about my position in political limbo is that I really don't have an axe to grind either way. I just want to see things fixed.

[-] -1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

I just want to see things fixed.

Basically that's how I feel, but my god, when I listen to those idiots - I watched that budget debate kinda close, I mean, just what was in the news . . .

talk about infuriating

and carl with a K rove . . . !

they are deliberately making things worse, constantly claiming they have "the will of the people" when the numbers are at 30% or some "political mandate" based on 50.003 percent of the vote . . .

fuckin cr4zy

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

Note I expanded and edited the comment you responded to.

I wasn't very happy with either party during the whole series of budget discussions (including the Super Committee). We don't elect these folks to worry about their reelection, we elect them to make decisions. It's maddening.

[-] -1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

it is maddening

hence i rarely have a civil tongue.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

I went ahead and put the text up top. I should have done that in the first place. The article is dated back in Nov. I wonder why this wasn't all over the forums.

In addition, per my comments at http://occupywallst.org/forum/coporations-have-been-people-for-between-63-and-16/ , there are a lot of legal issues.

Nevertheless this bit of news shows we are having an impact ! Yahoo ! This should do a lot for morale.

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (4784) 2 years ago

Excellent.

[-] 1 points by wbhyatt (73) 2 years ago

i'm damned proud he took the initiative though. brave

[-] 1 points by Endgame (535) 2 years ago

I effing love this. Its definitely a huge step in the right direction.

Until we get all outside money out of our politics and make it so corporations are NOT people and that money does NOT equal free speech nothing will happen. We have to deal with the core of the problem to even begin to be able to have honest debates on how to fix these serious problems.

[-] 1 points by warriorjoe7 (232) 2 years ago

so how about the corporations give money to their own bought and paid for non-profits who in turn pay for their candidates anyways?

This doesn't even go close to far enough. It is so short it is actually useless. Just another duplicitous bill in it's current form.

It's only a restriction on HOW the corporations can still affect the political process, not a restriction that they can.

THIS WILL NOT GO FAR ENOUGH UNTIL THEY SAYTHAT PRIVATE CITIZENS ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO CAN CONTRIBUTE AND HAVE A CONTRIBUTION LIMIT AND LET PEOPLE CONTRIBUTE ONLY TO CANDIDATES THAT ARE IN THEIR AREA.

this current bill solves nothing... it is even dangerous, because it looks like it does on it's face.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

First, this is only the first draft. Believe me, the Republican red states will insert language controlling union money and 'non-profits' like AARP as well. We need to demand they do.

I, by the way, don't even want private political contributions. It's pretty easy for 'bundlers' to get a lot of money from PAC members, etc, and the poor can't afford to contribute. I want elections financed by a Federal Election fund paid for by taxes. See http://occupywallst.org/forum/we-the-people-in-order-to-a-proposal/ .

The bill is not perfect, but it's clear we're being heard. Let's get out their and help Rep Deutch refine his bill rather than sit on our asses and complain about it.

[-] 1 points by warriorjoe7 (232) 2 years ago

how about when a candidate goes down and then gives there money to another political candidate. I think this is also unfair

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

I would imagine they have the records to know who gave them how much, so it seems like they could weight each donor's contribution, divide up what's left, and give it back to the contributors.

[-] 1 points by D33 (48) from Seattle, WA 2 years ago

Regardless of whether the proposal is perfect or not, this is a great step and a sign of progress. Hope it gets more media attention.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I think this is great! I'm less certain that it can pass in any really potent version in this congress. But maybe they're finally getting scared enough to do it. Let's hope so!

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Replying to myself here, after looking into it a little, it just seems like another meaningless attemp at appeasement to me.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

I'm for government and corporate transparency

[-] 1 points by MonetizingDiscontent (1257) 2 years ago

Hmm, why are 'not for profit' organizations/foundations given a waiver in this? just asking.

Other than that, this looks very promising. be skeptical though, for our own sake. This might be able to be improved on. I just dont think there should be any exceptions, yknow? There is no inbetween, out or in. yes or no.

-Awesome post Rico-

[-] 1 points by PandoraK (1678) 2 years ago

MonetizingDiscontent, most states require non profit or not for profit organizations to NOT 'be political' nor active politically. It's pretty easy to look up the requirements for each state for such organizations.

Recipients of 501c3 status are also required to be nonpolitical, this too is pretty easy to find.

Organizations that are not for profit yet active politically are probably just doing so and getting away with it because 'no one is hollering' about it.

Political activity is supposed to result in loss of nonprofit and/or nontax status and requires a rewrite of the charter of the organization.

Then again the not for profits that are politically active may well have 'fronts' which hide their participation and leaves a complainant with a lack of proof of wrong doing.

So by including them there would be a tactic admission of wrong doing on the part of all 'parties'.

I'd provide links but it's late, I'm tired and I just 'got rid' of three teenagers. Nite all.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

Reread the post. I just edited it and added some language ;o)

I also don't think I've seen you weigh in over on my post at http://occupywallst.org/forum/the-rise-of-the-machines/ . There's been a lot of good discussion.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Two tea party members in FL did the same thing. Establishment shot it down like a duck in the sky.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

I'm not surprised, this is a non-partisan topic that crosses all boundaries. Everyone in America knows this is a problem.

By the way, which tea party folks tried this ? Is there a link to what they proposed ?

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Ill try to find it...

[-] 1 points by OccupyNews (1183) 2 years ago

Wow, a very powerful and compelling final paragraph.

[-] 1 points by nucleus (3291) 2 years ago

Congress already has those powers, it just chooses not to exercise them because it would cripple their income.

[-] 1 points by OccupyNews (1183) 2 years ago

What about passing a law that all lobbying activity MUST be live streamed onto the internet as they happen?

[-] 1 points by nucleus (3291) 2 years ago

Do you really think congress is going to do anything that is not self-serving?

[-] 2 points by OccupyNews (1183) 2 years ago

Let me ask you this, why do I need to preoccupy my mind with why congress won't do the right thing when congress is supposed to serve the country first?

Do you think the elitists that control everything go around worrying what the masses will think?

Have you considered that the people that never get a say are the ones that spend more time saying why those in power won't do something, rather than gathering one's own energy aligning with other people who want positive change.

Think about it. If you believe an idea is good, YOU FIGHT FOR IT, you don't excuse your involvement by saying that "they" won't do it, that's just crap.

[-] 1 points by nucleus (3291) 2 years ago

I cited the reason why this legislation is crap. If you are going to fight for something, fight for something REAL.

[-] 1 points by OccupyNews (1183) 2 years ago

You might want to reread this thread. I proposed the following idea...What about passing a law that all lobbying activity MUST be live streamed onto the internet as they happen?

and you stated..."Do you really think congress is going to do anything that is not self-serving?"

[Removed]

[-] 0 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

Here is the text of the Amendment presented to Congress:

JOINT RESOLUTION

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United

States to expressly exclude for-profit corporations from

the rights given to natural persons by the Constitution of

the United States, prohibit corporate spending in all

elections, and affirm the authority of Congress and the

States to regulate corporations and to regulate and set

limits on all election contributions and expenditures.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives

of the United States of America in Congress assembled

(two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the fol-

lowing article is proposed as an amendment to the Con-

stitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all

intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when

ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several

states within seven years after the date of its submission

for ratification:

"ARTICLE---

"SECTION 1. The rights protected by the Constitution

of the United States are the rights of natural persons and

do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability

companies, or other private entities established for busi-

ness purposes or to promote business interests under the

laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state.

"SECTION 2. Such corporate and other private enti-

ties established under law are subject to regulation by the

people through the legislative process so long as such regu-

lations are consistent with he powers of Congress and the

States and do not limit the freedom of the press.

"SECTION 3. Such Corporate and other private enti-

ties shall be prohibited from making contributions or ex-

pendititures in any election of any candidate for public of-

fice or the vote upon any ballot measure submitted to the

people.

"SECTION 4. Congress and the States shall have the

power to regulate and set limits on all election contribu-

tions and expenditures, including a candidate's own spend-

ing, and to authorize the establishment of political com-

mittees to receive, spend, and publicly disclose the sources

of those contributions and expenditures.".

November 17, 2011

You can find the link to this proposed Amendment on Rep. Deutch website and this is a direct link to the PDF

[-] 0 points by MVSN (768) from Stockton, CA 2 years ago

A start but it's probably a propaganda effort. Congress isn't going to cut their own throats.

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

You never know, such things have happened in the past, and you can't let cynicism destroy hope. It's OK to celebrate a little before getting back to work! ;o)

[-] 0 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

this is so cool


Special Topic Rep. Deutch Introduces OCCUPIED Constitutional Amendment To Ban Corporate Money In Politics

By Zaid Jilani on Nov 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) is tackling corporate money in politics head on. In one of the greatest signs yet that the 99 Percenters are having an impact, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, today introduced an amendment that would ban corporate money in politics and end corporate personhood once and for all.

Deutch’s amendment, called the Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy (OCCUPIED) Amendment, would overturn the Citizens United decision, re-establishing the right of Congress and the states to regulate campaign finance laws, and to effectively outlaw the ability of for-profit corporations to contribute to campaign spending.

“No matter how long protesters camp out across America, big banks will continue to pour money into shadow groups promoting candidates more likely to slash Medicaid for poor children than help families facing foreclosure,” said Deutch in a statement provided to ThinkProgress. “No matter how strongly Ohio families fight for basic fairness for workers, the Koch Brothers will continue to pour millions into campaigns aimed at protecting the wealthiest 1%. No matter how fed up seniors in South Florida are with an agenda that puts oil subsidies ahead of Social Security and Medicare, corporations will continue to fund massive publicity campaigns and malicious attack ads against the public interest. Americans of all stripes agree that for far too long, corporations have occupied Washington and drowned out the voices of the people. I introduced the OCCUPIED Amendment because the days of corporate control of our democracy. It is time to return the nation’s capital and our democracy to the people.”


from the link above

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

I went ahead and put the text up top. I should have done that in the first place. The article is dated back in Nov. I wonder why this wasn't all over the forums.

[-] -1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

so - noting the objections to the amendment as is, what happens if we view corporations as property?

And how would that apply to churches? Unions? Non-profits?

That probably will not work.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

There are some legal issues as well. The Supreme Court didn't declare corporations as persons in Citizens United, they simply upheld existing law and a bevy of prior rulings supporting it. The minority opinion basically said, "Yea, we know we'd be making new law, but this sucks."

The real stickler in the Citizens case is that we routinely allow for-profit corporations to speak all day long about politics, blasting some candidates and supporting others. They're called Fox, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc. There was no good way to let one corporation engage in free political speech while baning others.

The real stickler with the corporate personhood provisions are that corporations must be persons to engage in contracts (and be sued). That's how all the "personhood" started back in the late 1700's, in contract law. See my discussion at http://occupywallst.org/forum/coporations-have-been-people-for-between-63-and-16/

I like this new amendment, but it should include unions and all the other associations currently granted "personhood" under the law as well. I expect that even if this amendment goes forward, we can count on the Republican red states to fix that little omission ;o)

[-] -1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

I've a list of questions below - well. they aren't really arranged as a list - I was thinking off the top of my head . . .

I like it too - this 28th Amendment - generally speaking.

And I like the repelican reaction - loosly-human posted a link above, the comments on that page are entertaining.

But some of the arguments may be valid - as you noted. If the Sierra Club maintains the right to lobby, then corporations will simply produce non-profits of their own and we will be back at square one.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Exactly, the ban must be universal or they will quickly find a way around it. If it isn't universal it isn't a solution.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

Don't despair. This is a draft. It will be 'tuned up' by everyone during the ratification process assuming it makes it that far.

[-] -1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

Yeah - that has me a bit nervous.

The Postal Service announced they are going ahead with downsizing.

Congress sabotaged them - not that I've explored the fine details but $5 billion pulled out of their budget every year . . . .

the fuckrs . . .

It gives me a sense of winning on one front and losing on another - and the win could be illusory.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

I lament the loss in jobs, but I have to admit that I never get anything but junk mail in my snail-mail. The advertisers should be paying to distribute that crap, not us.

I do get a good number of packages delivered to my home, but they always come via UPS or Fed-Ex. I wonder why they USPS couldn't compete. Do you know?

By the way, the other really big challenge in getting the money out of politics will be overcoming the media blitz against it; a very large protion of that money flows through them, and they book election years as financial events just like the Olympics. I actually read an investment column pointing out, "Don't forget to move some money back into the media houses, they're predicting even larger reviews from the 2012 election than from the 2008 election." [sigh]

[-] -1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

We get stuff USPS all the time. I don't know about any cost differences - I haven't sent anything in a long time.

As I understand it, advertising is a major funding source for the Postal Service.

I hate to see them downsized - they are an institution, and kind of a cultural center in small town America.

AS for the media - you got that right.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

Yep... reread the post. I added your link and some additional language.

[-] -1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

hey, that improves accessibility - at least, I know I don't read all of the comments, the type is too small, I have to squint.

If I resize the page, the whole thing gets resized, I don't like that either.

Glad to have been useful.