On Monday, February 11th at 10 AM EST at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., Move to Amend will join members of Congress as they introduce Move to Amend’s “We the People Amendment,” an amendment that clearly and unequivocally states that:
1) Rights recognized under the Constitution belong to human beings only, and not to government-created artificial legal entities such as corporations and limited liability companies; and
2) Political campaign spending is not a form of speech protected under the First Amendment.
The “We the People Amendment” is being introduced by Representative Rick Nolan (D- FL-Minnesota) and Representative Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin).
How different were our politics the day before Citizens United versus the day after? How different would the outcome of the 2012 elections have been absent Citizens United? It would not be very different.
There are two reasons this is likely the case. The first is that each side uses the same rules to maximize their political dollars, and diverging interests are, currently, relatively equal. The second is that there is a point of diminishing returns. After TV, radio, print, and online ads are saturated in a relatively balanced manner from both sides, they become simply fog to the average American citizen, and no longer have influence. At that point, ideology is the driving factor. For several elections, this country has been voting as a center-left country and it continues to vote that way.
What is the concern then? The concern is the same; the corrosive effect money has on our politics. Favors are owed to those big donors on both sides of the aisle. Moreover, big donors usually find a way to have their foot in every door and, as such, donate to each side.
The Citizens United case, in effect, equates money and speech. Since we have freedom of speech, it effectively removed the government’s authority to regulate unlimited political contributions.
There is only one solution to this corruption: a constitutional amendment that specifically decouples money from speech and removes corporate personhood. This will ensure that while free speech is maintained, the use of money in politics can be regulated. Moreover, it will remove the ability of corporate entities of any kind (corporations, non-profits, unions, etc.) from claiming free speech rights and other rights of living breathing human beings.
Many organizations are already working on constitutional amendments purported to solve the problem. Most solely concentrate on the overturning of “Citizens United” or codifying that money is not speech. Again the question must be asked, what is the difference pre and post Citizens United. The organization Move to Amend is the only one currently working on an all-encompassing amendment that will solve the corruption once and for all, as it covers both the decoupling of money and speech, as well as removing corporate personhood.
Move to Amend, by means of its over-160 affiliates, has already gotten resolutions passed at the city, county, and state levels. Following the grassroots method of building awareness through the resolution process is likely the most effective way of generating popular support for real change in our electoral and political process.
This is how the process of real change begins. It is the engagement of the grassroots and electoral politics.