Amend the Constitution Now, Before Elections Get Even More Distorted by Corporate Money

Senator Whitehouse and others have introduced legislation to amend the constitution so that corporations can not qualify as people who can give unlimited cash to campaigns. From Whitehouse’s press release:

In 2010, the Supreme Court concluded in a highly contentious 5-4 ruling that corporations deserve the same free speech protections as individual Americans, enabling them to spend freely from their corporate treasuries on campaign advertising.

“The flawed Citizens United decision allows corporations, including international corporations, to use their vast wealth to drown out the voices of the American people, and it allows them to do so anonymously from behind shell organizations,” said Whitehouse. “We must ensure that government works for the American people, not powerful corporations. The constitutional amendment we are introducing today will undo the Citizens United decision, putting people in charge as the Founders of our country intended.”

Given the shocking amounts of money flowing into elections now, including school board elections such as the recent Denver School Board elections in which the winners were mostly cash coffer candidates for oil companies and other powerful corporate interests, it is becoming glaringly apparent just how much damage the recent Supreme Court ruling has done to our election process. We are being inundated with corporate pressure to change our educational systems in ways that make everything “data-driven” and, in my opinion, strip much of the humanity out of education.

If you want to think about what might be done to improve education, I recommend reading Aaron Regunberg’s post that gives attention to the evolving “Student Bill of Rights” — a student-driven movement to define what students want and need to succeed educationally. Interestingly, there is nothing in their bill about needing more data-driven analysis and standards that declare whole systems (usually systems in poor urban areas) to be failures. The students come back to the basics: that they need good food, access to health care, and access to the full range of educational (including the arts and humanities) in order to benefit fully from their education.

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13 responses

  1. I’d go for that if unions and PAC’s were included.In other words,no non-individuals(meaning live people)could finance a campaign.
    Don’t forget,some unions are international also.
    Something tells me you wouldn’t like my version.

    1. If you’ll throw corporations in, I’ll raise ya’ unions and PAC’s.
      Done deal.

      1. sekanblogger-I think I just did that-corporations,unions,PAC’s.Agreed.
        People United was decided on a stupid part of the campaign finance law limiting writings-we can’t go there-written speech is even more protected than spoken speech because it’s less likely to be incendiary in the moment.

  2. Well, I agree union contributions need to be limited too, especially as in all my years in the teachers union (AFT) rank and file members like me had so little say in where our union political dollars went. (same with me as a shareholder)

    I do commend Senator Whitehouse for this initiative which he mentioned at a recent town meeting he had in Providence that I attended. I think he is doing a good job on helping defend social security/medicare, environmental protection, reproductive freedom, and education programs, all under attack from right-wing forces. He also gave a speech reported nationally on climate science for which the right-wing here (but rarely elsewhere) is in complete denial.

    1. Well,Barry-my daughter was a teachers union member for 9 years(AFT)and had the same beef you do-they take the dues without taking substantive input from the rank and file and go ahead with contributions.
      I have a lower opinion of Whitehouse-his scurrilous attack on people who don’t like Obama as “right ring militia,Aryan Nations supporters,and fanatics,and birthers”(paraphrase,but not innaccurate)was totally unjustified.
      I don’t like Obama at all.
      I couldn’t join Aryan Nations on a bet.Nor am I a birther,fanatic,nor militiaman.I was a soldier way back in the day though.
      Point being,he is generally a pompous,elitist ass.
      way too much to go into here.
      But I would just like to see people like you and me being the only ones allowed to contribute to a caampaign.No consortiums of any type allowed.

  3. It would be a great thing if this could happen.
    It won’t happen as long as filibusters are still used.
    Kill the filibuster, somehow. Then we can do the people’s business.

    1. They’ll never kill the filibuster because the Senate changes hands now and then and those entrenched turds love to maintain power.
      Now here I am a conservative of sorts and I get it-why don’t you?They are mostly there for themselves.

  4. Ah, yes, the usual dance about unioins and hippies.

    The amount of money contributed by corporations is levels of magnitude larger than any amounts ever given by unions, even back when unions really amounted to something.

    The Koch brothers alone give more than unions and George Soros put together. And there’s also Scaife, and Mellon, and half-a-dozen other donors. And those are just the family fortunes. Then we have the corporate graft

    Giving up union contributions to eliminate corporate donations would be a huge victory for progressive voices. The amount of disinformation and outright lies put out by corporate interests would decrease dramatically.

    The worst thing? Anyone know how corporations got to be ‘people’? By a series of Supreme Court rulings by Republican-nominated, business-serving Justices in the late 19th Century. They managed to twist the language of the equal protection amendment–intended to protect the rights of the newly-freed slaves–and create a whole new category of ‘persons': the corporation.

    IOW, judicial activism that goes way beyond anything Thurgood Marshall ever dreamed of. He sought to protect the rights of individuals, while the business interests of the late 19th centrury created an entirely new class of individuals.

    So please. No false equivalency. What the unions spend is pocket change compared to the money spent–and the influence bought–by corporations.

    Oh–and those ‘persons’ who don’t pay any income tax that the GOP is so angry about? They’re called ‘corporations.’ In any given year about 30% of the Fortune 500 companies pay ZERO income tax. In fact, some of them even get refunds.

    How sick is that?

    1. So who mentioned”hippies”?
      klaus,as usual-you read what you want to see and not what is there.
      BTW don’t you make your money from a corproation?Maybe I’m mistaken,but I seem to recall your reason for hiding behind an alias is for that very reason.
      How could you badmouth Soros when you attend his moveon.org training sessions?
      I bet you were never a union member for one day in your life.If so,which union?
      I was a 25 year union member.You have exactly NOTHING to come at me with in any argument and you know it-go have a wet dream about Paul Krugman.

      1. Wow, what a salient rebuttal. Do you kiss your wife with that mouth? Probably leaves a bitter aftertaste.

        The consolidation of wealth and power by the real “elitists” in this country (not Obama, but the uber-rich) is the biggest threat to our democracy. If you think Romney, Perry, Cain, or any other Republican candidate is going to reverse the tide, you are deluding yourself. Of course, in this post-Citizens-United world, it’s hard to hold out much hope for the Democrats either. The difference between the two parties is that both have sold their souls to their corporate overseers, but the Republicans threw in their hearts to sweeten the deal.

  5. Absurder-good screen name-it fits-“klaus”is an individual who likes to get preachy and talk down from his home office.
    I actually should’ve said wet dream about Krugman’s theories.

  6. Stop trashing the unions; the unions protect the little guys from the big bad powerful people who only care about money in their pockets.

    1. Having actually BEEN a union member so many years,I noticed union officials never were poor.

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