Tell Congress: Only people are people!

Tell Congress: Only people are people.

We deserve a country where our elected officials are not bought and paid for by big corporations.

But the Citizens United vs. FEC Supreme Court decision overturned over a century of precedent and opened the floodgates for unlimited amounts of corporate money to flow into our political system.

Shockingly, the court came to this decision based on the notion that a corporation is legally a “person” entitled to First Amendment rights, and by equating a corporation’s right to spend unlimited amounts of money influencing an election with our right to free speech.

Even before the Citizens United decision, we too often saw the interests of Main Street subverted in favor of the interests of Wall Street.

But with the Citizens United decision now the law of the land, large corporations have the power to spend unlimited amounts of money from their general treasuries to buy elections.

What’s more, Citizen United opened loopholes that allow corporations to hide their campaign expenditures by laundering the money through non-profit advocacy organizations.

It’s very unlikely that the Supreme Court will fix the issue any time soon.

And because Congress cannot pass a law that supersedes a Supreme Court ruling, it may take a constitutional amendment to undo the worst aspects of the Citizens United decision and end corporate personhood.

Clearly, the bar to successfully amending the Constitution is very high. But with 85% of the public opposed to the Citizens United decision, there is a potential for a broad coalition of Democrats, Republicans and Independents who all want to restore our democracy.

And let’s remember, the stakes are too high to allow inaction on this issue. It’s no exaggeration to say that the Citizens United decision fundamentally threatens the integrity of our democracy.

We need a government of, for and by the people. And sadly, we might need to work really hard to re-establish the common sense and democratic view that only people are people, not corporations.

Your senators and member of Congress need to hear from you, regardless of where they stand on this issue. We need to show them that their constituents are part of a broad movement demanding action — not only to convince them that overturning Citizens United is the right thing to do, but also that it’s possible.

Today, take a step to be part of that movement.

Tell your senators and member of Congress to support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and end corporate personhood.



PAC Track — Who’s Spending What Where for Whom

For those of you who are disturbed by the extraordinary influence of money being dumped into the election process by special interest groups and other unknown parties, a new tool is now available as a ProPublica project.  ProPublica published a new page under their Tolls & Data tab called PAC Track.  Their new tool has three tabs.  The first tab tracks total PAC spending throughout the Primary Calendar.  The Second tab tracks the latest spending by day to payee.  The final tab tracks top contributors to various PACs by Name, PAC and Amount.

“Two federal court rulings in 2010 paved the way for the ascent of “super PACs,” political action committees that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on political races, as long as they don’t coordinate with a specific candidate. And so far, they’re spending heavily on the Republican race. This app, part of our long-term investigation into “dark money,” keeps track of where super PACs are spending their cash to influence the presidential race. — Al Shaw & Kim Barker”

There have actually been three rulings, two by federal courts and one by the Supreme Court:

  • September 2009: EMILY’s List v. Federal Election Commission which struck down FEC regulations and allowed EMILY’s list (and other groups) to spend money on campaign-related activities backing female Democratic candidates.
  • January 2010:  Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in which the Court said corporations, unions could pend unlimited monies to support or criticize specific candidates, essentially equating money as speech.
  • March 2010: v. Federal Election Commission.  The appeals court in this decision drew upon the Citizens United ruling to  make it possible for SuperPACS to “independently” collect and spend unlimited amounts of monies to support or criticize candidates.

Please take the time to look at the obscene amounts of money being donated by single donors in an attempt to buy the candidate of their dreams.  It’s already started in Nevada as Restore Our Future, Inc. and Winning Our Future have begun polluting our air waves with $81,566 worth of propaganda for and against Newt Gingrich.  Seeing how this is progressing throughout the Republican primary process …. it kinda makes you think of turning the main stream media off this fall, dusting off and watching/re-watching some of your favorite selections in your video collection, or better yet, reading a book or two or three.

I’ve included a link in the right hand side panel in the “info & reference” section to make it easy for you to reference contributions and spending as this campaign season progresses.