Lorraine Reich: Overturning Citizens United
Jan. 21 marked the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision, which unleashed the deluge of money in politics we see today.
With millions upon millions of dollars being spent by big campaigns, ordinary citizens believe this to be a tremendous waste of money, especially when so many Americans need jobs, housing, health care, clean water and the planet needs to transition to renewable energy, now. Don’t you think it’s time for a change?
Over three years ago, Californians resoundingly passed Proposition 59 which directed our representatives in Washington to support an amendment to the Constitution reversing Citizens United and to abolish Constitutional rights for corporations. We made it clear that spending money in political campaigns is not a form of protected speech under the First Amendment and that political spending for federal candidates must be transparent and regulated, as it is in our California elections.
One of a score of national campaigns to reverse Citizens United is the “We the People” movement found at MoveToAmend.org. Our We the People amendment has been introduced in Congress every year for the past several years, and was last designated as HJR 48 with over 63 co-sponsors in the House. It has yet to be introduced into the Senate but with the hard work of the movement there are now a small number of senators willing to sign on to the bill in the Senate. A constitutional amendment will require two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate and then it goes to the states for ratification.
Our Nevada County Move to Amend Affiliate has been hard at work and has collected hundreds of signatures on the MoveToAmend petition, which now boasts nearly half a million nationwide supporters. Last year we collected 125 signed cards directing Kamala Harris to introduce the We the People Amendment in the Senate. On Tuesday, Jan. 21, on the anniversary of the Citizens United decision, five members of Nevada County Move to Amend Affiliate personally delivered these cards to Kamala Harris in Sacramento with the clear message that “Money is not Free Speech.”
Our message is clear, Californians want clean campaigns nationwide with regulation and transparency.
This may have an effect, but the rest of us can make an even greater effect. If hundreds, thousands, even millions of Californians swamp Kamala Harris’ office with postcards and phone calls insisting that she listen to the voices of her constituents, she may finally realize that the best way to lead is to follow the will of the people.
On the local level, as candidate for Nevada City Council, I have discovered that Nevada City’s Municipal Code defines corporations as “persons” and it will be one of my goals if elected to remove this designation. The public must understand, it is not that I or Move to Amend are anti-corporations, we are wholly in favor of the privilege of corporations to do business, and we encourage it. However, in a dispute between a corporation’s interests against those of the People of Nevada City, for new legislation for example, corporations must not have the same standing as natural persons.
Senator Harris may be contacted in Washington D.C. at 202-224-3553, or at her Sacramento office at 916-448–2787. Cards or letters may also be mailed to Kamala Harris, 501 I Street, Suite 7-800 Sacramento, CA 95814.
Tell her you want her to cosponsor Sen. Ed Markey’s bill for a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United.
Lorraine Reich is a candidate for Nevada City’s city council.
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