Electoral Reform Must Also Include Amending or Repealing Citizens United

As is the case with with many people across the nation, we here at Focus on Democracy feel that the main problems facing our country, whether they are related to the economy, the environment, social injustice, civic engagement or the challenges posed by militarism, corporate fundamentalism and consumerism, need to be met first with a large dose of electoral reform before any sort of positive transformation can truly begin to take place. Until Americans of all stripes can cast verifiably counted votes to determine our elected leaders, and can ensure that our elected officials are carrying out the will of the greater electorate instead of the corporatists’ and special interest groups’ agenda, there can be no pretense that we are a representative democracy or even that we are moving in the right direction.

Paramount to both a revitalized democracy and a thoroughly reformed electoral system is the movement afoot to combat the damage being done by the disastrous Citizens United ruling. Out of the various groups which have sought to galvanize support for overturning, repealing or modifying the 2010 decision, the Move to Amend organization claims the distinction of being one of the few organizations that both wishes to undercut the faulty (but culturally accepted) logic used in the Supreme Court’s decision, and who also have an amendment which continues to garner widespread support from the general public and the legislators who would be needed to further our best interests.

With some encouraging results from March 2017 discussed below, here are some salient excerpts from their January 31st newsletter:

The Move to Amend coalition makes a point of differentiating themselves from the other proposals that have come forward in response to Citizens United. “The Citizens United decision is not the cause, it is a symptom of the systemic problem of the Courts extending constitutional rights under the 1st, 4th, 5th, 14th Amendments to corporations,” stated Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Move to Amend National Director. “Americans have voted for an amendment to outlaw corporate personhood over 300 times, in liberal and conservative communities alike. The message is clear: we must stop giving away our Constitutional rights to corporations and we must remove big money and special interests from the legal and political process entirely.”

and…

It’s time to establish once and for all that corporations are not people, money is not free speech, and our elections and public policy-making process are not for sale to the highest corporate bidders,” said lead sponsor Rep. Rick Nolan (Minnesota) in announcing the amendment. “It’s time to take the molding and shaping of public policy out of corporate boardrooms, away from corporate lobbyists, and give it back to the American people. We must divert Congress’s focus away from the corporate interests of millionaires and billionaires and return it back to creating good-paying jobs and rebuilding our middle class.”

Move to Amend’s March 28, 2017 newsletter announced another gain in the total numbers of Congress critters who have publicly aligned with the Move to Amend legislative language:

Move to Amend’s 2017 co-sponsorship goal is now within reach!

“In the last week, Reps. Tim Walz (MN) and Ron Kind (WI) became first time co-sponsors of the We the People Amendment (HJR 48), bringing the total number of co-sponsors up to 33. With five co-sponsors now pending, and dozens more pledged to co-sponsor our bill, it appears we will hit our 2017 strategic goal of 35 co-sponsors in the House very soon.”

If you live in Minnesota or Wisconsin, try to make it a point to reach out and thank representatives Walz and Kind for publicly commiting their support for the We the People amendment (HJR 48).