Montana Citizens Opposing Political Corruption
From Corporate Contributions
The Citizens United vs. FEC ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court has brought a flood of shadowy, corporate money into the 2012 campaign. Can our democracy withstand the change? We have a system where one person, one vote is the law of the land; but now, we are asked to adopt the idea that money equals speech, especially corporate money.
There are many ideas about how to amend the constitution to guide the U.S. Supreme Court in making rulings acceptable to the people of this country. Ideas to start the amendment process are coming from several places:
Public Citizen's Democracy expects elected officials to call for constitutional reform that makes clear that democracy is for people, not for corporations.
Common Cause proposes a ballot issue to instruct the Congressional Delegation to use all means possible to pass a constitutional amendment to reinstate bans on corporate campaign spending.
Move To Amend is collecting signatures to petition Congress. They believe human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions. http://movetoamend.org/
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced a constitutional amendment that completely bars interest groups from influencing elections by providing public campaign funds and prohibiting expenditures from any other source. Other Representatives such as John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Ted Deutch (D-FL) introduced amendments with more direct ways to attack the issue.
SENATE: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced one of the House
amendments into the Senate. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Michael Bennet
(D-CO) introduced a constitutional amendment that gives Congress
and the states the authority to regulate campaign finance.
S. J. RES. 35 Max Baucus and John Tester
Congress shall have the power to regulate the contribution of funds by corporations and labor organizations to a candidate for Federal office, and the power to regulate the expenditure of funds in support of, or opposition to, such candidates. A State shall have similar powers for state offices.
Local governments are leading the way in petitioning Congress to adopt an amendment and send it to the States for ratification. David Cobb of "Move To Amend" is tracking 225 resolutions and ordinances against corporate personhood that have been passed—and another 70 now in progress—by cities, counties, and legislatures across the country.
City councils in Missoula, MT; Boulder, CO; South Miami, FL, Los Angeles, CA; and New York City, NY passed corporate personhood resolutions in a backlash against the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Citizens United vs. FEC.
Five states (California, Idaho, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Washington) have introduced and considered a resolution but they look to Congress to agree on the wording that would overturn the Supreme Court's decision. Pennsylvania and Rhode Island are considering a call for a Constitutional Convention. Kentucky introduced a resolution stating disagreement with the Citizens United ruling. New Mexico and South Dakota considered but turned down similar resolutions.
Montana introduced such a resolution in the 2011 Legislature as House Joint
Resolution NO. 10
introduced by E. Hill
A JOINT RESOLUTION TO ABOLISH CORPORATE PERSONHOOD
WHEREAS, government of, by, and for the people has long been a
cherished American value, and We the People's fundamental and
inalienable right to self-govern and thereby secure rights to life,
liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness is guaranteed in the
U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence; and
WHEREAS, free and fair elections are essential to democracy and effective self-governance; and
WHEREAS, persons are rightfully recognized as human beings whose essential needs include clean air, clean water, and safe and secure food; and
WHEREAS, corporations are entirely human-made legal fictions created by express permission of We the People and our government; and
WHEREAS, corporations can exist in perpetuity, can exist simultaneously in many nations at once, need only profit for survival, and exist solely through the legal charter imposed by the government of We the People; and
WHEREAS, in addition to these advantages, the great wealth of large corporations allows them to wield coercive force of law to overpower human beings and communities, thus denying We the People's exercise of our constitutional rights; and
WHEREAS, corporations are not mentioned in the Constitution. The People have never granted constitutional rights to corporations, nor have We decreed that corporations have authority that exceeds the authority of We the People of the United States; and
WHEREAS, interpretation of the U.S. Constitution by unelected Supreme Court justices to include corporations in the term "persons" has long denied We the People's exercise of self-governance by endowing corporations with constitutional protections intended for We the People; and
WHEREAS, the illegitimate judicial bestowal of civil and political rights upon corporations usurps basic human and constitutional rights guaranteed to human persons and also empowers corporations to sue municipal and state governments for adopting laws that violate "corporate rights" even when those laws serve to protect and defend the rights of human persons and communities; and
WHEREAS, corporations are not and have never been human beings and therefore are rightfully subservient to human beings and governments as our legal creations; and
WHEREAS, large corporations' profits and survival are often in direct conflict with the essential needs and rights of human beings; and
WHEREAS, large corporations have used their so-called rights to overturn democratically enacted laws passed at municipal, state, and federal levels aimed at curbing corporate abuse, thus rendering local governments ineffective in protecting their citizens against corporate harms to the environment, to health, to workers, to independent business, and to local and regional economies; and
WHEREAS, the recent Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision rolls back the legal limits on corporate spending in the electoral process and creates an unequal playing field by allowing unlimited corporate spending to influence elections, candidate selection, and policy decisions and to sway votes; and
WHEREAS, the Citizens United decision forces elected officials to divert their attention from the People's business, or even vote against the interest of their human constituents, in order to ensure competitive campaign funds for their own re-election; and
WHEREAS, large corporations own most of America's mass media and use that media as a megaphone to express loudly their political agenda and to convince Americans that their primary role is that of consumers, rather than sovereign citizens with rights and responsibilities within our democracy, and this forces citizens to toil to discern the truth behind headlines and election campaigning; and
WHEREAS, Montana's unique history with the Copper Kings during the late 19th and early 20th centuries demonstrates the control corporations can exert over state politics if allowed to spend freely to influence elections; and
WHEREAS, Montana's experience illustrates the need to allow states to regulate or prohibit direct corporate expenditures when corporations seek to influence state elections; and
WHEREAS, tens of thousands of people and municipalities across the nation are joining with the Campaign to Legalize Democracy in the United States to call for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to abolish corporate personhood.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED:
That we urge the United States Congress to join the tens of thousands of citizens, local governments, and grassroots organizations across the county to call for an amendment to the United States Constitution to abolish corporate personhood and return our democracy, our elections, and our communities to America's human persons and to thus reclaim our sovereign right to self-governance.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the State of Montana calls upon other communities and jurisdictions to join with us in this action by passing similar resolutions.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the State of Montana supports education to increase public awareness of the threats to our democracy posed by corporate personhood and encourages lively discussion to build understanding and consensus to take appropriate community and municipal actions to democratically respond to these threats.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Secretary of State send a copy of this resolution to the Secretary of State in each of the other states, to each member of the Montana Congressional Delegation, and to each member of Congress.
"It's one thing to tackle the Anaconda but quite another to
face down the United States Supreme Court."
Carole Mackin, 01/01/2012
Article V of the Constitution spells out the processes by
which amendments can be proposed and ratified.
By Robert Longley
US Government Info Guide
To Propose Amendments
In the U.S. Congress, both the House of Representatives and the Senate approve by a two-thirds supermajority vote, a joint resolution amending the Constitution. Amendments so approved do not require the signature of the President of the United States and are sent directly to the states for ratification.
Two-thirds of the state legislatures ask Congress to call a national convention to propose amendments. (This method has never been used.)
To Ratify Amendments
Three-fourths of the state legislatures must approve it, or ratifying conventions in three-fourths of the states may approve it. This method has been used only once -- to ratify the 21st Amendment -- repealing Prohibition.
The Supreme Court has stated that ratification must be within "some reasonable time after the proposal." Beginning with the 18th amendment, it has been customary for Congress to set a definite period for ratification. In the case of the 18th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd amendments, the period set was 7 years, but there has been no determination as to just how long a "reasonable time" might extend.
Of the thousands of proposals that have been made to amend the
Constitution, only 33 obtained the necessary two-thirds vote in
Congress. Of those 33, only 27 amendments (including the Bill of
Rights) have been ratified.