citizens united

Thanks to Reps. DeFazio and Blumenauer for Sponsoring Constitutional Amendment to Nullify Citizens United and More

July 31, 2015
Contact:  David Delk   503.232.5495

The Oregon Progressive Party commends Oregon U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Peter DeFazio for recently signing on as co-sponsors of the “We the People” proposed U.S. 28th Constitutional Amendment (HJR 48).

Since the January 2010 U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision much interest has been expressed in Congress and by citizens working at the local and state level in amending the Constitution to address the granting to corporations of the right to freely spend corporate funds on elections campaigns.  The Court did so by concluding that corporations have constitutional rights--that they are in effect human beings with constitutional rights.  

Oregon and 15 other states have now called for a constitutional amendment to at least overturn Citizens United.  The “We the People” proposed amendment would go further by amending the U.S. Constitution to say that corporations are not people and money is not speech. Such an amendment would overturn court decisions going back to Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad (1886), which gave 14th Amendment human rights to corporations, and would include more recent decisions like Buckley v Valeo, First National Bank of Boston v Bellotti, and others.

OPP calls for 28th Constitutional Amendment: Corporations are not people and money is not speech

The Oregon Progressive Party calls for a U.S. constitutional amendment which declares in clear and unequivocal language that:
Corporations Are Not People and 
Money is not Speech
American history is a long battle between democracy (We the People) and elitist power of corporations and the wealthy.  The balance has been tilted in favor of the wealthy 1% and the national/multinational corporations by various U.S. Supreme Court cases.  In a series of decisions beginning with the 1886 Santa Clara County v Southern Pacific Railroad, our rights as enumerated in the Bill of Rights have been declared by the courts to belong to corporations, the artificial creations of the states. These decisions have given corporations constitutional rights

The Udall Resolution to Amend U.S. Constitution is Inadequate

On September 11, the U.S. Senate voted 54-42 to break the filibuster on the resolution to send to the States a proposed constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.  The Democrats all voted to break the filibuster but did not invoke the "nuclear option" that would allow that 54-42 vote to prevail.  Instead, the Democrats allowed the Republicans to "win" with only 42 votes, thereby blocking a vote on the resolution itself.  Thanks, Democrats.  Of course, since such a resolution requires 2/3 affirmative votes in both houses of Congress, it would not be adopted by the current Congress.

The piece below shows that the resolution left much to be desired, anyway.

-- Dan Meek

As the US Senate moves to vote on the Udall proposed constitutional amendment to address the effects of the US Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, let's be clear.

by David Delk

We need a single constitutional amendment that says:
*Corporations are not people and do not have constitutional rights, and
money is not speech, it is property and shall be subject to regulation at all levels of government.
From the sounds of the letters received as well as the emails, our democracy can only be saved from the plutocrats and corporatists if we sign the petitions and contribute some money to endorse passage of Senate Joint Resolution 19, the so-called Udall amendment. According to the letter dated August 13, 2014, from Public Citizen, “Senators Cantwell and McCaskill just announced that they will vote for our constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, McCutcheon and all the other disastrous Supreme Court decisions that are handing effective control of our democracy over to giant corporations and a tiny cabal of super-wealthy individuals.”
We agree with Public Citizen that this is a crucial time for our democracy and that urgent action is required. But is Senator Tom Udall's (D-NM) Amendment (SRJ19) the right amendment? Will it do what it is hyped to do?
Oregon Progressive Party says “Get some teeth in that”
We need a proposed constitutional amendment with some teeth, something that will really do what Public Citizen suggests the Udall Amendment will do, but actually would not.


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has for decades opposed limits on political campaign contributions and expenditures.  ACLU even filed an amicus brief on the side of the corporations in Citizens United, arguing that corporations have the rights of humans and the right to make unlimited expenditures in political campaigns.

If that was not bad enough, now ACLU opposes disclosure of the sources of those independent expenditures.  ACLU sent a letter to Congress on July 16, 2012, opposing the DISCLOSE Act.  The letter stated:

Although the ACLU supports measures to guarantee the independence of groups making independent expenditures, we are concerned that heavy-handed regulation will violate the anonymous speech rights of individuals and groups that associate with these independent expenditure groups, subjecting them to harassment and potentially discouraging valuable participation in the political process.

Who knew that the real problem is that those poor multi-billion dollar corporations could be subjected to harrassment, if they have to reveal that they are funding political campaigns.

ACLU not only urged Senators to oppose the DISCLOSE Act but urged them to allow the filibuster against it to succeed by voting "no" to cutting off debate ("cloture").

We urge you to oppose S. 3369, the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (“DISCLOSE”) Act, and to vote “no” on cloture if the bill is presented for consideration on Monday.    

Thus, argues ACLU, it is so important that political spending remain secret that a minority of the members of the Senate should thwart the will of the majority by using the anti-democratic tactic of filibuster--a filibuster for the sacred right of corporations to do unlimited, secret spending in political campaigns.

Thanks, ACLU, for again siding with the corporations and making clear your view that corporate rights are more important than democracy.

Poll Shows Citizens United and SuperPACs Undermine Democracy

The Brennan Center has issues a report, Americans’ Attitudes about the Influence of Super PAC Spending on Government and the Implications for our Democracy.

Download the Summary [pdf]

Download the Appendix [pdf]

It shows that the spending of Super PACs in this year’s election cycle has given rise to a large, bipartisan consensus that such outsized spending is dangerous for our democracy. Historical polling has repeatedly shown that Americans believe elected officials favor the interests of large contributors to their own campaign war-chests.  This new poll reveals for the first time that Americans have similar fears of elected officials favoring big donors to nominally independent Super PACs — and also that many are less likely to vote because of Super PAC spending.  

The poll reveals that nearly 70 percent of Americans believe Super PAC spending will lead to corruption and that three in four Americans believe limiting how much corporations, unions, and individuals can donate to Super PACs would curb corruption.  Of those who expressed an opinion, more than 80 percent believe that, compared with past elections, the money being spent by political groups this year is more likely to lead to corruption.  And, most alarmingly, the poll revealed that concerns about the influence Super PACs have over elected officials undermine Americans’ faith in democracy:  one in four respondents — and even larger numbers of low-income people, African Americans, and Latinos — reported that they are less likely to vote because big donors to Super PACs have so much more sway than average Americans.

Shame on Oregon for not Joining Amicus Brief to uphold Montana Law against Citizens United

AP reports: "The states who filed the brief in support of Montana are New York, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and the District of Columbia." Not Oregon. Shame on Oregon.

See this ThinkProgress Article.

New York Times Publishes Letter from OPP Co-Founder

As published in the New York Times on Novbember 28, 2011:

Lawrence Lessig suggests a $50 federal income tax credit for political campaign contributions. Oregon has had a similar $50 state income tax credit for decades ($100 on a joint return). It has worked well, with about 100,000 Oregon tax returns claiming about $8 million in tax credits annually. So the big-money-addicted Oregon legislators have repealed it, effective at the end of 2013, so they can focus on their main sources of financing — huge contributions from corporations, unions and wealthy individuals.

Portland, Ore.
Nov. 17, 2011

The writer is chief attorney for Fair Elections Oregon, the group that promulgated an Oregon statewide campaign finance reform law in 2006.

Dan Meek Addresses Filibuster Reform on "Populist Dialogs"

This is Part 2 of a 2-part interview. Part 1 is below.

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