Political Flavors

Letter Writing Sunday #5 Stop Citizens United

Posted in Editorials on January 30th, 2011

A little over a year ago, the United States Supreme Court ruled in what is now known as the Citizens United case.

The Court struck down a provision of the McCain–Feingold Act that prohibited all corporations, both for-profit and not-for-profit, and unions from broadcasting “electioneering communications.” An “electioneering communication” was defined in McCain–Feingold as a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or thirty days of a primary.

In other words, corporations have no limit on the amount of money they may spend on advertisements in political campaign. In addition, they do not have to state their identity in the advertisements, so the public has no way of knowing who is paying for them.

This gives corporations even more power over our government with no recourse for Americans who want to know who is influencing candidates and few options for those who want to make their voice heard.

There are several courses of action being taken to remedy this unjust ruling.

In the United States Congress, the DISCLOSE Act would

Require organizations involved in political campaigning to disclose the identity of the large donors, and to reveal their identities in any political ads they fund. It would also bar foreign corporations, government contractors and TARP recipients from making political expenditures. Notably, the bill would exempt all long-standing, non-profit organizations with more than 500,000 members from having to disclose their donor lists.

This bill passed the House of Representatives in 2010, but failed to pass in the Senate. If it is to become law, it must be reintroduced in the House.

Others have attempted to amend the Constitution. An amendment was introduced to Congress last year, and although none have been introduced to State Legislatures, I hope it is only a matter of time.

This week, I will be writing to my Representative and Senators about the DISCLOSE Act and a Constitutional Amendment, and also to my State Assemblyman and State Senator about the introduction of a Constitutional Amendment. This link provides more information about contacting your State Legislature.

This letter is modified from the one at Motion to Amend.

I am writing to you today because action must be taken to remedy the grave injustice caused by the Supreme Court’s Ruling in the Citizens United Case. I strongly urge you to support a reintroduction and passage of the DISCLOSE Act.

In addition, I would strongly support a Constitutional Amendment that would
* Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
* Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our vote and participation count.
* Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate “preemption” actions by global, national, and state governments.

For my letter to my State Legislature, I will simply remove the sentence about the DISCLOSE Act.

Further Reading.

2 Responses to “Letter Writing Sunday #5 Stop Citizens United”

  1. FrankFrankly Says:

    What are illegitimate preemption actions?

  2. MissCherryPi Says:

    Here’s what Move to Amend has to say about them:

    Increasingly, Congress has legislated, the President mandated, and the Supreme Court adjudicated away the 10th Amendment reservation of power to the states, and by extension, in home rule states, to local governments. Scorning the constitutional guarantee of a federal government of limited and enumerated powers, and belittling state constitutional provisions guaranteeing limited “home rule” authority to municipalities and counties, corporate lobbyists have developed a doctrine of “federal preemption” as a tool for obliterating local and state laws deemed threatening to business corporations.

    For example, Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have repeatedly acted to preempt local telecommunications initiatives. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 severely limited the ability of local governments to regulate local cable markets, and recently introduced legislation would preempt municipal broadband networks. The FCC has issued rulings preempting even minor telecom regulations regarding satellite dish placement.

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