Tag Archives: Citizens United

ACTION ALERT: Show Up Friday 13th and Tell Legislators “Pass the Resolution!”

ACTION ALERT:

A hearing at the will be happening on Friday, February 13, in Room 210 at the LOB (Legislative Office Building – behind the State House).

Show up and support HCR-2, [House Concurrent Resolution 2] the move to get Citizen’s United overturned.  You can sign up to testify as to why you think, as a citizen, this resolution and considering an amendment is important.  You also can stand by and stare down a politician.  Your presence speaks volumes!

Also: A constitutional amendment is the ONLY way to overturn the Citizen’s United decision!

HCR-2  asks the New Hampshire state legislature to bring forth a resolution to Congress to have convention as explained in Article V of the US Constitution to consider adopting an amendment differentiates personhood from corporate existence. Article V in the constitution reads as follows:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

Therefore, the move is on to get New Hampshire on the list of states to comprise the two-thirds necessary for a convention.  The convention would convene for no other purpose than to consider the adopting of an amendment to clarify that corporations cannot claim “personhood”.

The body of HCR-2 reads as follows:

ANALYSIS

This bill applies to Congress for a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the purpose of proposing amendments to the United States Constitution in order to address concerns raised by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), and related cases.

15-0135

05/09

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Fifteen

A RESOLUTION applying to Congress to hold a convention for amendments.

Whereas, the government of the United States is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people; and

Whereas, George Washington, the first President of the United States, stated in his 1796 farewell address that, “The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government”; and

Whereas, it was the stated intention of the framers of the Constitution of the United States of America that the Congress of the United States of America should be “dependent on the people alone.” (James Madison, Federalist 52); and

Whereas, the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people,” which has consistently been interpreted to allow the several states to establish their own laws governing the financing of elections; and

Whereas, the United States Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), removed restrictions on amounts of independent political spending and established a de-facto imposition on the several states denying them the ability to establish their own laws governing the financing of elections; and

Whereas, the current state of federal elections has become such that tremendous power is given to monied legal entities, which have supplanted the will of the people by undermining our ability to choose our political leadership, write our own laws, and determine the fate of our state; and

Whereas, natural persons are endowed with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, while incorporated legal entities exist only under the revocable authority established by the people through Congress and the several state legislatures; and

Whereas, the Congress of the United States has thus far failed to address the multitude of problems created by the United States Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010); and

Whereas, it is in the self-interest of the Congress of the United States not to address the issues raised by the ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010); and

Whereas, Article V of the United States Constitution requires the United States Congress to call a convention for proposing amendments upon application of two-thirds of the legislatures of the several states for the purpose of proposing amendments to the United States Constitution; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:

That the legislature of the state of New Hampshire hereby applies to the United States Congress to hold a convention, as stipulated by Article V of the United States Constitution, for the purpose of proposing amendments to the United States Constitution in order to address concerns raised by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), and related cases, including events occurring long before or afterward or for a substantially similar purpose, and desires that said convention should be so limited, and

That delegates to such a convention from New Hampshire shall propose no amendments which do not have a primary goal of addressing the grievances listed herein, and the delegates to said convention from New Hampshire shall be comprised equally from individuals currently elected to state and local office, or be selected by election in each Congressional district for the purpose of serving as delegates, though all individuals elected or appointed to federal office, now or in the past, be prohibited from serving as delegates to the Convention, and the legislature intends to retain the ability to define the power of its delegates within the limits expressed above; and

That the state of New Hampshire intends that this be a continuing application considered together with applications calling for a convention currently pending in several other states, and all other passed, pending, and future applications, until such time as two-thirds of the several states have applied for a convention and said convention is convened by Congress; and

That the clerk of the New Hampshire house of representatives transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, each member of the New Hampshire congressional delegation, and the presiding officers of each legislative body of each of the several states, requesting the cooperation of the several states in issuing an application compelling Congress to call a convention for proposing amendments pursuant to Article V of the United States Constitution.

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Sponsors of the bill are:

 Moveon.org is also having an online petition drive which they will also present to the state legislators.  Please sign the petition as well as a citizen of New Hampshire who is concerned about how the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision is effecting the political discourse in this country.

Also, for more information on the original Citizen’s United decision and its effects, please refer to the following articles:

Citizens United vs. FEC – Open Secrets.org – a lot of good links and basic information, updated with new analysis on what the decision has done to the political process.

Citizen’s United Supreme Court Decision An excellent detailed analysis of the decision and its meaning and effects from the League of Women Voters of Minnesota with many good links.

Money Unlimited In-depth article in the New Yorker from 2012 on Justice John Robert’s work to get Citizen’s United the victory it sought.

State’s legislatures and local governments that have passed a resolution and sent it to Congress are listed on United for the People,org’s List of Local and State Resolutions

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Why We Need a 28th Amendment

by Sam Sholi

With Congress’ approval rating at a resoundingly low 9% amongst American citizens according to a survey by Public Policy Polling, it can be assumed that the American people have finally become conscious of the fact that the U.S’ political system, or at least those within it, no longer work in their interests.

Now that Congress is less popular than traffic jams, head lice, cockroaches and colonoscopies (according to the same survey), one can’t help but wonder what has driven Congress to appear so incompetent and to be subject to such an intense level of dissatisfaction amongst U.S citizens.

The answer is clear – the major influence of corporations, lobbyists, and wealthy campaign donors has resulted in ensuring that a vast number of American politicians are now nothing more than mouthpieces for the highest earners and biggest businesses in America. This problem is compounded by the U.S Supreme Court decision in the case of Citizens United V Federal Electoral Commission in 2010, where it ruled corporations have the same First Amendment rights as people and therefore can make unlimited campaign contributions during election campaigns.

The Center for Responsive Politics (a nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit research organization dedicated to tracking money in U.S politics and its effect on elections and public policy), cited that statistically, even in the most competitive cycles during congressional elections, on average the candidates who spend the most on their campaigns usually win eight of 10 Senate contests and nine of 10 House races. The evidence conclusively proves that the defining factor in deciding who sits in Congress no longer bears any relation to your ideology, whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, or whether you are a liberal or conservative. It’s all about the money!

desjarnis rep pic

Rep. Desjarlis (R) Tennessee – a product of the system’s flaws

The effect of this has been disastrous. The fact that these politicians are predominantly elected because they can afford to run superior election campaigns means that sometimes American congressmen and senators will be elected despite being simply unfit to do their job. The most notable example of this being how last year Congressman Scott Desjarlais (TN, 4th District) was re-elected – a  Republican who was disgraced during last year’s congressional elections for having multiple mistresses and requesting one of them to have an abortion, despite running his campaign on being a pro-life, pro-family values candidate. Of course, Dejarlais spent more money than his rival for his seat.

The second problem that arises under this current system is the fact that several U.S politicians are no longer acting based on their own instincts, but for their donors. Is it really a coincidence that Gun rights groups have given more than $17 million in individual, PAC and soft money contributions to federal candidates and party committees since 1989, yet we still have failed to see any serious gun-control measures despite public outcry for it after every mass shooting in the last 25 years?

The only way to avoid this problem will be to introduce a 28th Constitutional amendment that not only overrules the decision in Citizens United, but also prevents an elite class of donors being able to exercise their current entitlement to effectively buy the country’s elections through excessively high campaign donations.  In order to achieve this, the amendment must contain a provision to make it illegal for corporations to directly or indirectly give money to any politician, and a provision which places a cap on the amount politicians can raise from any individual.

But if so many congressmen and senators are under the influence of corporate interests and wealthy donors, then why would they accept such an amendment? The answer is that they don’t have to. It is possible to bypass Congress. If two-thirds of the State legislatures (whose members are not as heavily influenced by money) call for a Constitutional Convention then it will become possible to pass the amendment.

civil rights marchers

The 1960’s civil rights movement – proving that unjust establishment practices can be brought to an end if the political will is there.

This presents a real opportunity for America to take back its democracy. But as was the case with the success of the 1960s civil rights movement amongst African-Americans, if this amendment is to be passed then there will need to be a movement with leaders (like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X) that can inspire a mass movement of people to stand up for that change.

But in order for that to happen, America must first undergo a revolution of consciousness and wake up to the fact that a vote at the ballot cannot compensate for the erosion of a democracy.

Sam Sholi is currently studying law in a university in the United States

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