Factoids for July 4 Parade Participants

On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions.        –MovetoAmend.org

How Citizens United Has Changed Politics in 5 Years

US News, January 2015

Five years ago Wednesday, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that dramatically reshaped the business of politics in the U.S.

In its Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, the court opened the campaign spending floodgates. The justices’ ruling said political spending is protected under the First Amendment, meaning corporations and unions could spend unlimited amounts of money on political activities, as long as it was done independently of a party or candidate.

The result has been a deluge of cash poured into so-called super PACs – particularly single-candidate PACs, or political action committees – which are only nominally independent from the candidates they support. What’s more, the legal protections for corporations mean much of this spending, known as “dark money,” never has to be publicly disclosed.

A recent analysis of the 2014 Senate races by the Brennan Center for Justice found outside spending more than doubled since 2010, to $486 million. Outside groups provided 47 percent of total spending – more than the candidates’ 41 percent – in 10 competitive races in last year’s midterms.

“The premise that the Supreme Court was relying on, that these groups would be truly independent of the candidates themselves, is very questionable,” says Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, one of three Democrats on the six-member Federal Election Commission.

Why would corporations want to influence elections? The answer is simple. It pays.

In a January 2011 article in the Journal of Management, University of Tennessee Business Professor Russell Crook found that corporate political activity has a significantly positive effect on company performance measured using return on investment, return on assets and government-derived revenues.

In their study, Professor Crook and his colleagues reanalyzed the results of dozens of studies of corporate political activity. Not surprisingly, they found that companies that are highly regulated and/or do business with the government spend the most on corporate political activity.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/7280:corporate-campaign-spending-they-get-what-they-pay-for

Opinion polls

An ABC–Washington Post poll conducted February 4–8, 2010, showed that 80% of those surveyed opposed (and 65% strongly opposed) the Citizens United ruling, which the poll described as saying “corporations and unions can spend as much money as they want to help political candidates win elections”. Additionally, 72% supported “an effort by Congress to reinstate limits on corporate and union spending on election campaigns”. The poll showed large majority support from Democrats, Republicans and independents

Jeb Bush: Overturn Citizens United

February, 16, 2016– Nashua, N.H.

Speaking at a country club in New Hampshire on Monday, Jeb Bush said he wants the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision to be overturned.

“The ideal thing–situation–would be to overturn the Supreme Court ruling that allows for effectively unregulated money independent and regulated money for the campaign. I would turn that on its head if I could,” Bush said.

Are members of Congress becoming telemarketers?

“ The American public has a low opinion of Congress. Only 14 percent think it’s doing a good job. But Congress has excelled in one way. Raising money. Members of Congress raised more than a billion dollars for their 2014 election. And they never stop.

Nearly every day, they spend hours on the phone asking supporters and even total strangers for campaign donations — hours spent away from the jobs they were elected to do. The pressure on candidates to raise money has ratcheted up since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010. That allowed unlimited spending by corporations, unions and individuals in elections. So our attention was caught by a proposal from a Republican congressman that would stop members of Congress from dialing for dollars. Given what it costs to get elected today, it’s either a courageous act, a campaign ploy or political suicide.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-are-members-of-congress-becoming-telemarketers/

(Members of congress are responsible for raising $18,000 per day, according to Rep. Jolly. (R-FL))

Resources:

MovetoAmend.org  This national organization has been at the forefront of advocating for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling and other similar laws.

Endcitizensunited.info  This site belongs to the Citizens United Interest Group of Evanston

endcitizensunited.org is a scam. Please google it to learn more.

Follow the Money, if you can

“Follow the money” was “Deep Throat’s” advice to Bob Woodward during Watergate. Citizens United, a Supreme Court ruling, grants corporations unlimited influence on the candidate funding process, making the “money” trail impossible to find. Dark pools of money, even foreign countries, will now be able to fund candidates of their choosing. The best interests of the public are not served.

Even if you can rationalize the housing bubble of 2008, when banks were rescued with loans, but homeowners were left to fend for themselves, even if you can rationalize climate change denial, endless military involvement in the middle-East, saturated media concentration, permissive gun laws, lax food regulations, onerous drug re-importation rules, it is impossible to avoid suspicion of unseen forces at work politically, derailing the best interests of the public in favor of perks to the few and moneyed influences.

The credibility of our government is challenged further by this ruling as it distances the concept of government as “by and for the people.” Credibility will continue to erode until people take a stand and push back. The public’s influence can never be underestimated when dealing with government. This is THE BIG ISSUE for our time.

Please join us in our quest to “Overturn Citizens United.” We hope to meet you at Evanston’s Fourth of July parade.

Chuck

Hello Evanston!

Welcome to our website.

We are a group of ordinary citizens who stand in support of the public trust and our nation’s democracy in the face of the 2010 Supreme Court decision to give “free speech” to corporations.

The court overturned 100 years of precedent in its Citizens United decision, turning election funding into a big-donor auction, the antithesis of “a government for and by the people.”

Our goal is to inform, invite and organize others to support constitutional change, preventing tampering with this foundation of democracy through judicial activism or legislative chicanery.

This is not a short-term proposition. Change of this magnitude takes time, and we are in it for the long haul. We are heartened by this quote from Margaret Mead:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

We look forward to seeing you at our events.

In the meantime, Bill Moyers has written an inspiring article on the problem, the stakes, and the solution.

Best to you,

Chuck