Watergate Crimes Would Be Legal Under Citizens United

The money poured into Richard M. Nixon’s reelection campaign from all corners: Six-figure checks flown by corporate jet from Texas; bundles of payments handed over at an Illinois game preserve; a battered brown attaché case stuffed with $200,000 in cash from a New Jersey investor hoping to fend off a fraud investigation.

During four pivotal weeks in spring 1972, the president brought in as much as $20 million — about $110 million in today’s dollars — much of it in the form of illegal corporate donations and all of it raised to avoid disclosure rules that went into effect that April. […]

The political world has, in many respects, come full circle since a botched burglary funded by illicit campaign cash brought down an administration. The excesses of the Nixon era ushered in a series of wide-ranging restrictions on the use of money in campaigns, including limits on individual campaign contributions that remain in force today.

But the intervening decades have also brought changes that have undercut many of the political financing rules put in place in response to the Watergate scandal, including a Supreme Court case that freed corporations and unions to spend unlimited money on elections and a public-financing regime that has collapsed into irrelevance.

read more at Washington Post

Citizens United Undermines Our Elections and the Supreme Court

As we draw closer to the November election, it becomes clearer that this year’s contest, thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, will be financially dominated by big money, including, whether directly or indirectly, big money from the treasuries of corporations of all kinds.

Without a significant change in how our campaign finance system regulates the influence of corporations, the American election process, and even the Supreme Court itself, face a more durable, long-term crisis of legitimacy.

Russ Feingold

More than a Bit of an Oligarchy

20120620-063022.jpg

In principle, every American citizen has an equal say in our political process. In practice, of course, some of us are more equal than others.

Billionaires can field armies of lobbyists; they can finance think tanks that put the desired spin on policy issues; they can funnel cash to politicians with sympathetic views (as the Koch brothers did in the case of Mr. Walker).

On paper, we’re a one-person-one-vote nation.

In reality, we’re more than a bit of an oligarchy,

in which a handful of wealthy people dominate.

-Economist P. Krugman, Feb. 2011

Putting Citizens United on the Ballot in Needham

We’ve passed a resolution at Needham Town Meeting. Let’s now let the people vote. Citizens are organizing to collect enough signatures in Needham to put the question on the November ballot.

Because of the technicalities of ballot petitions, and because of Needham’s split senatorial district, we need to get:

  • 200 Needham signatures from residents in Precincts D, E, F, G, H
  • 1200 total signatures from Needham Precincts A, B, C, I, J, combined with other towns from the Norfolk, Bristol, Middlesex Senatorial district (volunteers from the other towns are simultaneously collecting signatures, too)

All this needs to be done by the end of June.

Can you help collect signatures in your neighborhood?

Can you help collect signatures out in the community? (At the farmer’s market? At baseball practice? At the PTA meeting?)

Please contact: wethepeopleneedham@gmail.com

And if you see someone out there collecting signatures–take a minute and stop and sign your name for democracy!

(For more information on the larger initiative, read here)

Local Activists In ‘Resolutions Week’

Citizens United Targeted By Local Activists In ‘Resolutions Week’ Push

Across the country citizens are working this week to mobilize local communities in support of a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and kick money out of politics.

Hey Needham — you were on the vanguard of this. Read more here.

Stacie Shapiro: Thank You!

Letter to Needham Times:
Thanks to all who supported the effort to pass a resolution at Town Meeting, putting Needham on record in opposition to the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” ruling.
This ruling, narrowly decided by a 5-4 vote, gives Corporations “Free Speech” protections under the first amendment, and thus allows corporations to engage in political expenditures in a way that was previously not permitted.
People from all political affiliations and economic standings have strongly criticized this decision, acknowledging the potential for corporate dollars to overwhelm and distort the electoral process.
 Concerns about this decision inspired a group of Needham residents to join a growing movement across the country of people seeking a Constitutional Amendment to rectify the problems associated with the Supreme Court ruling. Continue reading

Free speech drowns in a sea of money

EDITORIAL FROM SOUTHCOST TODAY

One town at a time, citizens are uniting against Citizens United.

Voters at Westport’s annual Town Meeting earlier this month passed Article 49 (see below), authorizing the town to petition Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution to affirm that the rights “protected by this Constitution to be the rights of natural persons.”

In other words, the Supreme Court decision of 2010 on Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission striking down part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act — and affirming that corporations and unions are people — would be unconstitutional.

The central issue for both the reform act and Citizens United is political speech and how it’s financed and disseminated.

Continue reading

Jeff Clements: We the People v. Citizens United

Citizens United is catastrophic in itself but the problem runs deeper.

Citizens United is the most extreme extension of a concerted, well-funded campaign for “corporate rights” that has been building for decades.

With increasing aggressiveness, corporations have persuaded activist courts to rewrite the First Amendment to include “corporate speech,” not just human speech. Corporations now use this twisted theory to demolish public laws that stand in the path of corporate profit.

–Jeff Clements Continue reading