Obama calls for Constitutional Amendment

Obama in online chat says that mobilizing for a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United is a good idea. Even if an Amendment fails, he notes, the process of individuals organizing around the problem of money will help shine a light on the massive problem, which could force lawmakers to take the legislative action they so far have not.

We think President Obama must have been watching the Needham Channel replays of Needham Town Meeting!:

Question: What are you going to do to end the corrupting influence of money in politics during your second term?

Answer: Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs; they fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.

We need to start with passing the Disclose Act that is already written and been sponsored in Congress – to at least force disclosure of who is giving to who.

We should also pass legislation prohibiting the bundling of campaign contributions from lobbyists.

Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it).

Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.

Obama Calls For Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Citizens United In Online Chat | Alternet – http://bit.ly/NZqnTH

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Barry Goldwater (R-AZ)

Many people look on successful candidates as being bought and paid for by whomever gave the most money.

To make representative government work the way the framers designed it, elected officials must owe their allegiance to the people,

not to the wealth of groups who speak only for selfish fringes of the whole community.

–1985

The public does not have any doubt about the power of money.

Every poll taken shows that the vast majority of Americans believe campaign spending is a very serious problem and that those who contribute large sums of money have too much influence over the government.

Our nation is facing a crisis of liberty if we do not control campaign expenditures.

We must prove that elective office is not for sale.

We must convince the public that elected officials are what James Madison intended us to be, agents of the sovereign people, not the hired hands of rich givers.

–1983

from 

A Conservative Voice for Reform from Battles Past

Needham’s U.S. Congressman Stephen Lynch (MA-09)

I support a Constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision.

Corporations are state-created entities that are immortal —
they live forever

—granting them rights due to citizens greatly diminishes the rights of ordinary citizens [flesh and blood persons].

It was wrong-headed. I think it was probably

the worst decision  of the Supreme Court in my lifetime.”

–U.S. Congressman Stephen Lynch (Oct. 24, 2011, at Needham Public Library)

(Congressman Lynch is Needham’s Representative in US House of Representatives)

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires.

Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their “personhood” often serves as a useful legal fiction.

But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.

— Supreme Court Justice  John Paul Stevens

from his dissenting opinion in ‘Citizens United’ vs. FEC, 2010

US Senator John McCain (AZ, Republican)

Republican US Sen. John McCain“What the Supreme Court did [in the Citizens United vs. FEC decision] is a

combination of arrogance, naivete and stupidity

the likes of which I have never seen… I promise you,

there will be huge scandals

because there’s too much money washing around,

too much of it we don’t know who’s behind it and

too much corruption associated with that kind of money.

There will be major scandals.”

—John McCain, qtd. by Reuters