The Democracy Amendment: Question on November 6 Ballot

Needham is one of a select number of communities voting on the “Democracy Amendment” on November 6. This non-binding question is an opportunity for the community at large to weigh in on the question of corrupting power of unregulated corporate money in politics.  The question reads:

Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of a resolution calling upon Congress to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution affirming that

(1)corporations are not entitled to the constitutional rights of human beings, and

(2) both Congress and the States may place limits on political contributions and political spending?

Vote YES on the Democracy Amendment on November 6!

We need your help getting the word out to Needham voters. Tell your friends and neighbors about it, help them get informed on the issues at the heart of this question. We have lots of resources on this site, pulled together in preparation for our Town Meeting Resolution.

If you have questions or can help out, please email wethepeopleneedham@gmail.com

For comprehensive information on the Democracy Amendment, and excellent background resources on Citizens United and money in politics, visit/bookmark this very useful site: http://democracyamendmentmass.org/

Advertisements

Karl Rove’s Super Secret SuperPAC Meeting… infiltrated

From Businessweek:

On the final morning of the Republican National Convention, Karl Rove took the stage at the Tampa Club to provide an exclusive breakfast briefing to about 70 of the Republican Party’s highest-earning and most powerful donors. During the more than hour-long session, Rove explained to an audience dotted with hedge fund billionaires and investors—including John Paulson and Wilbur Ross—how his super PAC, American Crossroads, will persuade undecided voters in crucial swing states to vote against Barack Obama. He also detailed plans for Senate and House races, and joked, “We should sink Todd Akin. If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”

Then Rove pleaded with his audience for more money—much more.

This rare look at the mechanics of super-PAC fundraising and electoral strategy was likely not intended for reporters. I was invited as the guest of a financier who is a significant Republican donor. The financier knew that I was a journalist. At no point was I presented with, nor did I agree to, restrictions regarding the information I heard. Upon my arrival at the breakfast, I was not asked if I was a journalist. I gave my name, identified the person who had invited me, was handed a wristband, and ushered into the dining room. American Crossroads disputes this version of events, but a spokesman did not immediately return calls to elaborate.
–Read More at Businessweek

image from businessweek

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

Killing McCain-Feingold for Good

from mother jones — At this time during the last presidential campaign, the Republican Party’s campaign finance law opponents were in something of a pickle. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was their nominee; the tough law banning so-called soft money bore his name; and so, during the 2008 election, the GOP platform couldn’t take a rhetorical buzzsaw to the laws curbing the flow of campaign cash into elections.

There’s no such problem for Republicans at the 2012 GOP convention. James Bopp, Jr., an influential lawyer who’s made a career out of demolishing campaign finance laws, said in a recent interview with the Indianapolis Star that the GOP’s 2012 platform will call for gutting what’s left of the McCain-Feingold law—namely, the ban on unlimited, unregulated, soft money given to political parties.

The platform, Bopp suggests, will read like a wish list for haters of campaign finance restriction:

Four years ago, he watched with distaste as his party nominated Sen. John McCain as its presidential nominee. With McCain leading the ticket, Bopp said, “we couldn’t write in (the platform) that we opposed McCain-Feingold. And we sure as hell couldn’t endorse it, so we didn’t say anything about campaign finance.”

This time, he said, the platform calls for the repeal of the last vestiges of the McCain-Feingold law and opposes passage of the so-called “Disclose Act” in Congress. It would require advocacy groups making more than $10,000 in campaign-related expenditures to disclose contributors who had donated more than $10,000.

GOP Platform Calls for Nuking What’s Left of McCain-Feingold Law | Mother Jones (Aug 28, 2012) – http://bit.ly/Ppz45v

Full Disclosure: A Bipartisan Idea

When Republicans were attacking limits on soft-money political donations that finally passed Congress in 2002, they insisted that there was no reason to restrict how much individuals or corporations could give. Only one thing was necessary: full disclosure.

Let the public know who was giving all that cash and who was getting it, and the corrupting influence would be washed away. A decade ago, there was overwhelming bipartisan support for full disclosure of campaign donations.

Editorial: Big-money campaign donations should not be kept secret | http://www.palmbeachpost.comhttp://goo.gl/BL1V4

Massachusetts Legislatures Votes to Call for Amendment

Breaking news!

Massachusetts State Legislature Calls on Congress to Enact Constitutional Amendment Reversing Citizens United Decision

Massachusetts joins Rhode Island, Vermont, California, Maryland, New Mexico and Hawaii in calling for an amendment to restore democracy.

The Citizens United decision is a tremendous threat to our democracy.

The very integrity of our political system is at stake.

I am proud of the House for passing this resolution yesterday and, along with the Senate, sending a strong message that our democracy isn’t for sale.

–Rep. Cory Atkins

Continue reading

Most oppose unlimited corporate campaign spending

Most Americans know they have a constitutional right to freedom of speech, and for a clear majority, that does not translate into allowing unlimited spending by corporations or labor unions on political campaigns, according to a new survey.

Americans oppose unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions by a 2-to-1 margin

according to poll results released Tuesday by the Freedom Forum’s First Amendment Center.

The poll found 63 percent believe corporations or unions should not be able to spend as much as they want supporting political candidates

Most oppose unlimited corporate campaign spending – Boston.com/AP