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

A case for principled conservatives to support an amendment

excerpts from “Abolish Corporate Personhood” blog; read the full text here.

There are many reasons why a principled conservative would want to have the Citizens United v FEC Supreme Court decision reversed by abolishing corporate personhood and ending the doctrine that money is a form of speech. Whereas an unprincipled conservative will put the interests of corporations (property) ahead of the interests of citizens no matter what the consequences, a principled conservative would be concerned about the common good of the Republic.

Conservative Reasons to Abolish Corporate Constitutional Rights

The American Revolution was explicitly anti-corporate, and the revolutionaries made sure that corporations were tightly controlled.
The word corporation does not occur in the Constitution. Corporations had to use unelected, unaccountable judges to give them rights.

According to Thomas Jefferson, judges, who grant corporations rights, are “playing God” because he claimed in the Declaration of Independence that men — not property — are “ordained by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.”

Judge-made law is not democratic. We did not elect the Supreme Court justices, but they get to decide who does and does not count in our democratic order. Congress and the People should decide those issues.

This is not about opposing business or capitalism, and we recognize that corporations play an important role in society. Continue reading

POLL: Voters Care About Money in Politics

“Money in politics is not a distraction from the economy, it is the economy.”

New poll, findings as summarized by CampaignMoney.org

  • Money in politics is not a distraction from the economy, it is the economy. For ordinary Americans, this is not an either/or proposition; it is not question of addressing money in politics at the expense of talking about pocketbook problems. Voters believe that Washington is so corrupted by big banks, big donors, and corporate lobbyists that it no longer works for the middle class.
  • Voters feel strongly about reducing the influence of big money in politics and there is broad-based support to alternatives to the current system. Voters are supportive of small-donor matching systems with limited public financing and support common sense restrictions on what corporations and wealthy donors can spend on politics.
  • Voters will strongly support candidates — from both political parties — who seize this issue. Voters do not currently trust either party to tackle money in politics. All voters, and swing voters in particular, strongly support candidates who are willing to take on money in politics as a serious campaign issue. In fact, more than a third of all voters make this a litmus test for their support.

See more here.

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

Bipartisan Consensus: Unlimited $ Leads to Corruption

New Poll: Super PAC Spending Has Produced Widespread Perceptions of Corruption

By significant margins, Americans believe new rules allowing individuals, corporations, and unions to donate unlimited amounts to SuperPACs will lead to corruption.

These beliefs are held equally by both Republicans & Democrats.

  • 69% agreed that “new rules that let corporations, unions and people give unlimited money to Super PACs will lead to corruption.” Only 15% disagreed.  Notably, 74% of Republicans and 73% of Democrats agreed with this statement.
  • 73% agreed that “there would be less corruption if there were limits on how much could be given to Super PACs.” Only 14% disagreed.  Here, 75% of Republicans and 78% of Democrats agreed.
  • Only about 1 in 5 Americans agree that average voters have the same access to candidates (and influence on candidates) as big donors to Super PACs.  Two-thirds of Americans disagree.

Broad Bipartisan Majorities Believe Elected Officials Favor the Interests of Super PAC Donors over the Public Interest

Large majorities of Americans believe that members of Congress will favor the interests of those who donate to Super PACs over those who do not — and that Super PAC donors can pressure elected officials to alter their votes.

  • More than two-thirds of all respondents (68%) — including 71% of Democrats and Republicans — agreed that a company that spent $100,000 to help elect a member of Congress could successfully pressure him or her to change a vote on proposed legislation.  Only one in five respondents disagreed.
  • More than three-quarters of all respondents — 77% — agreed that members of Congress are more likely to act in the interest of a group that spent millions to elect them than to act in the public interest.  Similar numbers of Republicans (81%) and Democrats (79%) agreed.  Only 10% disagreed.

The Perception that Super PACs Have Excessive Influence over Government Threatens Grave Consequences for Participatory Democracy

An alarming number of Americans report that their concerns about the influence of donors to outside political groups make them less likely to engage in democracy.  Communities of color, those with lower incomes, and individuals with less formal education are more likely to disengage due to concerns about how much influence is wielded by Super PAC donors.

  • Two in three Americans — 65% — say that they trust government less because big donors to Super PACs have more influence than regular voters.  Republicans (67%) and Democrats (69%) uniformly agree.
  • One in four Americans — 26% — say that they are less likely to vote because big donors to Super PACs have so much more influence over elected officials than average Americans.

‘Tea Party’ and ‘Occupy’ Join Together to Protect Free Speech

As we reported earlier this month, Waffle House executive and Georgia state senator Don Balfour is pushing a bill, SB469, that would prohibit picketing outside private residences, a law that would’ve put the Founding Fathers themselves in jail. The law is being pushed with the help of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Corporate America, and is primarily targeted at labor unions.

Now, Georgia’s Tea Partiers have joined the occupiers and labor unions in battling against Corporate America’s war on free speech. On Monday, the Atlanta Tea Party sent a message to its 50,000-person list opposing the bill. One of its main activists, Debbie Dooley, also testified against it in the state legislature.

Labor unions have First Amendment rights just like Tea Parties,” Dooley told Salon. “I don’t see how you can say it’s OK for one group to go and protest in front of CNN but a labor union can’t.”

The alliance between occupiers, tea partiers, and union members in Georgia against this corporate assault on the First Amendment is a promising sign that Americans of all ideologies are waking up and fighting back against the capture of our democracy by monied interests.

Republic Report, March 2012

Republicans, Independents, Democrats Agree: It Undermines Democracy

New polling reveals an increasing number of voters concerned about the role of money in politics.

The poll found the majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents in agreement with the following statement:

“Given what I see in the presidential race,

I am fed up with big donors and secret money that controls which candidate we hear about.

It undermines democracy.”

Campaigns and Elections, Jan. 2012