By Sharon Tornes
The Humanists of Minnesota board has agreed to endorse a resolution aimed at curbing the influence of wealthy special interests in our elections. (See here.)
We want to join with Minnesota Citizens for Clean Elections, MN American Promise, and Move to Amend in an effort to get city councils and county boards to endorse a state resolution asking Congress to pass a 28th Amendment to the Constitution. The amendment would override the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, which struck down restrictions on political spending by corporations and billionaire donors on free-speech grounds, and provide for the following:
Corporations are not natural persons and only natural persons are endowed with constitutional rights.
Federal, state, and local governments shall have the power to regulate contributions and expenditures for elections and campaigns, and to require public disclosure of the sources of the contributions and expenditures.
What’s the Reasoning Behind This?
The Citizens United decision has eroded our political system:
Undisclosed election spending has dramatically increased.
Lawmakers respond more to their big donors than to their constituents.
Lawmakers spend more time fundraising than governing.
Governments at all levels are encumbered in their ability to enact and enforce reasonable controls on campaign finance.
If money is speech, then the less affluent have less speech than the wealthy!
This Amendment Is Wanted!
More than 80 percent of US citizens want big money out of elections.
Support for this reform is truly nonpartisan -- 80 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of Democrats, and 71 percent of independents polled support it.
Nineteen states have already passed this resolution; 38 states are needed to ratify constitutional amendments. We need to step up.
Why City Council and County Board Resolutions?
A state ballot initiative, although it would likely pass, is not possible because such initiatives are allowed only to amend the Minnesota state constitution.
Local governments represent the people and this amendment will protect local interests
As the election year winds down, we are all sick and tired of the zillions of ads and their lies and outrageous claims. The out-of-state (and dark, or untraceable) money behind them is staggering. Let’s make elected officials accountable to all voters, not just big donors.
Sooo….We need to get involved. The Humanists of MInnesota Social Action Team has adopted this as one of its priorities. Send me an email if you are willing to help get your city or county to support this resolution. They’re never going to do it on their own, and with national political trends and the U.S. Supreme Court that we are dealing with now, and for longer than I care to contemplate, this will never change otherwise.
As has been said ad nauseum: “Follow the Money.” We need to convince Minnesota to challenge the stranglehold of dark money that is ruining our government.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Sharon Tornes is a member of the Humanists of Minnesota board and Social Action Team.