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Chuck Schumer

The Senate will vote on Sen. Tom Udall's constitutional amendment to reverse U.S. Supreme Court rulings that prevent limitations on campaign spending, campaign contributions and independent group spending. That's the word from Sen. Chuck Schumer, chair of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee which is holding hearings on "dark money."
The amendment would roll back the 2010 Citizens United and 2014 McCutcheon rulings by re-instituting the power of Congress to pass legislation limiting campaign contributions and expenditures. In particular, this change would reverse a part of the court's 1976 Buckley v. Valeo ruling that upheld the original Federal Election Campaign Act's limits on campaign contributions, but struck down the act's limits on campaign spending.

"We have to bring some balance to our political system," Schumer said. […]

"Elections have become more about the quantity of cash and less about the quality of ideas," Udall said.

The hurdle for a constitutional amendment is a high one, obviously. But the effort needs to start somewhere, and a vote in the Senate is a pretty good place for that. With a Supreme Court committed to letting big money have its way in our political system, a constitutional amendment is the only option to bring the authority of campaign spending regulation back to the states and the people.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 12:57 PM PDT.

Also republished by New Mexico Kossaks, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I don't suppose this will even pass the Senate (11+ / 0-)

    Isn't a 2/3 majority required for Constitutional Amendments?

    To say nothing of the additional hurdles of the House and ratification by 38 states.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 01:09:12 PM PDT

    •  It's not just the rules and procedures, the Kochs (3+ / 0-)

      and their ilk have been wearing out check books since they caught wind of this. This is the Corporate States of America, follow the money. It will lead to all the real, interconnected cesspools of corrupted obstruction that Schumer and friends are having to navigate.

       Lake Infomedia will be the first hurdle to swim across.

      21st Century America: The distracted, superficial perception of a virtual reality. Gettov Milawn

      by geez53 on Thu May 01, 2014 at 06:57:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Let the Repubs vote against it. It will be a great (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pelagicray, ColoTim, bear83, Amber6541, mmacdDE

      ad for why they are unfit for public office and why we need more Dems in the Senate.

      Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

      by tekno2600 on Thu May 01, 2014 at 07:06:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It won't. But (8+ / 0-)

      if Democrats bring this up every session, it will perhaps gain momentum.

      1. Books are for use.

      by looty on Thu May 01, 2014 at 07:09:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Article V convention of the states (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      left of center

      And therefore I hope everyone can support an Article V convention of the states to propose an amendment. Ratification is still by the same 3/4ths of the states.

      Most fears about how an amendment could go wrong are worse for Congress, which is essentially a rolling open-ended convention with pre-corrupted delegates. And while Sen. Udall's amendment is pretty good, delegates from the states could come up with an amendment that stands a better chance of making it to 3/4. Even if it's the exact same amendment language in the end—the process itself would be more inclusive.

      And even if you prefer that Congress do it, what's the most effective way to pressure them? Getting close to 2/3 of the states to call a convention. It worked for the amendment on direct election of senators.

      It's good that the Democratic Party leadership is feeling the pressure enough to propose this as a publicity-getter. (Let's just say that Sen. Udall's sincerity is a little more believable than Sen. Schumer's.) But the need is real and dire, and the support for replacing money's voice with the people's voice is cross-partisan. Let's support an approach that actually gets us an amendment.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Thu May 01, 2014 at 09:44:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not just Congress (0+ / 0-)

      IF -- and it's a big "if" -- such an amendment DOES get out of Congress, it has to be ratified by 38 states before it becomes a part of the Constitution.  Now you would THINK that an idea so obvious as getting the obscene amount of blood money currently flowing out of our electoral process would have such widespread support on both sides of the aisle that it would easily survive a referendum like that.  And if it were an actual referendum, it very well might.  But look at the ERA for example.  All these years later, it still hasn't got those last 3 states.

      I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

      by mojo11 on Thu May 01, 2014 at 12:06:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  People will vote for what benefits them (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        enufenuf, Cassandra77

        And unfortunately it won't benefit the Repubs. It has little to do with the morality of buying elections, even though they have taken the (false) position that they are the "moral party."

        It makes me laugh when they say that Dems are giving away freebies to get votes. The whole "Obama phone" crap. That program was in place long before Obama came on the scene, it just applied to landlines for the low-income people ($10 a month). They just updated it to include cell phones, for $4 to $24 a month. Here is the catch, you can't have BOTH. Now if someone is elderly or disabled and lives by themselves, then having phone service is not a luxury. I wish these brain-dead Pubs would actually think about what they are saying. Too much to hope for though.

        If billionaires can afford to spend millions of dollars so that they can avoid paying taxes and fair wages, then they *can afford* to pay taxes and fair wages!

        by Pixie5 on Sat May 03, 2014 at 02:55:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think people vote in their best interest.. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rabrock, Pixie5

          Look at this:
          approx. 50% vote Democratic
          approx. 50% vote Republican

          About 1% own 90% of all American assets.
          so like the other 99% of us got nuttin'     (only 10%
                                     as what's left)

          I understand subtracting (Dems voting against) as 50% from 99% leaving the 49% (Repubs), but what on earth do they think they are going to get for their votes, The big guys (1%) are getting all the power and the dough, the 49% aren't really getting any part of the assets, except by selling out to the 1%,
          The 49% (Repubs) are voting on behalf of  the 1%ers hoping not to offend that they don't loose out on the hand-outs from the rich. As Regan said, "the trickle down part" They are BLINDED by the BIG DOLLARS. They don't even know they aren't part of the 1%. (Although they wanna-be part of the club.) They are just an incidental cost. A cheap buy out. Just "slaves to the vote."
          Gee, I hope I don't offend....
          I'd like to say:
          How cheap, how shallow, superficial, VANITY IS THY NAME.
          but I can't, all I can support is, it's sad how incredibly stupid....  
          Why can't they see....

          Amazing "People just don't want to work, matter how little you pay them!!!"

          by ThereAughtToBeABetterWay on Sat May 03, 2014 at 06:24:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  We won't do this 50 times and give up I hope (0+ / 0-)

      It's nice to have a symbolic vote but it's pretty useless unless it's clear to the American public that if they want this they need to give Democrats a clear majority in both houses and hold on to the White House as well.

      They need to explain why it fails and will continue to do so without radical change in DC.

  •  The joint resolution, with 35 co-sponsors (19+ / 0-)

    in the Senate can be found here.

    It's text is :


        ``Section 1. To advance the fundamental principle of political
    equality for all, and to protect the integrity of the legislative and
    electoral processes, Congress shall have power to regulate the raising
    and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to Federal
    elections, including through setting limits on--
                ``(1) the amount of contributions to candidates for
            nomination for election to, or for election to, Federal office;
                ``(2) the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support
            of, or in opposition to such candidates.
        ``Section 2. To advance the fundamental principle of political
    equality for all, and to protect the integrity of the legislative and
    electoral processes, each State shall have power to regulate the
    raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to
    State elections, including through setting limits on--
                ``(1) the amount of contributions to candidates for
            nomination for election to, or for election to, State office;
                ``(2) the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support
            of, or in opposition to such candidates.
        ``Section 3. Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant
    Congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press.
        ``Section 4. Congress and the States shall have power to implement
    and enforce this article by appropriate legislation.''.

    I’ve said before, I will always work with anyone who is willing to make this law work even better. But the debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. -- President Barack Obama

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 01:14:15 PM PDT

    •  "Its text", not "It's text" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BMScott, whl, DRo

      I’ve said before, I will always work with anyone who is willing to make this law work even better. But the debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. -- President Barack Obama

      by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 01:30:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  needs section (5) (18+ / 0-)

      (5) Corporations, being chartered agents of the state, have no legitimate political interests.  They may not contribute money or in kind contributions to any candidate at the Federal, State, or local levels.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 03:32:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Since when did Art. 1 say they dont have (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that power. It's the Court that said it, trying to crush Congress by violating separation of powers. There's a remedy for that. Regulatory legislation making restrictions plus jurisidiction stripping. The Court has invaded a political question and the Bluetocrats want to give the appearance of fighting back without fighting back.

      •  Sorry, you are simply wrong. Once the Supreme (5+ / 0-)

        Constitutional pronouncement, that IS the law of the land (see Marbury v. Madison).  Congress cannot, via legislation, change that.  They can, however, go around that via the amending process.  That is what happened, for example, after Oregon v. Mitchell, which limited Congress's right to order the vote for 18-year olds to Federal elections.  In order to ensure that 18-20 year olds could vote, Congress passed, and the states ratified, the 26th Amendment.   That is the system of checks and balances we have.
        When the court makes a statutory, rather than Constitutional, interpretation, THEN, Congress can overcome that by legislation (think Lily Ledbetter).  But, the check on SCOTUS vis a vis Constitutional interpretation is the amending power.

        I’ve said before, I will always work with anyone who is willing to make this law work even better. But the debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. -- President Barack Obama

        by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu May 01, 2014 at 01:26:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, this is Ex Parte McCardle time. Far bigger (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          whl, Simplify

          crisis than Dems think. This turns Marbury on its head. Read Art 1 Sec 4 and 5. This is the end of political question doctrine, the end of Marbury deference to rule of law. We fought a civil war over Dred Scott usurpation, that's where we're at. Read Lincoln's 1857 response to Dred Scott. Read Ackerman, We the People, on what the FDR Democratic Party is, party of legislative revolution. No more, no Congressional strategy taking exception, as in McCardle, but obsequious subservience to Court by a pacified Congrsss. Read FDR's response to amendment proposal re New Deal, ridiculed it as garbage in garbage out. This Court like the Four Horsemen doesn't recognize the Constitution or rule of law.

    •  Hmmmm. 36 sponsors. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Well -

      If you can convene a Senate session that has bare quorum (51 members), you've got your supermajority right there.

      The House?
      Not so much.

      The real problem is state legislatures.
      The Democrats tend to win a relatively few big states while Republicans tend to win more smaller states.

      As the final ratification by state legislatures counts all states the same, it's real damned hard to see this happening.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Thu May 01, 2014 at 06:43:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  To section 3, add (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justanothernyer, Simplify

      "or the freedom of the people to organize into non-profit political organizations."

      Censorship is rogue government.

      by scott5js on Thu May 01, 2014 at 07:27:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "issue ads" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Amber6541, Simplify

      The focus is constantly on contributions to candidates and stays away from addressing "issue ads".  This seems to me to leave the door wide open for any ads that directly deal with issues but never mention a politician's name.  Given the fine line that can involve, I'm not all that keen on this and would like to know more background about why this form was decided upon.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Thu May 01, 2014 at 07:33:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The problem with a Congress ever (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whl, Wisdumb, ColoTim

    approving a Constitutional Amendment on campaign finance reform is that there is not going to be enough time. Long before something like that is likely to happen, the Sun will burn out.

    •  Campaign finance reform is one thing (0+ / 0-)

      the bigger thing is reforming how candidates and organization use media.

      So write an amendment that limits the time they can advertise in public media.

      You want to send a gazillion pieces of mail? Go to it. You want to organize rallies, have people knock on doors, show up at every event? Have fun.

      You want to blanket the airwaves, the newspapers, with full page ads? Only in the last 6 weeks. And the only people who can buy ads are the candidates and the parties that nominate them. Nobody else.

      Then you KNOW that if it's an ad about so and so, so and so paid for it.

      NOBODY else can buy anything political on public media, or any media that reaches more than 1/3 of an area (which means cable in most places). Ever.

      Their speech isn't stifled. There's nothing stopping them from printing up leaflets and dropping them, or mailing them, or having people put them on cars or hand them out on the street. They can put them on their products, or have them on their websites. They can spend as much as their little hearts desire (not that corporations have hearts) on those things.

      But NOT on mass media.

      If ads for legal products can be banned from the broadcast media (tobacco), then restrictions can certainly be put on political ads.

  •  The amendment faces long odds. (21+ / 0-)

    But the Senate vote serves a useful purpose. Proposed amendments on money and corporate personhood need to become part of our national dialogue. Right now, these issues are not on many voters' radar screens.

    At the very least, the vote will show who is in favor of the status quo, and who wants to change it.

  •  I would be against the Udall amendment. (10+ / 0-)

    it's reprinted in a comment above, but you can also see it in a pdf here.  The federal part:

    ‘‘SECTION 1. To advance the fundamental principle
    of political equality for all, and to protect the integrity  of the legislative and electoral processes, Congress shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to Federal elections, including through setting limits on—
     ‘‘(1) the amount of contributions to candidates
     for nomination for election to, or for election to,
     Federal office; and
     ‘‘(2) the amount of funds that may be spent by,
     in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.
    I understand the sentiment that people want to limit corporate and special interest money, but this amendment is much broader than that.  It gives incumbents in Congress basically unfettered ability to regulate ALL contributions and ALL campaign spending.  

    IT is a very very bad idea to give incumbents the power to drastically limit the contributions to, and spending of, their own re-election campaign.  Incumbents almost always have much better name recognition and a natural platform for getting a message out (their office).  Limiting spending in a campaign gives a serious advantage to incumbents. What do you think Congress will do with this?  

    Also, this is ALL contributions and ALL spending -- there's no carve out for individual giving or for spending by the campaign itself or by the political party.  Congress can say, no campaign for Senator starting with 2016 can spend more than $100,000.  

    I do NOT want to give incumbents in Congress the power to regulate ALL donations -- to any entity, even the political party or the candidate him/herself -- and to regulate ALL spending -- even by political parties and candidates themselves.  I do not understand how anyone other than an incumbent would want to give incumbents the power to regulate how much is spent against them in their re-election campaign.  

    And that's just a start with the kind of havoc this can bring.  Notice, there's no limits on Congressional discretion -- can a Republican congress severely limit (maybe to $0?) donations to any political party, to any candidate, or to any PAC by Unions?  Under this Amendment, they can.  

    I cannot imagine that anyone who actually reads this amendment would support it.  

    •  No need to worry. (6+ / 0-)

      Our elected officials have always shown restraint and used an even hand when legislating. There should be no reason to fear that they would use such limitations on funding to their own advantage.

      I find it hard to believe that our duly elected officials would ever do something so self serving.

      Look, I tried to be reasonable...

      by campionrules on Thu May 01, 2014 at 06:36:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Holy crap. (5+ / 0-)

      Thanks. What a stupid idea. We all want the present system reformed. But in a positive direction, please!

    •  You are a very astute observer here. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justanothernyer, VClib, brightlights

      It boggles my mind that people think it would be OK to limit the political speech of one corporation (say Exxon) but not another (say, the SEIU), based upon their view as to whether or not the corporation has a salutary purpose.  

      That free speech slope is 90 degrees and made of oiled  glass, once we do that.  

      If you get confused, listen to the music play - R. Hunter

      by SpamNunn on Thu May 01, 2014 at 07:04:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Remember this amendment doesn't create limits (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, Amber6541, Simplify

      itself. It just gives Congress and the states the power to create them.

      We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

      by Samer on Thu May 01, 2014 at 07:41:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Too much power (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mmacdDE, VClib

        And you don't think a congress, controlled by either party, wouldn't go to the extreme?

      •  Right. Congress already has the power (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        to do all kinds of good and awful things. That's lawmaking and politics. Let's at least give them—and ourselves—the chance to make elections freer and fairer than the rigged game they are. Playing it "100% safe" and, by so doing, actually losing ground seems to be a perpetual fault in Democratic tendencies.

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Thu May 01, 2014 at 09:55:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think you're too alarmist about this. It is (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, Simplify, mmacdDE, untorqued

      possible to amend the language a little to address some of these concerns, but opposing it because you say spending limits would give the advantage to incumbents is a bit off base. First of all, incumbents right now have massive advantages in terms of BOTH name recognition and fund raising ability. In theory, some wealthy or super well-funded challenger could come in under the present system and literally give them a run for their money. But, then, the incumbent can easily call up big donors, like the Kochs, and they can pour in enough money to neutralize the threat. An unknown challenge doesn't have that ability. The only real solution to level the playing field is some kind of limit on spending.

      Personally, I think there should be a completely voter owned election process that only allow public money for campaigns (except for possibly some small individual donations for incidental items). It works this way in other countries and in some city elections. The bulk of the money for all advertising, all debates, etc. should be dished out equally to both candidates and no big donors should be able to hijack the process. If you take incumbent's money advantage off the table, name recognition is relatively easy to address through a grass roots process, as I explain below. If name recognition were an insurmountable challenge, you wouldn't have a little known Senator named Barack Hussein Obama sitting in the oval office.

      So, do spending limits take away the power of political parties and labor unions, along with big companies? Actually, no. It reduces the power of the money some of them currently give (and that's fine, it should), but they still have plenty of power. Labor unions have always had more power from "boots on the ground" than from money. That's a long established principle in the labor moment. It's impossible for unions to ever have as much money as employers, because they just receive a small percentage of employee salaries through dues, which are a just a small percentage of overall corporate profits. So, unions would be just fine doing more grass roots organizing and less of the money politics. Political parties could also mobilize grass roots campaigns. Corporations, on the other hand, would be hard pressed to get grass roots support for special tax breaks or privileges they currently get through backroom deals. They would prefer to write checks and keep everything hush hush.

      Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

      by tekno2600 on Thu May 01, 2014 at 08:02:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have a bit of a problem with "both": (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Simplify, mmacdDE
        The bulk of the money for all advertising, all debates, etc. should be dished out equally to both candidates and no big donors should be able to hijack the process.
        But I agree that we should have full public financing of political campaigns - but more importantly, we don't really need the financing so much these days.

        Politics and elections is a huge business these days, and that's not only wrong it's a slippery slope, the same slippery slope we are sledding down right now.

        We need to make politics and electioneering less of a business and more of a civic activity.

        I'd like to see an alternate media delivery system with the full reach of the corporate media - some kind of public information system that would allow for freedom of speech and for the freedom to be heard.

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Thu May 01, 2014 at 09:09:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I want money out of politics, really bad. But I (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brightlights, untorqued

      really don't think Schumer does. I can see your point, although having not read the bill I'll let others suss it out.

      I have to say that I'm skeptical of this largely because Schumer is on board.

      Not many of his 'reforms' resonate with me.

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Thu May 01, 2014 at 09:02:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Plus: what the hell does "freedom of the press" (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brightlights, nextstep, VClib, coffeetalk

      mean? In the constitution, it's generally accepted that it means "publishing," whereas this amendment uses it to mean something like "bona fide media."  So why use the more confusing, ambiguous term when they could use a clearer one?

      Sloppily written.

  •  Good luck with that. Nice to see our leaders (0+ / 0-)

    continue to keep their priorities straight.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu May 01, 2014 at 06:37:44 AM PDT

  •  Campaign finance reform is the prevailing issue (5+ / 0-)

    IMO re: government corruption. Not sure if this bill is perfect per Coffeetalk's point, but in general limiting contributions from non-persons and capping the per-person donation amounts is the right way to go.

    While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Thu May 01, 2014 at 06:41:31 AM PDT

    •  I don't think so (0+ / 0-)

      at least, not in the way you do.

      It's not just money that's the problem - it's what you buy with that money. And right now, that's predominantly airtime, and airtime in tiny chunks that don't get out a full picture of anything.

      Limit THAT. I don't care how much money you have - if you can't use it to buy full page ads in large publications and oodles of commercials, it's not going to overwhelm people the way it does now.

      So limit that. Each candidate gets so much airtime, or has a limit on how much they can buy. It only airs during 6 weeks before an election. The ONLY people who can use public media (radio/tv/cable/satellite) are candidates and the parties who nominate them.

      Nobody else NEEDS to. They're not running.

      If they want to do other things, have at it. Direct mail, events, flyers, websites, etc. is fine. I don't HAVE to see that. I'll likely have to go FIND it.

      But ads are too short to provide any real info, and should be limited for that reason alone.

  •  McCain will support this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    While certainly not now, it has a chance to pass in both houses at some point. Best that could happen if an influx of Koch et al money actually discredits a GOP candidate so that they end up losing. If this happens repeatedly, enough in the GOP would pass this

  •  Shumie * WINS !! (0+ / 0-)

    REWARD so fine.

    TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes? -- Addington's Perpwalk.

    by greenbird on Thu May 01, 2014 at 06:54:02 AM PDT

  •  A serious push for an amendment might get (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    looty, Samer, DRo, ColoTim, bear83

    some of the more politically sensitive conservative Justices to cool their jets.  John Roberts comes to mind, particularly in light of the way he found to uphold most of the Affordable Care Act.  
    What would really get their attention would be an amendment that would have Supreme Court Justices rotate down to the appellate court level after a term of, say, 14 years.  They'd still have life tenure as Federal judges, just a limited term on the Supreme Court.  Chance of that passing -- slim; but chance it would get their attention -- 100%.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Thu May 01, 2014 at 06:59:17 AM PDT

  •  one of the things Senators are very good at (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SpamNunn, greenbell, DRo, ChuckChuckerson

    is making a show of support for something that makes them look good but pulling a disappearing act when it matters. I'll believe any Senator is really behind this when he's the 67th vote and makes his positon public.

    If industry lobbying is able to block just about everything at the State legistature level that they don't like, what are the chances that this amendment will get anywhere?

  •  That's about as meaningful as the GOPers 50 plus (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bananapouch1, brightlights

    votes to repeal the ACA.   Nice theater - and we know how much Chuck loves theater - but not really a serious legislative effort.

    He might as well throw in repealing the Second Amendment, while he's at it.

    If you get confused, listen to the music play - R. Hunter

    by SpamNunn on Thu May 01, 2014 at 07:00:13 AM PDT

  •  The judiciary has no authority in elections. None! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators."

    The legislatures of the states have ALL election authority, except as modified by the amendments for race, gender, age, etc.

    "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members"

    "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress"

    20th Amendment: "If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified." my bold]

    "The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States"

    Because Frist and Hastert abdicated their authority and power, Rehnquist and his kangaroo court took over the 2000 election and anointed W Bu$h. The House and the Senate should have instantly passed a "sense of the Congress" that the Supreme Court had no power to make judgments about an election of any kind. The power grab was OK for Republicans because it put their mindless boob in the Oval Office.

    Rehnquist pulled off a coup de juris.

    All of this can be undone without an amendment. Congress can legislatively declare all of the Court decisions about elections as null and void and forbid ANY court from a judicial review of election laws.

    We're all just working for Pharaoh.

    by whl on Thu May 01, 2014 at 07:06:00 AM PDT

  •  This Is a BIG Threat to Fascist Oligarchs' Lust (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pelagicray, bear83

    for political control subverting representative democracy, the Rule of Law, and the Constitution -- the ultraconservative billionaires will have fits and will throw even more obscene amounts of money at politicians to defeat it.

    (In GREED They Trust)

  •  That is SJR 19 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k9disc, Simplify

    It has 36 co-sponsors in the Senate.
    One section says it shall not be construed to abridge freedom of the press. Good. Will courts construe the Internet as part of the press? Probably.
    I have a misgiving about how it would impact on political organizations. I have been PAC treasurer of 2 different organizations. I notice the amendment cites in-kind expenditures and that is a slippery point. It can be quite debatable what is an in-kind expenditure is, and what it is worth in dollars and cents. Suppose you send an E-mail to members to announce a meeting.
    Consider what ROADWomen in Houston (not one of my organizations} went through. Some Republicans went to their report filed with the Texas Ethics Commission and hunted down 'i's that were not crossed and 't's that were not dotted. It tool the treasurer several trips to Austin to get matters resolved. Similar things happened to the Houston GLBT Political Caucus.
    So be very careful about amending the First Amendment.

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Thu May 01, 2014 at 07:11:35 AM PDT

  •  IMO it will take at least a generation (0+ / 0-)

    to pull this up over the hill of obstructionism.

    But we have to start somewhere.

    Democrats need to make this amendment a plank in their party platform, as well as bring it up on the first day of every session of Congress.

    I think the substance of this amendment would prove hugely popular among regular voters.

    So Democrats need to make the point: We don't have the Congress to pass this amendment. Voters: give us a Congress that will.

    I don't expect Democrats ever to have the numbers to pass it through both houses on their own. But at some point, if they keep pushing and pushing, enough Republicans might come around.

    If they think their jobs are at stake for obstructing its passage, that is.

    So I give kudos to the 35 current senators willing to stand up for this. It's about planting a tree, so your children can enjoy the shade.

    1. Books are for use.

    by looty on Thu May 01, 2014 at 07:15:29 AM PDT

    •  Actually it will take this majority we hear about (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      looty, greenbird, Simplify

      that is against TP/GOP ideas, pretty much on "our" side yet fails to turn out at local, state and mid term election time to root out the obstructionists down in the legislative soil. If that majority, even in some "red" states on occasion, turns out big time every time for a while to change the legislative make up in Congress and the states we will see real change.

      Whether that happens before a pure oligarchy completes its acquisition of the United States and strips more and more of us of the franchise is the question.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Thu May 01, 2014 at 07:35:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Election year grandstanding, but... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, ColoTim

    I'm happy for the Democrats to fight the good fight for something that appeals to American across the political spectrum. And by taking a stand that flies against corporatism at that. Hopefully the move for an amendment will take on a life of its own and we'll see action at the state level to get an amendment passed even if Congress won't act.

    There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

    by BeerNotWar on Thu May 01, 2014 at 07:20:47 AM PDT

  •  Link (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Anyone have a link to the actual text of the proposed amendment?

  •  schumer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    talking about dark money;
    i believe this is the man that controls the continuation of the  hedgefund-managers 15%tax loophole because of the financial contributions they make to his pac.
    so is this move maybe just a little indigeneous, or am i wrong?

  •  Learned helplessness (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The idea of a constitutional amendment to rein in SCOTUS on their interference in campaign law is a classic case of learned helplessness.

    The Constitution very clearly makes Congress the controlling legal authority for federal elections.  Each chamber is made "the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members", and both together perform that function for the presidency and vice-presidency.

    Of course you don't want to have Congress making up the rules governing elections after the fact, after the election, because they would be obviously biased towards deciding individual cases of contested elections in favor of the majority of the time.  So, as everywhere in the law, you want to have the rules set out before the fact, before the elections.  

    In pursuit of this end, Congress has passed many laws about how elections and campaigns have to be conducted to pass muster, to insure that the results will be respected by Congress after the fact.  Some of these laws concern campaign finance.

    The claim made by the SCOTUS majority that threw out these campaign finance restrictions is that the laws that Congress passed to fulfill its Constitutional mandate to judge federal elections were in conflict with 1st Amendment rights of free speech, and that Constitutional provision trumps the one that makes Congress the judge of federal elections.

    No amendment, however artfully worded, will be able to get around the idea that the SCOTUS majority has that money equals speech.  There will still be, at least in the minds of the Federalist Society junta that controls the court, a conflict between the 1st Amendment and this new amendment.  Of course, it goes without saying that they will interpret the new amendment in a way that lets them continue to impose on the rest of us their insane idea that money equals speech.

    Not that it will ever come to that, because we will never get an amendment, given the multiple supermajorities that requires, until and unless the control of the junta is long gone.

    People who actually wanted to assert the control of reason in this case would take the far easier -- still difficult, but far easier -- path of a simple statute making explicit that SCOTUS has no jurisdiction over campaign finance law, or, even better, election law in general.  

    The Constitution provides this remedy of limiting jurisdiction for exactly the case that Schumer and other supporters of this amendment believe we are in now, that of a SCOTUS that has willfully decided a case wrongly, or has willfully extended its jurisdiction beyond its rational and legal bounds.  You either believe that SCOTUS got this case right (or at least that SCOTUS was within bounds making a decision, even if it turned out to be the wrong decision), and there should be no talk of any measure to reverse it beyond waiting for SCOTUS to come to its senses; or you think SCOTUS got it wrong, and got it wrong in a way that requires the rest of us to not just sit around and wait for SCOTUS to come to its senses, but to take action to take the power to decide this question away from SCOTUS.

    If you're in that second group, you have two methods available to take this power over campaign financing from SCOTUS.  You can go for an amendment that won't work at taking power away from SCOTUS unless it agrees to surrender a power that we believe it has usurped -- but that's alright because we'll never line up the supermajorities needed to pass such amendment anyway.  Or you can go for passing a law that actually would take power over campaign finance from SCOTUS, and only requires simple majorities in just the federal legislative trifecta.

    The states must be abolished.

    by gtomkins on Thu May 01, 2014 at 09:57:01 AM PDT

  •  can we not rid ourselves of Schumer? (0+ / 0-)

    reminds me of Leiberman: takes an easy stance on one issue important to dems and then gives everyone the finger on other big issues. screw Schumer and his relentless advocacy of the fringe minority of another country!!. Institutionally, he's stepping on the role of the administrative branch to conduct foreign policy; and whatever else he might say about banks, he still represents the big bank interests in NYC.

    at least he tireless fights on behalf of strong regulation of the social scurge known as gel-capsule dish detergent.

  •  add repeal of 2nd Amendment (0+ / 0-)
  •  The Politician With The Most Money Will Win. (0+ / 0-)
  •  just to get the ball rolling (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Certainly no one expects any such Senate vote to meet with success in the current climate. But it's also clearly important that a line be drawn in the sand as soon as possible. That very action will aid in bolstering more popular support for the idea. The right will counter, as usual, with the absurd. And while initially this will represent nothing but polarization over the issue, at least the issue will be out plainly in the open. At some point the big money interests will overplay their hand in such an obvious way that a now 'aware' public can no longer ignore or tolerate. Certainly we can expect it to become a major platform item for the 2016 presidential cycle. In this respect, today's predictable polarization will serve us well ...not only in terms of getting this matter resolved, but in terms of holding onto the White House for another term or more.

  •  I hate to say it, but (0+ / 0-)

    both parties are addicted to corporate money and everyone knows it. Corporations buy votes in both parties.
    Having said that the rubes are completely unprincipled when it comes to allowing themselves to be bribed and could care less what actual voters want as long as the corporate masters throw cash their way and let's be honest, it sucks Democrats right along just to keep up and keep the message heard. It gets even danker down the food chain in local politics, city hall, etc., where most people haven't a clue about the backroom deals cut to benefit the McMansion residents.

    Jesus only performs miracles for people with enough time on their hands to make that crap up.

    by KneecapBuster on Sat May 03, 2014 at 01:09:12 PM PDT

  •  Our Nation (0+ / 0-)

    is owned and controlled by corporations and the wealthy; the status quo is not acceptable.

  •  Bankrupt the Kochs! (0+ / 0-)

    If they spend every dollar they have fighting us, then let's fight them until they can't spend any more!

    They're already losing money on lame duck candidates who are sagging in the polls, and their attacks on Obamacare just get more plainly stupid as the stats come in.

    The fact is, the Koch Bros. are on the defensive, and as long was we keep them on the defensive we can win by attrition.

  •  Forget a Constitutional Amendment... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...they're so messy and difficult.  Some nicely crafted legislation should do the trick!

  •  Constitutional amendment (0+ / 0-)

    Technically, we shouldn't need a constitutional amendment to do for Americans what they are too stupid to do for themselves.  Citizens United should be an opportunity to bleed rich conservatives into poverty stricken political frustration.

  •  Let's not forget to ban corporate personhood too (0+ / 0-)

    An amendment to legalize regulating campaign finance would solve only half the problem.

    As long as corporations have the same rights as natural persons, the problems will persist. Local governments that want to outlaw fracking, for one example, would have to compensate persons for a "taking"... and corporations qualify now.

  •  watch them put band aides on a gapeing wound (0+ / 0-)

    I think the establishment politicians want to take this issue and put band aides on it. That way they keep the system that benefits them. If the establishment politicians write the law, we will still be fighting for representation 5 years from now. A public finance system is the only way to go, and it must cost far less than is being spent on elections now. About the only persons in power that might write a true fix to the problem are Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders. The rest of them have to let their corporate handlers write the law.

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