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Public Citizen staff delivers 2+ million petition signatures in support of constitutional amendment to regulate dark money. Daily Kos has a box full.
Public Citizen staff delivers 2+ million petition signatures in support of constitutional amendment to regulate dark money. Daily Kos has a box full.
The midterm elections are less than two months away, and once again we are seeing record-breaking sums of corporate money being spent to manipulate voters.

Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United and McCutcheon opened up the floodgates for the Koch brothers to spend unlimited sums, and we can see more such rulings in the future.

Our Daily Kos petition calling on the U.S. Senate to pass a constitutional amendment to repeal Citizens United generated 279,588 signatures—our most successful petition yet.

On Monday, September 8th, the Senate will vote on Joint Resolution 19—the first step to such a constitutional amendment—and we need your help once again.

But this time, we are asking our community to do something different: send a personalized e-mail to your senators.

Please read below the fold for more information.

Monday’s Senate vote will be our last opportunity before Congress adjourns for the November election—and corporate interests flood the airwaves—to put our senators on the record of where they stand on this crucial issue.

Fifty senators (all Democrats & independents) have pledged to support Senate Joint Resolution 19, so we are targeting Republicans and the five undecided Democrats (Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu, Joe Donnelly, Tim Kaine & Mark Warner).

On Tuesday, over 30,000 Daily Kos members who live in a state with one or more undecided senators sent a quick e-mail urging their support—but now we’re asking for more.

As we learned in our net neutrality campaign, personalized messages are far more persuasive and effective than form letters.

In a meeting with net neutrality advocates that my colleague Rachel Colyer attended, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler made it clear that personal comments from real people, telling real stories about how the end of net neutrality would impact them personally, are the comments he reads and gives the most credence to.

Our Daily Kos community has been very effective in pushing for net neutrality, as an excellent analysis by the Sunlight Foundation of public comments to the Federal Communications Commission recently proved. Not only did Daily Kos form letters account for 10 percent of all public comment—but a staggering forty percent of all comments to the FCC on net neutrality were personalized (as opposed to form letters), which is four times the normal rate.

It’s difficult to know why, exactly, more members of the public apparently wrote letters themselves in this rulemaking than is typical for large dockets. It could be an indicator of a genuinely higher level of personal investment and interest in this issue, or perhaps this docket drew organizers who employed different "get out the comment" techniques than we have seen in the past.
Guilty as charged. Daily Kos mobilized our members, who sent high-quality personalized messages to the FCC on net neutrality. A public body receiving 10,000 personalized e-mails about an issue is far more effective than receiving 100,000 standard form letters.

And we will do that again to push for the U.S. Senate to reverse Citizens United.

We are not asking you to click a couple buttons or sign your name, like we usually do.

We need you to take five minutes from your day to write a personal email to one or both of your senators, telling them why you believe we need a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and otherwise get money out of our elections.

Will you give us a few minutes of your time and use the space below to write a personal email—in your own words—to your senator about why this issue matters?

In case you are not familiar with what is at stake, here is some background …

Citizens United Carpet Bombing Democracy - Cartoon
Graphic by DonkeyHotey
In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Buckley that money is “speech”—which has allowed the rich and powerful to drown out the voices of everyday people in our political system.

Citizens United in 2010 made it even worse, by declaring that corporations are “people” which allowed the Koch Brothers to freely spend their corporate treasuries in political campaigns.

The Supreme Court’s McCutcheon case last year took it a step further by saying that donors had a right to give to an unlimited number of campaigns—from U.S. president to dog catcher.

Please click here and use the form to write and send your personal story and thoughts about why money is not “speech” and corporations are not “people”—and why we must change our constitution. Original emails to your senator are the most effective.

Originally posted to Paul Hogarth on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 01:02 PM PDT.

Also republished by Virginia Kos and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Done! n/t (12+ / 0-)

    Their cause must be our cause too. Because it's not just Negroes, but really it's all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome. -- Lyndon B. Johnson

    by AllTheWayWithLBJ85 on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 01:07:03 PM PDT

    •  I didn't see any "Mayday PAC" stickers on those (0+ / 0-)

      boxes of petitions. I'm registered with Mayday (Lessig's SuperPAC to drive campaign finance reform), so I can state that it has not sent any emails to its members encouraging them to support this joint resolution with letters to their senators.

      Hunh.

  •  Maybe I'm the only with this pet peeve... (9+ / 0-)

    ...but you do not "repeal" Citizens United.  Congress can repeal laws that Congress passes.  SCOTUS can reverse their own decisions or overturn decisions of lower courts.  SCOTUS can nullify laws and Congress can render moot SCOTUS decisions via constitutional amendment.  Nullify or overturn might be OK here too, but repeal is definitely not the right verb here.

    •  technically speaking (6+ / 0-)

      the constitutional amendment would "overrule" Citizens United, which is the same as repealing it.

      •  Overrule is fine. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Musial

        I still say repeal is to undo a law not a case.

        •  Revolutionary amendments make no change (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jemldy, Sojourns

          in the law unless the Court says so, as with the 14th Amendment, which for 80 years was ignored or reinterpreted. That's how judicial supremacy works. The politics of amendments is they can make no difference at all, like the 24th. That is why important legal change since FDR has been by legislation not amendment. FDR pointed out that 5% of the population can block an amendment, that's not democracy that's oligarchy. That is why this proposed amendment has zero chance, as did ERA. ALEC has twice as many states as are needed to stop it. And even if it became law, the Court could ignore it. The legal changes brought about by the Warren Court were largely confined to juridical questions of legal process, not to Article 1 issues on which it deferred to Congress. Elections are an express power of Congress textually committed under Art 1 Sec. 4 and 5.

          Congress has authority to abrogate Supreme Court decisions, as is routinely done. Congress has authority to curb Court jurisdiction as in Ex Parte McCardle. Congress could abrogate Buckley and progeny by an up or down vote and pass anticorruption legislation that institutes exclusive public financing. The public is unaware of this, and the Democratic Party is too corrupted or cowardly to generate the political will. This is actually not a Constitutional issue, it is clear that Congress has the power to pass the legislation. It's a violation of separation of powers issue, that the Court has usurped Art. 1 power on fraudulent reasoning in Buckley.

          •  Partly true, but you may be missing the point (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fields4ever

            I think the bigger picture at play here is that Dems want to curb further "corporate personification" through judicial activism in the SCOTUS.

            Let's take a wildly hypothetical scenario here...  there are many federal regulations that apply to varying degrees to businesses.  E.g., FMLA: 50 employees within 75 miles (or vice versa, I forget), Title VII claims (10 employees, IIRC) and scaling damages limits (smaller companies less liable), etc.

            Suppose through some crazy situation the a legal challenge arises to the "discriminatory" application of federal regulations or state laws based on the size or type of company and that it violates due process or something like that.  The right-leaning SCOTUS may be all to happy to strike these down for constitutional reasons against the rights of companies as citizens for equal treatment under the law and due process and whatnot.

            Now, how big of a deal would that be?  Huge!  We couldn't pass laws that seek to rein-in corporate evils like employment discrimination or EPA violations, etc. because we'd have to punish small businesses equally harshly, and nobody would go for that.

            This is bigger than Citizens United and Hobby Lobby.

      •  In order to amend the constitution (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        glitterscale

        we would have to hold a constitutional convention. The pundits tell us that would be a dangerous thing to do, because once you begin to amend one part of the constitution, you could go on to amend other parts as well. In reality, that's the best reason for holding a constitutional convention. The Founding Fathers never expected we would treat the constitution as though it was infallible. They assumed we would hold a constitutional convention every generation at a minimum, to update it. After more than two centuries, it badly needs to be updated.

  •  2 birds, 1 stone... (11+ / 0-)

    Coats (R) & Donnelly (D) in Indiana,

    Same message to both...

    It's time to get virtually unlimited campaign spending reigned in. The very fact that these major donors wish to be anonymous tells me they know their agenda is unwanted - hence using the back door to advance their goals. If they thought their ideas had any merit, we'd see wall-to-wall advertising of these folks proudly and publicly standing up for their policies. The stance you take on this Resolution will tell me all I need to know about which side you support and that you (dis)agree with that conclusion.

    Vote 'No' and I will assume you wish to keep up the unprecedented flow of 'dark' money (and your access to it).

    Vote 'Yes' and I will assume you wish to truly help the (human) people who put you in office.

    Your decision will determine my vote in November. The choice is up to you.

    No, I will NOT sit down or shut up...but, thanks for askin'!

    by HoosierDeb on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 02:18:12 PM PDT

  •  Here's the text (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Mike

       of the resolution.

    http://freespeechforpeople.org/...

    •  "Reasonable" Who decides?? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jemldy

      I've already signed another petition.  It asks for stronger language.  The word "reasonable" has been added to SJR19.  Depending on who decides what's reasonable, the present draft may mean nothing at all.

      "...Congress and the States may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates..."
      (My emphasis, obviously.)

      And I've already sent an e-mail to Senator Murray: short, sweet and in my own words.  Tried to send also to Senator Cantwell, but it bounced.

      The opposite of pro is con. So what's the opposite of progress?

      by DSPS owl on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 04:23:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  both my senators have pledged to support already (8+ / 0-)

    yay Massachusetts

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 03:42:13 PM PDT

  •  I contacted my senators last night (6+ / 0-)

    Bill Nelson :)   and Marco Rubio  :< , FL

    I want to live in a civil society. Political compass: -7.88, -5.08

    by dragonwerx on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 08:23:12 AM PDT

  •  SJR 19 is NOT good enough! (9+ / 0-)

    To the Co-Sponsors of Senate Joint Resolution 19:

    Thank you for standing up against big money and special interests in co-sponsoring SJR 19, but it doesn't go far enough.

    For the past four years the Movement to Amend the Constitution has been clear: We must both abolish corporate constitutional rights AND get big money out of politics.

    Don't advocate for an amendment that only goes part way!

    Please AMEND SJR 19 to include this language:

    "The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only. Artificial entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law. The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable."

    Tens of thousands of volunteers across the nation have been building a grassroots movement over the past four years from the bottom up.

    This movement came from everyday people taking this issue to their city governments, to town meeting debates, to candidate forums, to newspaper opinion pages, and to the ballot box directly. Nearly 600 cities and towns have now passed amendment resolutions.

    Polling shows 80% of the American public believes that corporations should not have the same rights as people. State legislatures have been pressured to stand up as well, with 16 states passing resolutions calling for an amendment. “Ending Corporate Personhood” was a major theme in the demands that came from Occupy encampments across the country.

    Please amend SJR 19 to eliminate corporate personhood to put We the People in the driver's seat of our government.

    Steve Justino
    Chair, Colorado Move to Amend

  •  it's a waste of time. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MT Spaces, jemldy

    Congress is not going to pasd this, so why bother?

    As for contacting my Senators, give me a break! My Senators are McConnell and Paul. Last time I contacted either of them, I was placed on a mailing list.

    •  Even if we don't prevail ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joffan, MT Spaces, Mary Mike

      This is one of the last votes the Senate will take before they adjourn for the campaign season, where the Koch Brothers will swamp the airwaves with their negative attack ads.

      Making this vote as high-profile as possible will help set the stage for the campaign season, and provide a contrast with the Senators who voted "no."

      So sure, let Mitch McConnell vote "no." And let him know that a lot of his constituents disagree with him. And make him pay the price on Election Day when he loses to Alison Lunderson-Grimes.

    •  Nonetheless thanks for trying. (0+ / 0-)

      Nonetheless thanks for trying.

    •  You contacted Ron Paul and Mitch McConnell (0+ / 0-)

      and told them you support an amendment to repeal Citizens United, and now you're complaining because all they did was put you on their mailing lists. Be grateful they didn't put you on their enemies lists (you're not important enough for that).

  •  My Senator is its champion: Yay, Tom Udall! (7+ / 0-)

    Tom has a legislative track record that I can be proud of.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 10:10:13 AM PDT

  •  I have Cruz and Cornyn for senators... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MT Spaces, jemldy

    I could write an e-mail, but then I'd get a letter back saying why they don't support it - or even worse, a form letter saying 'thank you for your participation.' It's just awful that I have two senators who don't represent me or the majority of people in Texas. It's even worse that I have Cruz for one of them. I thought I disliked Cornyn - now he's the lesser of two weevils.

    I see you drivin' 'round town with the girl I love / And I'm like / Please proceed, Governor. - Dave Itzkoff

    by Jensequitur on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 10:12:20 AM PDT

  •  Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jemldy

    ... will never vote for anything decent.

    Millions of us – the majority – must come together to insist that President Obama and the Democrats stand up and fight for the things we sent them there to do ... Michael Moore

    by MT Spaces on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 11:01:02 AM PDT

  •  You've been suckered! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jemldy, Listner2

    To allow Citizens United to persist would result in the dismantling of the Middle Class here in America, which is already underway, and to probably the largest transfer of wealth to a gentry class in the history of civilization.  We will return to the very society our Founding Fathers fled - one of royalty and serfdom.

    However, with that said, let's not lose sight of the fact that Barack Obama probably got more soft money than either of his two opponents.

    I think this whole bit about a constitutional amendment is disingenuous.  I don't think the pols on either side of the aisle are interested in doing away with soft money, rather they would all just like to get a bigger piece of the pie.

    Constitutional amendments are nearly impossible to pass.  Don't you think both the neocons and the neolibs know that?

    The dirty little secret is that they could fix this mess with some finely crafted legislation, but they really don't want to do so.

    By advocating for the near impossible, the neolibs placate their progressive base without risking having to actually fix the problem, which would mean a loss of all that corporate money.

    We're being hornswoggled yet again!  The neolibs are even better at fooling genuine liberals than the neocons are at fooling genuine conservatives!

  •   Amendment wont pass, they need 2/3rds (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoosierDeb

    in both Houses and 3/4ths of the states. thats 290 in the House 67 in the Senate and 38 states. Not gonna happen. Flipping the House and retaining Congress though, could lead to something like this passing, if we freeze out the Rs as they have Us in the House and severely limit the filibuster in the Senate.

    •  Lots of stuff doesn't pass, the first time. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoosierDeb, jemldy, Paul Hogarth

      One way to view this vote is to recognize that it is not about getting it passed.  It is a talking point that can be used in the upcoming campaign.  If you vote against this bill, then you must be for the corporations.  If you are for the corporations then you are against the people.

      This is just one arrow in the quiver that can be used to change the mood of the country that accepts the "job creator" meme and help government to look good again -- or at least become the lessor of two evils.

  •  SJR 19 Does not overrule Citizens United! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jemldy

    SJR 19 is about campaign financing.  While this is an excellent goal, when I read the amendment that Udall proposed, I find it lacking.  There is NOTHING in this amendment that declares that "corporations are not people".  (Please read the first link.)

    A successful amendment must specifically declare that the rights outlined in the constitution only apply to "Natural Persons" and not to "Artificial Persons" such as corporations.  

    https://beta.congress.gov/...[%22udall%2C+tom%22]%7D

    https://movetoamend.org/...

  •  I'd love to! But... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoosierDeb, Paul Hogarth

    I'm a resident of the District of Columbia and thus have no voting representation in Congress.

    "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

    by Apost8 on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 12:30:57 PM PDT

  •  I called my Senators office... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jemldy, Paul Hogarth

    today but I already know that both of my states Senators are on board. I'm proud of both Mark Udall and Michael Bennett they support this bill.

  •  Done too. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jemldy, Paul Hogarth

    Senator Nelson is in - I contacted his office yesterday.
    But there is no point in going after Rubio. He's out for sure.

  •  Citizen United Letter to Senate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jemldy

    I sent an email to my bad Senator - Rob Portman (R-OH).

    No need to send one to my good Senator - Sherrod Brown (D-OH). I'd be willing to bet money that Sherrod will vote to repeal Citizens United. One great thing about Sherriod Brown - I'd say that at least 98% of the time, on issues across the board, Sherrod's votes are the same as if I were sitting there doing the voting.

    Too bad about Portman.

  •  Sorry but this will never pass (0+ / 0-)

    I live in the very red and very backward state of Indiana, the northern-most of the Southern states.  My "representatives" will never, ever vote to defy the SCOTUS on this issue.  As much as I'd like to see a constitutional amendment repealing Citizens United I can't imagine it will ever pass in this corporate Congress, let alone get the needed 2/3 of the states to approve it.  

    Sorry to be such a pessimist, but I just don't see the Fox "News"-fed ignorati agreeing to accept limits on corporate power as long as the black guy is in office.  We'd all like to think that racism has become passe in America.  It hasn't.  The GOP has exploited it with great success, so much so that even given its awful record and empty rhetoric it has so recovered that it's likely to win the Senate in November.  That's because the racists are energized to vote, while the Democrats, disorganized and disengaged, are discouraged from voting.

  •  The problem is, they have a machine in place fo... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Astonishingly Amused

    The problem is, they have a machine in place for focusing their message and turning out support and it's called"church". They get the message to the preacher who vomits it out verbatim from the pulpit along with supporting argument about the why it's the moral position and with that they manage to get a large percentage of the voting public to march in lockstep to the polls and repeatedly vote against their own self interest. Cuz "that's what Jesus would do". We need to get the corrupting influence of money out of politics but we also need to get the corrupting influence of organized religion out of the process. Or at least make them pay for the privilege of using the pulpit by losing exempt status. That would make it more honest anyway.

  •  My senators are republican (0+ / 0-)

    So when I send them a personalized, well thought-out letter what I get back is a form letter that is both vague and dodgy.

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