Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the Saving American Democracy Amendment to the Constitution today. Essentially, it's a "corporations are not people" amendment. It expressly excludes corporations from the rights granted to natural persons under the Constitution, prohibits corporate spending in elections, allows for Congress & the States to regulate corporations and campaign finance.
Per Sen. Sanders, this is the only way to fight the Citizens United decision.
"Make no mistake, the Citizens United ruling has radically changed the nature of our democracy, further tilting the balance of power toward the rich and the powerful at a time when already the wealthiest people in this country have never had it so good," Sanders said.
"In my view, history will record that the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision is one of the worst decisions ever made by a Supreme Court in the history of our country."
The amendment is co-sponsored by Sen. Mark Begish (D-Alaska). There is a corresponding amendment being proposed in the House sponsored by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.).
S.J. Res. 33 reads as follows:
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to expressly exclude for-profit corporations from the rights given to natural persons
by the Constitution of the United States, prohibit corporate spending
in all elections, and affirm the authority of Congress and the States
to regulate corporations and to regulate and set limits on all election
contributions and expenditures.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
Mr. SANDERS (for himself and Mr. BEGICH) introduced the following joint
resolution; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United
States to expressly exclude for-profit corporations from
the rights given to natural persons by the Constitution
of the United States, prohibit corporate spending in all
elections, and affirm the authority of Congress and the
States to regulate corporations and to regulate and set
limits on all election contributions and expenditures.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives
of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-
thirds of each House concurring therein), That the fol-
lowing article is proposed as an amendment to the Con-
stitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all
intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when
ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several
States within seven years after the date of its submission
‘‘SECTION 1. The rights protected by the Constitution
of the United States are the rights of natural persons and
do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability
companies, or other private entities established for busi-
ness purposes or to promote business interests under the
laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state.
‘‘SECTION 2. Such corporate and other private enti-
ties established under law are subject to regulation by the
people through the legislative process so long as such regu-
lations are consistent with the powers of Congress and the
States and do not limit the freedom of the press.
‘‘SECTION 3. Such corporate and other private enti-
ties shall be prohibited from making contributions or ex-
penditures in any election of any candidate for public of-
fice or the vote upon any ballot measure submitted to the
‘‘SECTION 4. Congress and the States shall have the
power to regulate and set limits on all election contribu-
tions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own spend-
ing, and to authorize the establishment of political com-
mittees to receive, spend, and publicly disclose the sources
of those contributions and expenditures.’’.
My personal opinion is that this amendment would have the overwhelming support of the American people. Given the current composition of Congress though, I just don't see a path to the 2/3 majority needed in both Houses of Congress to pass. GOP members as well as certain Democrats represent corporation's interests over their constituents on a regular basis. This is something we desperately need but getting it passed by members that are so thoroughly co-opted by the existing system would be an enormous feat.
Senator Sanders sees these corporate excesses as anathema to our democracy.
“In my view, corporations should not be able to go into their treasuries and spend millions and millions of dollars on a campaign in order to buy elections,” he said. “I do not believe that is what American democracy is supposed to be about.”
I absolutely agree. Passing this Constitutional amendment seems the last fledgling hope of our Democracy. It is already floundering is a sea of corporate cash. I really want to thank Senator Sanders for once again showing that he is firmly on the side of the people of this country....the flesh and blood people.
If you support this effort, please add your name to A Petition to Support the Saving American Democracy Amendment
jamess wrote a diary earlier today that included a great video of Senator Sanders. Take a look at it there and drop him a tip & rec. I think this is an idea that merits attention. The time has come to look seriously at what we can do.
Is there a way we can make this happen? How else could Citizen's United be countered? The floor is yours.
Update: Thanks for getting this on the Rec list! It's time to push this into the national consciousness and find a way to get it done.
Update 2: h/t to Satya1 for bringing this book to my attention:
"Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became 'People' and How You Can Fight Back." by Thom Hartmann
You can read it online at Truthout
Thom also hosts Bernie every Friday on his Radio show for his Brunch with Bernie segment.