Your Views: Cast your vote to proclaim that money is not speech
According to the Federal Election Commission, combined spending on presidential candidates for 2016 so far adds up to $269.5 million. It will be interesting to see how much larger this number becomes because combined spending on 2012 campaigns topped $7 billion.
This virtually unlimited spending has been made possible by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC wherein corporations were deemed people and money was deemed free speech.
Jan. 21 marked the sixth anniversary of the Citizens United ruling. Not only does the flood of money distort the principle of “one person, one vote” in representative government, it interferes with the duties of our legislators: How much time can they spend listening to constituents or writing important legislation when members of Congress spend from 30 percent to 70 percent of their time raising money to stay in Congress? How much time can they spend on deliberation and building consensus? It’s no wonder that one poll showed 86 percent of Americans think our government is broken.
But there’s hope in a growing grass-roots movement. On April 5, there will be referendums in Beloit and Janesville to redress the current caricature of democracy: We the people will be able to vote “yes” to call for a constitutional amendment stating that only human beings are endowed with constitutional rights and that money is not speech. Sixty communities in Wisconsin and at least 12 states have passed similar referendums or resolutions.
Be a part of this history and vote!