Your Views: Get informed, involved because money isn't speech
Outside spending on 2012 campaigns (as reported to the FEC) was over $1.29 billion. Combined with candidates' spending, this amount came to over $7 billion. The bulk of the outside money came from a small group of super-wealthy political contributors.
Astounding as they are, these numbers do not come as a surprise since the Citizens United v. FEC case in the U.S. Supreme Court, wherein corporations were deemed people and money was deemed speech. Corporations, including unions and nonprofits, can now give virtually unlimited money to political campaigns. Jan. 21 marks the fourth anniversary of the Citizens United ruling, and people across the country are taking action. Last year ended with 16 states having passed resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, which would declare that only human beings are endowed with constitutional rights and that money is not speech.
Similar actions are taking place in legislatures as well. In our Wisconsin Legislature, Assembly Joint Resolution 50 has been introduced to create a referendum that would put the question of such a constitutional amendment to Wisconsin voters in an advisory election. Similarly, in the U.S. House of Representatives, a bill has been introduced directly proposing a similar amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Several grassroots movements are canvassing for signatures to put a referendum on the ballot and petitioning local governments to pass resolutions in support of this kind of amendment. Get informed and involved because it's the only way we will bring democracy back.
This letter was revised Jan. 28, 2014, to reflect the following correction:
ELECTION SPENDING IN 2012 WAS $1.29 BILLION
An earlier version of this letter incorrectly stated the amount of spending on 2012 election campaigns. The correct number is $1.29 billion, as reported by the Federal Election Commission.