Spring 2014 Election

'Citizens United' election-spending referendums on ballot in Elkhorn, Delavan, Edgerton

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Voters in Elkhorn, Delavan and Edgerton will consider the same referendum question April 1.

The referendum is part of a national movement, “Move to Amend,” which hopes to overturn the United States Supreme Court's decision in a case that is now referred to as “Citizens United.”

In Citizens United, the court ruled that First Amendment rights extend to corporations, labor unions and nonprofit organizations.

The ruling made it easier for those groups to engage in unlimited “independent expenditures” during the election season.

An “independent expenditure” is spending on behalf of a candidate without his or her knowledge or the knowledge of campaign staff.

The referendum, which already has passed in a number of Wisconsin municipalities, will ask residents if they support a resolution, “Reclaiming democracy from the corrupting effects of undue corporate influence by amending the United States Constitution to establish that:

“Only human beings, not corporations, unions, nonprofit organizations nor similar associations are entitled to constitutional rights.

“Money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech.

“We hereby instruct our state and federal representatives to enact resolutions and legislation to advance this effort.”

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