One of the most popular 99% Movement and Occupy Wall Street issues is getting money out of politics. In a country where the candidate who spends the most money on their campaign wins the election 94% of the time, it is blatantly obvious that our electoral process is dominated by the richest global financial interests. By saturating the campaign finance and lobbying system with an endless supply of cash, Wall Street has rigged the political and economic system against hard working Americans. In unprecedented fashion, they have consolidated wealth into the hands of one-tenth of one percent of the population, at the expense and suffering of the American people.
If you’re wondering why we have the most severe inequality of wealth in American history; if you’re wondering why we currently have an all-time record number of Americans living in poverty, while we have all-time record profits and bonuses on Wall Street, it is primarily the result of the richest members of society being able to manipulate and control the legislative process through a system of legalized political bribery.
For us to take the first crucial step in solving the many problems we currently face, we have to create an amendment to the Constitution to get money out of politics. Thankfully, there is huge momentum building on this front. Here’s a brief summation of the newly proposed amendments, courtesy of theGet Money Out campaign. Hopefully, with your leadership, one of these amendments, or elements of a few of them, will soon become the 28th amendment to the US Constitution:
1) Rep. Ted Deutch – OCCUPIED Amendment (or Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy)
Introduced by Congressman Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), the amendment reverses Citizen’s United by stating that corporations are not people under the Constitution, and that corporations are barred from making election-related expenditures. It authorizes Congress and the states to regulate all election contributions and expenditures, and reaffirms Congress’ right to regulate corporations.
2) Sen. Bernie Sanders – Saving American Democracy Amendment
Senator Bernie Sanders introduced an amendment in the Senate that mirrors the OCCUPIED amendment in the House. Introducing this “companion bill” in the Senate allows both houses of Congress to begin debate on the same bill without having to wait for the other to pass it. Learn more. Read the amendment.
3) Cenk Uygur, Wolf PAC – Wolf PAC Amendment
Wolf PAC, a group started by progressive TV and radio host Cenk Uygur, reverses corporate personhood and prohibits corporations from giving to any politician. The amendment also sets a cap of $100 on all political donations and it establishes a public system to fund political campaigns. Read the amendment.
4) Senator Tom Udall – Udall Amendment
Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) along with eight other Democratic Senators proposed an amendment that gives Congress the power to regulate all money spent on campaigns and outside political groups such as Super PACs. It allows states to regulate state elections in the same manner. It would clear the way for Congress to pass reform legislation that would limit spending and would withstand a challenge in the Supreme Court. Read the amendment.
5) Rep. Jim McGovern and Free Speech for People – The People’s Right’s Amendment
Congressman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) introduced the amendment with the support of Free Speech for People, a non-profit group that aims to end corporate personhood. The amendment states that people or persons as used in the Constitution does not include corporations and that corporations are subject to regulation by the people through their elected representatives. Read the amendment.
6) Public Citizen – Democracy is for People Amendment
Pursued by the non-profit group Public Citizen, the amendment would reverse the Citizen’s Uniteddecision and permit Congress to regulate political spending by corporations. The amendment has not been drafted into specific language, but is based on a set of core principles. Read those principles and get more information.
7) Russell Simmons – Simmons Amendment
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons announced support for an amendment in a speech to Occupy Boston protesters. The amendment establishes public funding of political campaigns and prohibits any political contributions from any source. It gives Congress the authority to design and enforce the public funding system. Read the full text of the amendment. Watch Simmons’ speech.
8)Rep. Donna Edwards – Edwards Amendment
Introduced by Representative Donna Edwards (D-Md.), the amendment would overturn theCitizen’s United Supreme Court ruling by allowing Congress to regulate political spending by corporations.
9) Rep. Kurt Schrader – Schrader Amendment
Introduced by Representative Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), the amendment authorizes Congress and the states to regulate the contribution of all funds to candidates and the expenditure of funds to influence elections. Read the amendment.
10) Rep. Marcy Kaptur – Kaptur Amendment
Introduced by Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), the amendment authorizes Congress and the states to set limits on the contributions that may be accepted by and the expenditures that may be made in support or in opposition to candidates running for public office.
11) Move to Amend – Move to Amend
A group opposed to corporate personhood, Move to Amend, has proposed an amendment that would overturn Citizen’s United by affirming that corporations are not people and can be regulated, and that money is not speech and can be regulated.
12) Get Money Out – Get Money Out Amendment
The amendment was proposed by the Get Money Out organization, which was started by MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan, and became a part of United Republic in late 2011. The amendment prohibits corporations from making political donations and affirms that political donations are not speech, which allows Congress to regulate them. It also makes election day a federal holiday.
13) Lawrence Lessig – Lessig Amendment
Lawrence Lessig, Harvard professor and founder of Rootstrikers, which joined forces with United Republic in late 2011, introduced an amendment that prohibits corporations from contributing money to any candidate, limits campaign contributions to $100, and gives Congress the power to regulate outside campaign spending. It also establishes Election Day as a national holiday.
So that’s the team so far. Join us at GetMoneyOut.com. Tell your friends. Let the world know.
Here’s a video of Russell Simmons speaking about his Get Money Out constitutional amendment at Occupy LA: