Rep. Rick Nolan Sponsors Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

By Pam Martens: February 12, 2013

Yesterday, the nonprofit group, Move to Amend, held a press conference with Congressman  Rick Nolan of Minnesota to announce the introduction of a Constitutional Amendment that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Citizens United  v. Federal Election Commission, that put corporate campaign spending on an equal footing with other forms of free speech, effectively removing most limits on the amount of cash corporations can spend on elections.

The proposed amendment will clarify that rights recognized under the Constitution belong to human beings only, and not to government-created artificial legal entities such as corporations and limited liability companies; and political campaign spending is not a form of speech protected under the First Amendment.

Nolan said: “It’s time to take the shaping and molding of public policy out of corporate boardrooms, away from the corporate lobbyists, and put it back in city halls – back with county boards and state legislatures – and back in the Congress where it belongs.”

Move to Amend was formed in 2009 and now has 260,000 people who have signed its petition to overturn Citizens United. It has been involved in helping to pass nearly 500 local resolutions   across the country calling on the state and federal governments to adopt this amendment.

According to Corey Mitchell, writing for the Star Tribune yesterday, big money politics has become so demanding that “During an orientation session, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee staff recommended that incoming members, as part of a 10-hour work day, spend four hours daily on the phone canvassing for campaign contributions during the congressional session.”

Nolan told the reporter that when he begins fundraising for 2014, he’ll stick to weekends and evenings and not use his time during the work day, adding: “If it means I’m a one-term congressman, so be it.”

The Move to Amend web site showed the full amendment’s language as follows:

Section 1. [Artificial Entities Such as Corporations Do Not Have Constitutional Rights]

The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only. Artificial entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.

The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.

Section 2. [Money is Not Free Speech]

Federal, State, and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.

Federal, State, and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.

The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.

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