Does this make you love Constitutional lawyers more?
Some of you (though I suspect not ALL of you, much less ALL of our fellow Americans) will have strong opinions about what the most effective wording would be for an amendment to limit corporate power in elections and policy. (As you may have noticed, two more Constitutional amendment resolutions were introduced in the House this week, by Jim McGovern of Massachusetts and by Ted Deutch of Florida, the OCCUPIED amendment.)
Since I believe that all of us should be making the case generally that the corporate power problem needs to include a Constitutional fix, I'm not so worried yet about the particulars. I just like the fact that we're getting more and more of "the electeds" on board -- it shows we're getting through. (Let's keep it up!)
Meanwhile, we should all feel very fortunate that there are some really smart public interest thinkers who are happy to share their expert opinions on amendment language with the rest of us. (Of course, that doesn't get the rest of us off the hook. Turns out, they don't all agree -
so we still have to pay attention.)
For those of you interested in the details, I want to share a note about why Free Speech for People -- a group that was formed the day after the Citizens United decision went down -- is standing behind the language in the McGovern amendment. (I'll give some space for the pro-Deutch language in a later post.)
*[The McGovern amendment takes] on the fraud of "corporate personhood" directly. This would prevent corporations from using their vast treasuries in political races, and also inhibit them from utilizing and expanding their bogus doctrine of corporate rights in other areas.
*[The McGovern amendment] does not deal with individual donations (the "money is speech" question). FSFP agrees that this question must be dealt with, but this amendment is aimed directly at corporate power, not individual power. (Udall's bill [an amendment introduced in the Senate on Nov 1], and Deutch's bill, take on the money question, as do others in the past and others still to come.)
*The McGovern bill...has been vetted by some pretty smart observers, has no exemptions for nonprofits (or unions, for that matter, if they're incorporated). We like unions, and we like nonprofits, and we know they will benefit if we are able to limit corporate power--but we also believe that if there's an exemption in the amendment, corporate lawyers will find ways to exploit those exemptions and break down the rules again. After all, we're talking about legal interpretations here that twisted the 14th amendment after the Civil War to benefit "corporate personhood" within two decades.